[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 6, “The Signal.”]
Anyone who said the second season of Ted Lasso didn’t have much momentum might rethink that claim after “The Signal.” The first five installments were mostly cheery and devoid of any conflict or consequences (how did Richmond weather losing its biggest sponsor?). But the end of episode 6 makes a great case for not judging the sophomore season of a show by its first installments, as it promises heavier subjects and huge reveals in the episodes to come.
There are, as usual, two storylines wound through the episode. The first revolves around Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) and Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein). Predictably, Roy’s about as happy to coach Jamie as everyone else was when they first learned he re-joined the team. When the football star approaches the staff for advice, Ted (Jason Sudeikis) tells him to “woman up” (because “manning up” has gotten them nowhere), but Keeley (Juno Temple) tells him to just agree with everything Roy says.
Jamie takes this advice, which, hilariously, leads to him calling himself “an ugly, ugly boy with bad hair” after Roy catches on to what he’s doing. They have an argument, which Ted overhears, and finally, Roy lets the truth out — “You f**ked him up!” he tells Ted. By teaching Jamie to pass and be a team player, Roy says Ted made him average. Deep, down, at his core, Roy says Jamie is a pr**k, but that’s what Richmond needs: They need someone who can score goals and get in teams’ heads. Sometimes. When it is appropriate.
How will Jamie know when it’s appropriate? Roy says they’ll give him a signal (hence the title of the episode). And in their next game, the entire coaching staff does — they flip him off, as a means of telling him to go into selfish-Jamie mode. The tactic pays off, and at the half, Richmond is ahead. But with ten minutes left, things are getting intense. Ted’s getting withdrawn. He struggles to breathe. He can’t process what’s going on around him. After blaming his anxiety-attack symptoms on a stomach bug, he leaves the game and enters the locker room; thanks to a spur-of-the-moment decision from Nate (Nick Mohammed), the Greyhounds win.
The second storyline revolves around Rebecca’s (Hannah Waddingham) mother (Harriet Walter), who’s back in town after leaving Rebecca’s father. Apparently, this is a semi-yearly tradition and Mrs. Welton always comes back after her spouse buys her an expensive gift. The heart of that storyline boils down to two things: Whether or not people can change (Rebecca believes her mother is incapable of it), and whether it’s right to interfere in the personal life of someone about whom you care. In the end, it’s Rebecca who ends up being right. Her mother returns to her father, and Higgins’ (Jeremy Swift) attempts to show Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) that his on-again, off-again girlfriend Jane isn’t right for him are for naught.
As the episode ends, there are two shocking twists. First, we see the mystery man Rebecca has been excitedly messaging on Bantr is one of her team’s players: Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh)! And Ted, who’d sworn off therapy entirely, winds up in Dr. Fieldstone’s (Sarah Niles) office. “I want to make an appointment,” he tells the doctor.
Ted Lasso Season 2, Apple TV+, Fridays