Ted Lasso season 2 episode 9 is yet another curveball at the audience. I am personally am stumped by the storytelling prowess of the creators. The latest episode was filled with all sorts of symbolism, homages to films, and it also took a plunge into the mind of the very enigmatic Coach Beard.
After the embarrassing loss against Manchester City in episode 8, we see Coach Beard head alone to shake things off. Episode 9 picks off from there as we embark on Beard’s night of action, comedy, drama, and a whole lot of introspection.
There are literally no other characters from the show making an appearance, save side characters like the three football fans and Mae from the bar for a few fleeting moments.
Despite the episode giving depth to Coach Beard’s character in a cinematic way, it received mixed reviews for a few reasons.
Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 9 received mixed reviews because it has an entirely different tonality than the rest of the series. Although intentional, it frustrated some audience members because with only three episodes remaining this season, the story still seems like an anthology of character arcs without a strong central plotline.
However, I still believe it was a much-needed episode in terms of various aspects despite these reasons. Let’s jump straight in as I share the episode’s highlights and how they together formed this fantastic piece of writing.
Coach Beard is a very reactive character in the show as the second coach to Ted Lasso. The series mostly shows him react to Lasso’s words either as agreements or disagreements. Furthermore, the fact that he is a man of few words elevates the mystery that Beard is.
The episode jumps straight into the deepest parts of Coach Beard, where his fears, insecurities, and desires take refuge. Right from the beginning, we know he hasn’t taken the loss well. It was devastating and thus began his downward spiral.
We see him hallucinate two sports commentators who keep telling him he isn’t good enough; he can’t stand up to Lasso when needed; he is nothing on his own, and the list goes on. This was beautiful because of two reasons.
One – We now know Coach Beard is very much like any of us. Behind those few words is a man who is equally expressive, equally doubtful, and equally passionate. Two – It builds his character and adds more depth than he had over the last 18 episodes across two seasons.
In fact, it was long overdue, Coach Beard got his time in the light, solid central, and I couldn’t have been more glad to see this character unfold.
The episode also fits with the rest of the episodes’ central premise. Season 2 focussed a lot more on the psyche of different members in Richmond AFC, and nobody was spared. Everybody, right from the owner to the new counselor, has had to fight their own demons. So it is only fair that the second-in-command at Richmond, who is equally responsible for the team’s impeccable performance, gets his chance.
Ted Lasso initially had only 10 episodes in this season, and Apple extended it by two episodes. We saw the first one where Christmas is celebrated, and this was the second one. Now, Ted Lasso’s season 1 was just right. It had everything in optimum amounts and turned out to be that that flawless dish which everyone relished.
However, when it comes to a second season, most shows lose that freshness in the concept. Creators or producers do not evolve the series and characters as they should.
With Ted Lasso season 2, it wasn’t the case. Right from episode 1, the tonality was more serious, more profound, and gave zero room for easy conflict resolutions. Characters truly had to go through the ordeal to reach a good state which means even we had to go through that journey with them.
Besides this, when Apple extended the duration by 2 episodes, the creators had to wear their thinking caps and create something powerful and memorable. Episode 9 accomplishes just that.
Coach Beard is on a roll here. Right from conning his way into an elite members-only club to being chased, jumping off of rooftops, fighting off people just to end up in a church/underground dance pub, and dance it all out with the love of his life, it is a roller coaster ride.
The tonality is very different from the rest of the season. There’s more drama, more suspense/thriller vibes, and here’s the best part. The creators blended all of these incidents and tonalities with humor, and it worked like magic.
Alternative genres in humor have been coming out in the last few years, with shows like The Good Place, After Life, Fleabag, etc., that push the envelope in a seemingly saturated genre. But episodes like this make us realize that there’s so much more to explore, and comedy as a genre can work so well when crossbred with other genres.
The episode is titled Beard After Hours which is inspired by the film After Hours, a black comedy by Martin Scorsese. The film was about a man spending an entire night outside, and this episode is just like that.
But wait, the tribute doesn’t end there. With a series of easter eggs and references to some of the cult films back then, the episode weaves a narrative around it without making it look forced.
Some of the most prominent ones were the joke on the Moonrise Kingdom and the recreation of the Eyes Wide Shut scene where the receptionist is being annoying. Besides these, we also see a reference to A Clockwork Orange when the three men are beating up Coach Beard. One of them was Jamie’s father, who came into the locker room after the match to diss the entire team.
This scene also depicts Dante’s Inferno, where Dante had to fall to the underworld/hell to get back to his love, which is Jane.
So these were the main reasons why I think the positive aspects trump the negative aspects. The episode adds value to the character and overall theme of the premise, even if it is unconventional. But that’s what experiments are for. To try something new and different. To me, this experiment was perhaps the best episode so far in the show, and I don’t think it’d be easy to beat this cinematic masterpiece.
About Ted Lasso
Ted Lasso is an American sports-comedy streaming TV series developed by Bill Lawrence, Jason Sudeikis, Joe Kelly, and Brendan Hunt. It’s based on a character of the same name that Sudeikis first portrayed in a series of promos for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Premier League.
It follows the life of Ted Lasso, a coach of college-level American football who is unexpectedly recruited to coach an English Premier League team, AFC Richmond, despite having no experience at all in association football.
It stars Sudeikis as the titular character, Ted Lasso, joined by Hannah Waddingham, Jeremy Swift, Phil Dunster, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, Nick Mohammed, Juno Temple, and Sarah Niles among many others.