*The following essay, Roy, Kelly & Rebecca, contains Spoilers from Ted Lasso, Season 3, Episode 2*
Recently, ‘Ted Lasso’ cast visited the White House to promote the importance of mental health care. It makes the show’s impact related to this topic abundantly clear. In its new season, we witness growth in most of its characters. They have transformed from our initial ideas of their personalities. Ted has become more mature about his parental trauma and in dealing with his panic attacks. Jamie Tartt has become considerate, whereas Nate has become ruthless.
They have gotten over the pitfalls of what they considered possible for them to be. That’s how they achieved growth, whether sound or not. The show’s latest episode shows Trent Crimm returning to the lives of AFC Richmond team players. Earlier, he was fired from his job at the Independent for leaking his source (Nate) on his news report. Now, he has returned to be a chronicler of the team’s journey, working on their story based on all the insights he can get hanging out with them.
Unfortunately, it does not go well as he initially expected. Despite Rebecca’s refusal to let Trent write about them, Ted allows him to do his thing. The team, however, is not kind to Trent. They keep quiet the moment he enters their room so that he can know nothing about their daily discussions. Their cold shoulder treatment is due to Trent’s reputation for writing negative aspects about them under the guise of being honest.
Besides the young players, there is another person who keeps giving Trent the cold shoulder. That is their new coach, Roy Kent. He tells them not to let Trent in on any of their details. Even when Trent comes to share the workspace with him, Roy pushes him away by purposely making a nuisance of himself. Besides dealing with this figure from his past, he also comes across his ex-girlfriend, Keeley. She gives a flying visit to the team, where her breakup with Roy becomes a matter of discussion. Still, Roy handles it without letting anger consume him.
Keeley, by then, had started working on her own, leading her marketing firm. However, the dullness of her employees and their overall lack of interest in anything beyond work bothered her. She was trying to bring back the spirit of her old workplace, where Ted mirrored her cheerfulness and never shunned it. Now she has to deal with Barbara, who handles the finances. She isn’t pleased with Keeley’s spending approach.
While doing that, she goes to one of her firm’s promotional video shoots, where she meets her old friend Shandy Fine, who is one of the background dancers. She feels happy that Keeley could make it out of the life they were leading. She speaks about how everyone either married or got into a relationship with a football player. Keeley was once the same way. She tried to seek a semblance of identity by hanging out with a football player (Jamie), even when he was needlessly arrogant. She saw that as a status symbol or the highest level of accomplishment that she could possibly achieve. We see a glimpse of her past self in Shandy’s present life.
Since no one else did it till then, Rebecca saw the potential in Keeley and motivated her to pursue a career in things that she is skilled at. Now Keeley sees it in Shandy, who suggests a shot idea to the director within a moment. The issue was that they needed to fill the empty space in their wide frame. The director’s solution was for Keeley to immediately bring more players. Shandy’s close-up idea was more practical, feasible, and incredibly smart, also considering she was mostly on the other side of the lens. It showed her fantastic quick decision-making skill.
So Keeley ropes her in to work alongside her without knowing what she will do in her firm. She does it to do what Rebecca did for her. However, Barbara dismisses her decision while embarrassing Shandy for not having the expertise needed to acquire such a position. She responds in a similarly curt manner that she always does. It bothers Keeley, who confronts her about it.
That’s when she stumbles upon Barbara’s massive collection of snow globes, which melts her heart. It hints at Barbara keeping this obsession hidden to not appear as a ‘softie’ that the corporate culture would engulf. Besides, she rarely communicates with anyone unless it’s about work. Keeley senses that pattern and empathizes with her. She does make Barbara hire her competent friend, but while making an argument, that can go down her logical thinking. She finds a balance between hers and Barbara’s approach.
On the other hand, Rebecca struggles with dealing with her past self in another matter altogether. A new star player named Zava looks to be a part of one of the football teams from London. AFC Richmond being the lowest on any published ranking, does not fit his bill. She knows that this clout-hungry player would naturally be inclined toward a club like Chelsea. Her conflict, however, is not just about stealing him from Chelsea.
It is also to fight Rupert, who would want Zava just because she wants him for her team. Taking any joy away from her life gives him satisfaction. She knows it and wants to prove him wrong. But Rupert is a cocktail of conniving and charming. He makes his way into the conversations that Rebecca does not have control on. On top of that, Zava also sees her team as a clear case of failure. She could have taken it as a sign of defeat. Yet, instead of shying away from letting Rupert have his way, she fights her way to make Zava be in AFC Richmond. She wins with flying colors.
Roy, on the other hand, deals with the mental conflict between being a player and being a coach. He gets the same cheer from the audience, who still chant his name with the same enthusiasm. It makes him revisit his past when he sensed that he was not good enough to play as competently. What if he had stayed? He thinks. But now, over the course of time, he has grown and evolved to understand that it is his past and that just enjoying the glory is not life. It is also in understanding when to stop.
Roy now seeks not fame but contentment, not recognition but the satisfaction that he leads the team in the way that is best possible for him according to his age and physique. That’s maturity. He also shows it when speaking with Trent later on in the episode. He speaks about how hurt he was as a young player getting harsh criticism in the newspaper. Trent apologizes for his naivety as a young journalist ‘trying to make it big’ that pushed him to be needlessly ruthless back then. They both make peace with the fact that they have grown from their past selves and become successful and mature people.
So, in one way or the other, every one of these characters learns how to shed their past skin to find a new self.