“Trent Crimm, The Independent” continues Ted Lasso’s streak of superb episodes by setting up what essentially becomes this show’s spirit. It’s the show and characters you can’t help but root for. And while the first two episodes do a solid job of selling the show’s appeal, this is the episode that nails it shut. You’re in now. You’re invested. There’s no going back.
At its core Ted Lasso is a show about belief, and this episode is about taking the kind of chances that are going to be impactful. It might not work perfectly, but in any area, change should come as a domino effect, and Ted is someone who understands this notion down to the t.
Trent Crimm, The Independent Thinker
Trent is such a fascinating character because as a member of the press, we shouldn’t really be rooting for him on this show—at least that’s what we gather from the first episode. But instead, what we get is a man who genuinely cares about both his job and football. Members of the press aren’t always honorable, sometimes, they’re very much part of the problem, and the polar opposite of all that Ted stands for.
But what we see in “Trent Crimm, The Independent” is that it’s basically impossible to spend a few hours with a man like Ted and actively choose not to root for him. Trent is an independent thinker, but at his core, Trent Crimm is also clearly a good person, and the decision not to gloat if and when Ted fails was a solid way to conclude the episode. (As was his voiceover reading the column.)
Because the very thing that’s happening to Rebecca is happening to Trent too. She wants to hate Ted. She wants to hate all of this, but instead, she’s realizing just how impossible that is because she’s now surrounded by flawed, but good people. And ultimately, this show’s strength continues to come from each of its characters taking chances.
A Wrinkle in Time and The Domino Effect
This is the episode where I became a Roy Kent stan and I haven’t looked back since. This is also the episode where it became very clear that Roy and Keeley are going to be the couple after my own heart, and I’m thrilled to know we were all right about that.
They are “the grump and sunshine” trope in ultimate form and it’s everything. Juno Temple is one of those actresses whose chemistry with others is so palatable, you can’t help but root for everyone, but with Brett Goldstein in this scene—it’s electric. It’s immediate. When you watch Keeley push all of Roy’s buttons, you realize that she is exactly who someone like him needs. It’s deliciously fun, frustrating, and every romance fan’s dream.
What we ultimately learn about Roy in this episode is that even though no one swears like him and he might make all our moms, aunties, and grandmas uncomfortable by doing so, his heart is unmatched. Roy Kent is a soft marshmallow who genuinely loves spending time with his niece, and Roy Kent is the kind of man who doesn’t condone bullying.
He initially tries to get Ted to talk to Jamie about his behavior, but Ted nudges it back around to him instigating essentially, that he’s the only one who could do so, which prompts him to realize that he has power in this story. Roy isn’t just Meg Murray, he’s also Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Who.
Roy is capable of so much, and it’s largely due to the fact that in spite of his demeanor, he wholeheartedly cares about people.
In a lot of ways, he might be just as lost as Jamie is, but he knows love in some form, and he hasn’t fully allowed that part of his softness to disappear. There is so much that Roy is holding onto, but he continues to try, even while he grumbles through everything. Roy Kent is a large presence not only because he’s loud, but because he has so much to give, and he explodes in ways that make a lasting impact on people.
And Ted is the kind of person who sees people as they are, which means he understood not only how much Roy carries, but the detail that he’s the one who’s going to make an impact on this team. It’s why this show works without force because Roy wasn’t blatantly told what to do about the Jamie/Nate/Colin/Isaac situation, but in the Ted Lasso way and through metaphors, it ignited the spark within him that was necessary.
Taking a chance on people means trying your hardest (or maybe even, as subtly as possible) to just help them see how much strength they have. Roy Kent is a presence and Ted Lasso sees that, he was just hoping Roy would too. And this exactly what Trent means when he writes: “his coaching style is subtle, it never hits you over the head.”
Which is what’s so fascinating going back to Keeley is that Roy can talk over people, he can push even as they’re pushing his buttons because he’s not just the “little girl” in the story, he’s anything he wants to be. And he realizes in that moment while reading that he needs to use every tool he has to get Jamie to publicly stop being a bully. He’s not Ted, sometimes Roy has to literally hit someone with his head. And the parallels in these methods are brilliantly executed in this episode.
Ovaries Before Brovaries
I think a lot about the fact that if Parks and Recreation was airing today, Leslie Knope would adore the budding friendship between Keeley and Rebecca because it’s healing, gratifying, and every bit the “ovaries before brovaries” promise.
Keeley is a warm, genuinely giving person, and as mentioned in the review for “Biscuits,” she is just the kind of friend someone like Rebecca needs. As a tall, absolute force of a woman, Rebecca’s divorce has made her feel small. She’s been broken, shunned, and invaded, forcing her to be the worst version of herself possible, but here come these two-absolute sunshine of human beings complimenting her left and right. (Keeley and Ted.)
When Keeley comes to Rebecca’s office to thank her once again for stopping the pictures from hitting the press, Rebecca (while visibly annoyed) can’t help but be charmed by Keeley’s free spirit. And Hannah Waddingham makes it clear that Keeley’s compliments hit in all the right ways.
It’s also just so easy to appreciate the conversation they’re having about the fact that women are always the ones berated even when men are the ones whose faults the scandals are. And that’s something that hits Rebecca hard because in that moment, she realizes that Ted wouldn’t get to see the fall out of these photos, but Keeley would get the worst of it, and she’s just not the kind of person who could harm another woman in the way she’s been harmed.
Taking Chances and the Importance of Teamwork
Ted continuing to give Nate chances to be more than the “kit man” is everything. He is just the kind of person that sees everyone as they really are and focuses on that in order to bring out the best in people. In the same way that he overtly keeps everything transparent with Trent, he listens to Nate when he talks. He hears people when they speak, and he works with what he is given.
As a series, Ted Lasso continues to remind its audience of the fact that this a piece that focuses on helping the best of someone shine through, and as an episode “Trent Crimm, The Independent” emphasizes on this detail brilliantly. You have to listen to people. You have to care about them. And in doing so, the better version of you outshines in more ways than one (as does the better version of others).
Ted Talks and Further Thoughts
- I cannot deal with “Shithead” being Higgins’ name in Rebecca’s phone.
- ROY AND KEELEY’S BANTER JUST FLOORS ME. In that final scene at the club when he said her name and she said his? Hello, 911. I’ve been attacked with feels. Fire emoji x 100.
- “He’s the one, Coach. if we’re going to make an impact here, the first domino that needs to fall is right inside that man’s heart.” It’s fine, I just have way too many feelings about the fact that Ted Lasso sees right into Roy Kent’s heart.
- “I spoke with the owner of The Sun?” “You spoke to God?” I cannot with this man’s precious outbursts.
- Biscuits calming Rebecca down is just aces. Simply and truly aces.
- Also, again, women complimenting each other is everything. You can tell in that moment that Rebecca isn’t used to uplifting kindness the way Keeley shows it.
What are your thoughts on Ted Lasso’s third episode?