“The Hope That Kills You” is one of the most hopeful episodes of television I’ve watched in years, and yet so few things about it are actually happy. It’s an episode full of some deeply sad moments, but the community established within this show is the very reason why the aftermath is somehow still so joyous.
Ted Lasso is the show that comes at you just as the goal kick in the final moments did. It surprises you. You’re watching it all unfold not realizing exactly what’s happening and then within moments, it’s taken your heart and it’s running with it. It’s wrapped you in a warm blanket and you realize, everything is going to be okay.
The thing about “The Hope That Kills You” is that you expected a win because the show sets you up to believe, and even though it doesn’t deliver, even though it matches real life more than the fictional realm, it still happens so beautifully that you can’t help but be a goldfish about it. The sadness lasts a few moments once you realize that this show’s trying to make sure you understand that you aren’t alone.
Strength comes from authenticity, and it comes from simple moments that feel like avalanches of joy. Ted Lasso isn’t busy trying to figure out the next plot twist or how to add a creative new touch to something that’s already been, it’s a show that’s telling a story about characters who are so incredibly human, they feel like they exist in the same world we do. And that’s because they do, and we probably know versions of them in our own lives.
The Lasso Special
The Lasso Special is a stunning metaphor for the show as a whole, but it’s also just such a gorgeous moment of joy, you can’t help but take note of it. Because really, the Lasso special is more than just a field play meant to cause chaos, it’s the impact Ted has had on this team by refusing to give up on them even while they were reluctant to accept his ways. The Lasso Special is understanding that even while there are uncertainties, even while he doesn’t understand why things are done the way that they are, the detail that he is always trying is what differentiates him from any other coach they have ever had.
It’s about believing in the team that’s around them, and it’s about believing in the people who are trying to make a difference. The Lasso Special is rewarding the people who may not have gotten a promotion under a different coach, and it matters because this is a show that cares about ensuring these character stories are told organically.
It’s the display of genuine, heart racing joy that’s so electric, as a member of the audience, you’re also jumping for joy as if this was a real football team. And it’s why this show continues to succeed because its surprises come from a sincere desire to evoke some semblance of joy, (not to rip the rug out from right underneath us afterwards), but to show that there is hope that these moments can someday be more than just ephemeral.
The Domestic Bliss
I have to pay my respects to the pure, domestic bliss we get between Roy and Keeley in this moment because it’s what makes their scene in the locker room that much more beautiful. What they have found in each other is the kind of home they very clearly haven’t had with anyone else, and what they’ve discovered in their budding romance is that this form of normalcy is healing for both of them.
It’s healing because they can welcome Jamie Tartt into their home and no one’s throwing darts into the other’s face, which also just shows us that even Jamie has room for growth, (and room for redemption). There is a place for him too, and there is a moment for him to shine even as he’s sitting in his ex’s living room with her current boyfriend.
There is a stunning sense of vulnerability here and a better scene than I could’ve expected. And that’s why this domestic bliss leads to the locker room vulnerability so poignantly because Keeley has no plans to give up on Roy. She is in this for the long haul, she is in this through thick and thin because these quiet moments in their living room full of future mushy peas matter more than any win.
She didn’t care about football before, but she cares now, and she cares because the person that matters most to her is a huge part of it. She’ll probably still care because of the friends she has met along the way, but more than anything, it’s for Roy.
And then there’s the moment in the locker room, which I hope you’ve all read by now as it’s my first Ted Lasso scene breakdown, and it’s one very near and dear to my heart. If you haven’t, check it out here.
The Toy Soldier Transfer
The way this series has handled Jamie’s character growth is everything because he was so infuriating in the first few episodes, it was hard to believe we’d ever get here. But when he reveals that his father has essentially broken him in “Two Aces,” it was safe to assume we’d see the man one day, but I didn’t expect that we’d see him this soon.
Jamie’s arc in “The Hope That Kills You” is the very thing Ted meant when he said there’s something worse about being sad and alone. Because while Manchester City won the game and while Ted would’ve celebrated the extra pass, instead Jamie is abused and ridiculed for doing so. He is humiliated and he’s torn down and Ted sees that. The look between Jason Sudeikis and Phil Dunster is so haunting in this episode, it’s heartbreaking.
Ted has always tried to see the real Jamie, and in this moment he truly does. Thus, in passing him the toy soldier finally and the note that celebrates his pass, Ted’s impact on Jamie is likely to result in something finally changing for him. If this were any other show, I’d imagine there’d be more back and forth business, but when characters on Ted Lasso are on the road to growth, they don’t pull over, they keep going even while they get stuck in traffic.
Jamie Tartt, much like Roy Kent, is going to be okay because this show cares about allowing its men to grieve and be vulnerable in order to find the kind of growth that strengthens them prodigiously.
We’ll see how the series actually ends, but the moment I heard this line, I thought to myself “if I still love this show as deeply as I do now by the time its series finale airs, I think I’d like ‘onward, forward’ tattooed.” While “believe” is the word that we all rightfully associate with this Ted Lasso, this is the phrase that felt like the very medicine I needed the very first time I heard it.
My beautiful friend Katie over at Nerdy Girl Notes wrote an exceptional piece about the detail that Ted Lasso “Reminds Us We’re Not Alone,” and that’s it—that’s the essence of this show. It’s connecting to others in our sadness while finding ways to move along by helping each other find the light. Onward, forward promises that there is still hope left. “The Hope That Kills You” is, in every way, a testament to what hope actually is.
The thing about hope is that it never really disappears—it lingers like the ashes of a phoenix rebirthing itself from embers that never lose their glow. It’s there even while we can’t feel it and even while sadness is so horrifically consuming, we don’t even realize we’re buried in it. But the entirety of this show is a love letter to humanity, and it’s a love letter to the people we meet along the way. It’s about a team finding solace with each other in the shared heartache of a loss.
We get the beautiful parallel of Roy helping Sam up after the fall in “Tan Lines” and Sam rushing to Roy’s side then making sure he hears the cheers for him to remember just how special he is.
It’s a reminder of the fact that sometimes, hope disguises itself and surprises us in the comforting wisdom of a coach, or in the embrace of a lover. And sometimes, it’s in every teammate’s silent breathing. Onward, forward promises that everything is going to be okay and in the bravery to tell a story infused with kindness, Ted Lasso’s season one finale, “The Hope That Kills You” heals through its sadness.
Ted Talks and Further Thoughts
- Sam’s smile is so pure after Ted asks if they believe in miracles. It’s just pure joy to look at.
- “Roy chased down his grandson.”
- “Should I make scones?” “I don’t even like scones.” I cackled so damn much during this scene.
- I’m really bummed we haven’t seen the “Loki’s Toboggan” play yet and I really hope it’s something we get in season two.
- Ted’s little believe signs all over the house. IS THERE ANYTHING MORE PURE?
- “For the love of Meghan Markle!”
- I am also Coach Beard as he was watching Ted and Roy toss the captain band back and forth. “He loves you!”
- Isaac breaking the TV isn’t something I ever thought I’d see.
- Are mushy peas even good?
- Also, British folks, do you really call it an “ussie?”
- “It’s the lack of hope that comes and gets you.” Truth
- The look between Ted and Roy as Roy walks off the field is also one that will always haunt me because my God, Sudeikis and Brett Goldstein are just masterful in that scene. It’s stunning.
- I kept wondering where on earth Higgins’ fifth son was…turns out he’s a priest. “I’m sorry, Father.” Rebecca, that was genius.
- Also, should’ve known better than to give Ted sparkling water. Ma’am. Why?
What are your thoughts on Ted Lasso’s “The Hope That Kills You?”