Ted Lasso “For the Children” Spoilers Ahead
Accountability matters, and Ted Lasso’s “For the Children” beautifully brings to light that fact in an episode that’s all about growth and finding warmth in the darkness. When the annual charity approaches and Rebecca needs to once again deal with everything on her own, she’s met with performance cancellations, stress, and a surprise appearance by her ex-husband Rupert (Anthony Head), who’d initially RSVP’d “no.”
And it’s a lot for one person to take in general, which surprisingly results in moments so stunning that it was made clear in “For the Children” that Ted Lasso isn’t a series that will shy away from raw human emotions. Hannah Waddingham shines impeccably all throughout the show, and I’m in constant awe of her, but it was especially notable in this episode just how much groundwork she lays bare for the character.
Ultimately, Rebecca is also a character who needs to be held accountable for her actions, and “For the Children” shows it plain as day that it’ll happen eventually. On the other side of the Richmond headquarters, the team is butting heads, and Ted’s had enough. (Frankly so have I at this point.) But Roy continuing to step up for the team by standing up to Jamie is one of my favorite things, especially because, as I’ve said before, the character is a big, huge f—k you to toxic masculinity.
You can be tough as hell and still be a perfectly roasted marshmallow, and that’s Roy Kent in a nutshell.
For the Children and the Power of Female Friendships
(Brace yourselves, folks—this one is going to get long!) How can it not when we’re given so many fascinating moments between Keeley and Rebecca that demand to be broken down? If nothing else on this show was as amazing as it is, this budding friendship would be it.
As mentioned in “Trent Crimm: The Independent,” Keeley is someone whose compliments come from a genuine and heartfelt place, and they’re exactly what Rebecca needs to hear. Thus, in “For the Children,” when it becomes clear that these events have actually made Rebecca feel small and uncomfortable, Keeley sees it and chooses to uplift her.
She’s literally a cheerleader without the uniform and this is how women should always be with one another. In the shows I’ve seen in the past, women like Rebecca and Keeley would be in constant competition with each other, but instead on Ted Lasso, they share what they know and they do so without expecting anything in return.
When Keeley gives Rebecca advice on how to pose and starts shouting words of praise at her, she isn’t doing it to gain anything by it, but because she genuinely sees everything that is incredibly fierce in this woman, and she wants her to see it too. Keeley wants Rebecca to know that she’s beautiful, and she deserves to feel good about every part of her. The dress, the hair, the makeup, the woman—all of it.
And what this show does best is it shows us exactly how the characters feel on the inside by allowing the actors to dive deep into the buried emotions people are too apprehensive to share. When they later run into each other in the bathroom (aka the place where women should always be each other’s cheerleaders), Rebecca thanks Keeley—sincerely and straight from her heart.
She admits to the detail that she hasn’t felt this way before, and it’s just such an inimitable thing to see on screen because so many of us as women have looked at pictures of ourselves and hated them. But take note, guaranteed that if someone was cheering you one while taking said photos the way Keeley was for Rebecca, you’d love them.
And it’s because ultimately, at the end of the day, there is nothing more beautiful than true joy, which are the very emotions engulfing Rebecca as she’s taking those photos. They become transcendent. So, ladies, the next time you take a picture of your friends, shower them with compliments while doing so.
But I also appreciate that because Rebecca is so stunned by a woman looking out for her the way that Keeley has, she chooses to look after her too and tells her that the other woman with Jamie was also his plus-one. As a woman who’s been cheated on while everyone around her chose to cover it up, Rebecca isn’t going to watch another woman go through that, and this is where her true character starts to shine through because while she’s plotting the revenge on Rupert, at her core, she is someone who uplifts, she doesn’t bring people down.
Ted Lasso’s “For the Children” is ultimately the episode where the women show us a crash course in friendship, proving just how effortlessly Ted Lasso flips the trajectory on TV norms by giving us two strangers who become friends by the end when they choose to leave together, bottles of champagne in hand and full of genuine laughter. This is the episode where it becomes clear that this friendship is a permanent thing and that right now, they need each other more than they could’ve needed anyone else.
And it results with a perfect shot to end the episode with because it tells the audience that they are both on a path towards accountability. The one thing they both need in other people, but simultaneously themselves.
The Power of a Hug
Rebecca Welton might not be a hugger, but Rebecca Welton needed a hug, and she needed a hug from someone whose intentions were purely to comfort her. After Rupert’s surprise entrance, Ted understands enough to know that she is far from okay and when he goes outside to find her, he’s proven right by her tears. (Which really just destroys me, please do not make this woman cry ever again. Thank you very much.)
There were so many moments throughout “For the Children” where it was easy to tell just how small Rupert always made Rebecca feel, and when she finally admits to it, it feels like daggers to the chest. She states: “I’m alone, just like he said I would be,” and it’s a crushing moment of vulnerability because she can’t hold it in anymore, but apart from that, she knows that it’s safe to admit this to Ted of all people.
Ted isn’t going to judge her. He isn’t going to look at her and use this information against her in any way. As much as she is trying to sabotage all of this, Rebecca is a wise woman and she understands just how infuriatingly pure this man’s heart is. She understands it because she feels it. Ted Lasso makes people feel safe because Ted Lasso understands what it’s like not to. And when he hugs her, he’s etching every part of his strength onto her to say, without words, that she is anything but alone.
He doesn’t have to say she isn’t alone because, at that moment, when he hugs her and says it’s okay, she feels it. She realizes it, with everything in her that she isn’t. Someone came out of the event looking for and is choosing to see her as strong even after the belief that she’s admitted to defeat. And that moment where she finally hugs him back is so gut-wrenching because you feel every ounce of Rebecca’s palpable pain on Waddingham’s face.
Rupert is wrong. Not only do we understand just how much this hug means to her, but for the first time in a long time, she doesn’t feel alone. Rupert has been wrong the whole time, and to add on along with this hug, after realizing that Rupert is probably the one who’s told Robbie Williams not to come, Ted vocally tells Rebecca that he sees Rupert clear as day too.
In doing so, Ted shows her once again that she isn’t alone through all this because he is on her side, and he believes her through everything. What she is fighting through, the darkness she’s facing, all of it—he is right there with her ready to side with her whenever need be. (And we get the aftermath of this perfectly in “The Diamond Dogs” dart scene.)
And that choice to tell her is so significant because through blunt honesty, Rebecca has only ever known pain, but through Ted’s subtle acknowledgment, she understands the foundations of trust and the importance of kindness.
Accountability in the Form of Being the Bigger Person
Why is cloning not possible and why is Roy Kent a fictional person because every single woman deserves a man like him. Someone who chooses to be the bigger person.
As a man, Roy’s decision to constantly put aside his pride in order to be the bigger person for the team floors me. He realizes that Ted is right in wanting them to find common ground so, he tries. He tells Jamie that he’s tired of him “being a prick” and then admits to the fact that he’s an incredible player. After which Jamie admits he had posters of Roy on his wall growing up, but ultimately, that Roy just doesn’t play the same way anymore.
It hits in all the right places because even though Jamie doesn’t exactly understand the weight of what Roy has just done, it’s still an interesting moment to see that when in the right headspace, these two could really get along with each other, and they could make this team work for the better.
“For the Children” is also the episode that boldly emphasizes the importance of accountability because when Jamie doesn’t understand what he is apologizing for, Roy tells Keeley that being a pawn in their fight made him feel like an idiot, and I have a 101 feelings about this. Again, Roy continues to astound me by admitting to these things that could give Jamie an advantage to use against him, but right now, that doesn’t matter.
He is doing what’s best, and in doing the right thing, the aftermath is met with a sincere apology where Keeley genuinely realizes that they were wrong. And the look of understanding the two of them share in that moment? BE STILL MY FEELS.
“For the Children” allows its characters to be vulnerable enough to admit when they need help. We aren’t at the peak of this detail yet, but we are getting there because what we are seeing is just how hard these characters are trying to be better. People like Rupert will always shine in the face of their cruelty, but this episode is a reminder of the fact that the right people will always see you even while the rest of the world does not.
Ted Talks and Further Thoughts
- Rebecca’s dress was STUNNING. Drop the shop, queen.
- Ted giving Rebecca fashion advice was hilarious.
- Sam Obisanya would be the kind of person who’d thank the press and photographers for what they’re doing and then Roy would be the person who’d flip them off.
- Rebecca on the red carpet with the genuine smile on her face is truly a sight for sore eyes.
- THE PERFORMANCE. OH MY GOD. THE WAY THAT IT ACTUALLY WORKS AND THE WAY THAT SAM GETS EVERYONE TO GET UP AND DANCE. Ted and Rebecca then looking at each other in complete shock that this is working? Genius.
- Rebecca saying “I wish” in that moment after Ted asking if she’d like to ride the cars? Two words and my heart broke into pieces. But by the end of the episode, she got her wish and I love this journey so much for her.
- Also, her face when she says “no matter what he does, they just love him?” That also stings, because isn’t that the case with certain men? They can be the absolute worst and yet …
- Coach Beard and the invisible chess game followed by the head banging? Add to the list of things I never thought I’d see.
- Jamie’s outfit was a big no. That only works when women do it, bud. Sorry not sorry.
What are your thoughts on Ted Lasso’s “For the Children?”
Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) or, as people often call her, "Goose," is a Christ fan above all and a romance enthusiast who's taken her Master's degree in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture.
She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks' Society Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters. She's a member of The Cherry Picks and can also be found writing features for Looper.