From beginning to end, Ted Lasso’s season one finale, “The Hope That Kills You,” is as perfect as it gets. (We could, and likely will, do a scene breakdown of every moment because that’s how exemplary the show and this episode are.) It’s a triumphant reminder of the fact that opposite of its title, hope does not actually kill you—it fuels you. It’s a reminder that “onward, forward” is anything but hopeless as a motto. It’s a reminder that even worse than being sad is being sad and alone. And it does all this through the eyes of every character in more than one scene. It does so through Roy Kent, and through Roy and Keeley as a couple.
And right now, we’re here to talk about what happens when men who’ve been alone their whole lives, comfortable in that loneliness, give in to the fact that they do not bring damage to everything they touch. It’s a moment that serves as a reminder of the idea that no matter how tough, no matter how hurt or how used to pain someone might be, sharing that with someone else will always be better than living through it alone.
Keeley and Roy have several precious scenes with each other. They are, after all, one of our favorite embodiments of the grump and sunshine trope. But this scene speaks louder than anything has because being in this comforting silence is remarkably healing. Keeley is sunshine personified—she’s one of the warmest characters who’s ever graced our screens, and scenes like this remind us why. It’s not easy to give in to someone’s embrace when you’re used to dealing with everything alone, but it’s easy for Roy to let her hold him because she’s the one person who’s seen all of him.
In the short time they’ve had together, she’s seen Roy Kent the man, not Roy Kent the star. She’s seen darkness and despair in his eyes, and she’s seen his body crumble while loving him through it joyfully. He can push all he wants, but she isn’t giving up on the belief that he is worthy of running into battle with.
For someone who’s capable of much, it isn’t easy for Roy to let his walls down. Still, Keeley’s persistence, the gentleness in her approach, the sincerity in her eyes, and the fervency of her support make it a little easier for him to let his walls down. It makes it a little easier for him, without words, to admit that he isn’t okay. And that’s what happens when she takes his head and lays it on her shoulder because she does all the work for him.
He tells her he isn’t okay when he tries to push her away. He shows her the rage and fire burning within him. But in his silent surrender, he reveals what he’s never done to anyone else, and that’s the fact that everything’s finally dawned on him.
She makes it easier for him to see and understand that she isn’t going anywhere—she doesn’t care about the fact that he can’t play anymore, but rather, she cares about his wellbeing (body and soul), and the rest be damned. She doesn’t care about his fame; she cares about his soul. She cares about being the one he’s comfortable with—the one he could unwind with. And she cares about taking care of him in moments like this.
He doesn’t need to talk or spill everything, but she needs him to know that she’s there. And that with little words, she tells him that no matter what happens, she can be his crutch. She can be his strength.
There’s also something so beautiful about the juxtaposition between Roy having taken off his jersey—having removed his armor, and the fact that she’s still wearing one in support of him. Symbolically showing that she’ll carry him through and support him in every way.
She’s proud even when he isn’t. She’ll make it known that he is hers, game or not. If Roy Kent never plays, she’ll still be by his side. She’ll pick up the broken pieces of him and mend them bit by bit—sharing the burdens in every way that she can and ensuring that he knows that while his time as a soccer player will (or already has) come to an end, her love for him has no expiration.