“No Weddings and a Funeral” Spoilers Ahead
Ted Lasso’s “No Weddings and a Funeral” assiduously takes viewers through an emotional wringer that is somehow, unsurprisingly satisfying still. As we have now officially entered the fourth quarter of the second season, my stress levels have magnified because where we’ll go in the penultimate and finale is anybody’s guess. Seeds have been planted, droughts might occur, but we’ll see the growth through to competition and that’s what matters. This show isn’t a one-hit wonder like Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”—no one is giving up on these characters, they are not giving up on each other, and walking out of the dark forest will be a monumental accomplishment in due time.
Written by Jane Becker, who’s also responsible for the treasure that is “Trent Crimm, The Independent,” Ted Lasso’s “No Weddings and a Funeral” is full of exemplary parallels, and an overarching theme which notes that listening to people goes hand in hand with healing. In both episodes, difficult conversations are being had and characters come to an epiphany of sorts. In the same way that “Trent Crimm, The Independent” kicks a plethora into motion, “No Weddings and a Funeral” does the same.
No Weddings and a Funeral, and Loud Chatter
This funeral’s tone is not one I was expecting. While we did not know much about Rebecca’s father and her relationship with him, I most certainly wasn’t expecting how unemotional the first few minutes would be. And I mean, given the fact that we know what the episode is titled after, while I’m not too surprised it took me out a bit. Until of course, the emotions started pouring through.
A fascinating detail to note is that while Rebecca tells Sam she likes the secrecy, when discussing how much she hates her father to her mother, she clearly notes that she’s tired of keeping of secrets. This idea of keeping secrets that are our own versus secrets that we’re harboring because of trauma and darkness can be off-putting at times. No neither Sam nor Rebecca or going behind anyone’s back in their relationship, nor are they committing any form of adultery, but we all know that the need to keep this a secret is because something is amiss. (Age and power imbalance.) It’s evident that considering both factors, along with the press, this is sadly not something that’s going to be as well received to the public as it can be amongst friends.
And sure, who gives a hoot what the public or press say, but this has to be a concern deep down especially considering how in the first season, Rupert has been called out for dating younger women. I adore Rebecca with every fiber of my being, but the same can be said about this situation. She isn’t grooming Sam, she isn’t doing anything out of malicious intent, but it’s something that I know a lot of us can’t shake off. I adore them both on their own, but together it makes me uncomfortable.
That said, what “No Weddings and a Funeral” does beautifully for Rebecca is it allows her to come to the understanding that she isn’t necessarily bothered by being alone right now. Because while she might be single, contrary to the loneliness we saw throughout the first season (and what she admitted to in “For the Children“), she is now surrounded by people she cares deeply for and who’ve shown the same love back to her. Thus, while she has a grip on a healthy form of being alone, she needs to figure out why she is so afraid of getting hurt.
One of my favorite details about Rebecca Welton is the fact that she’s so multi-faceted, it makes her journey that much more relatable. Hannah Waddingham (and Rebecca) both command whatever room they’re in. As a woman who’s so fierce, such a “boss ass bitch” in every way, the fact that she’s got such tremendous heart and demons that she’s fighting through makes her journey that much more transcendent.
It brilliantly debunks the conception that strong women somehow can’t fall, and instead, it highlights the opposite as a compelling truth. Through Rebecca Welton we are able to understand that women are deeply complex and layered. She can embrace her sexuality one minute while she curls up in her childhood bedroom the next. She can command whatever room she walks into, but simultaneously, she can stand at the end of an alter and try desperately not to break down. It’s a reminder ultimately that crying isn’t a weakness, falling is inevitable, and life doesn’t care how strong you are if it decides to strike.
Transparency isn’t easy—it takes tremendous strength to let oneself be vulnerable and more than that, it takes strength to admit that we are afraid. In “No Weddings and a Funeral” we understand just how human this ineffable woman truly is and in an unsurprising turn of events, it makes her even more brilliant as a character. She is terrorized by the adultery she witnessed as a teen, and she is terrorized by the trauma inflicted upon her through the lies and belittlement she was a victim of in her own previous marriage.
And admitting all this to her mother made for such a stunning scene because for the very first time, Rebecca was both a child and an adult. Hannah Waddingham and Harriet Walter could not have been stronger scene partners in that moment. Rebecca was in a sense, commanding a room even without her ritual to prepare for it. She was standing in front of a woman she could ultimately trust and admitting to the deep hatred she felt for her father, and it was both heartbreaking and liberating.
In that moment, though she was crumbling, Rebecca Welton was not broken. She was freeing herself from the chains of trauma that left her tethered to lies and heartaches. She was letting go of the waters once more by allowing herself a moment of transparency to admit to the ways in which life had not been kind to her. In a way, this was Rebecca’s eulogy—the private words to her father that maybe he’d hear, maybe he wouldn’t. But it’s a part of her closure that she needed to divulge in order to free herself from the potential guilt that could come to suffocate later.
And because she’s learning to let go, because she’s truly understanding just how much strength lies within her, learning to be loving even when people don’t deserve it is sort of the essence of life. No Rupert isn’t deserving of Rebecca’s kindness or respect, but he absolutely deserves to know that what he has done to her didn’t shatter her. She isn’t sad, alone, or broken no part of him can get to her now. She’ll rise above the waters. She’ll stand on her own two feet. And she’ll be so much better than okay, she’ll be happy, really and truly.
What We Remember, What We Forget
Grief might just be the most convoluted human emotion because of how differently it manifests in all our lives. Some people, like Ted and Rebecca, fixate on the rage within them, other people like me, we forget the bad. Was my father perfect? Of course not, he was human, but because I was close to him and because he died of a heart attack, I forgot all his flaws and solely focused on the parts of him I’d miss for the rest of my life. I sat with my grief for years, I went through the entire process, I bargained, I questioned, I still sit with it. But for me, because I dealt with it in a healthy manner (at least I hope), I built healing around my sadness. You never stop missing someone you cared about. It’s been nearly 15 years and I still miss my father deeply, but you learn how to navigate a world without the person’s presence, and some days are easier than others.
But if you don’t deal with the grief properly, if you don’t try to understand it, the pain that’s inevitably present fabricates itself into an even bigger demon to be bargained with. It becomes a goliath then.
Ted Lasso didn’t get to do this. Rebecca Welton might be on the track to learn how to despite how much she believed she hated her father. I was especially struck by Hannah Waddingham’s performance when she states that for the first time, Sassy said nothing. So much is packed into that sentence because if there’s one thing we know about Sassy, it’s that she always has something to say—no matter how dark or grim. She gives no f—ks. It’s crucial nevertheless that this memory is mentioned because what Ted counters with unknowingly is what showcases the pangs of grief.
Before we get into more on this notion, it’s necessary to note that for the two people who were so hesitant to go to therapy because “that’s what friends are for,” never spoke about their traumas to other people. “No Weddings and a Funeral” thus achingly discloses the detrimental effects that bottling emotions can have and reveals it through its two leads. It does so in such a way that’s so harrowing to grapple with, I don’t know when I’ll actually be deal with it all.
Will the two of them ever learn just how they’re connected through death? God, I sure hope so. But even if they don’t, “No Weddings and a Funeral” gave the audience one of the strongest parallels throughout the season because the two different reasons I was crying for isn’t something I remember seeing in recent years.
The riveting detail about Ted’s grief is that while we now know why he never quits things, he has never verbally spoken ill of his father. Thus, it was that much more intriguing to get inside his headspace and see just how much he’s fueled by rage. (The Script’s “Superheroes” feels so appropriate for Ted and Rebecca now. Listen to it. Thank me later.)
For starters, as a viewer who cares tremendously about this fictional character, I was so happy that Ted felt safe enough to call Dr. Sharon Fieldstone as opposed to riding out the panic attack by himself. I was also so profoundly satisfied to see yet another accurate portrayal of what it’s like—you could physically be singing and dancing right before the tremors strike. Anxiety or panic attacks do not give a hoot about where you’re going or what you’re doing, those demons strike hard when they do. And seeing all this once again contributes to Ted Lasso being so admirable as a series due to its effectively relatable storytelling.
When Dr. Fieldstone assumes that one funeral could have triggered memories of another, Ted admits that he didn’t actually go his father’s funeral. He recalls the memory in 1991 and tells Sharon that he not only found his father’s body, but he was the one to make the 911 call, along with the call to his mother. And continuing to specify that this is something that was done to both him and his mother is so achingly harrowing because it’s here where we can see just how much guilt Ted carries for his mother as well. (Where is she? How is she? What does she do? I’d love to know more about her.)
It’s one thing to learn that a person has died, it’s another to be the person who finds their body. However the circumstances, I cannot even begin to fathom to trauma that must bring forth. Some people get to say goodbye, others don’t. When death comes knocking, everyone has a story they could tell, something that cuts deeper than others. One last word, one last memory, it looks so differently for all of us, it’s incredible therapy could help navigate through so many facets, is it not? The more I try to get inside Ted’s headspace in this moment, the more it results in me sobbing.
After this, Dr. Fieldstone asks him to recall a fond of memory, and there just aren’t enough words for Jason Sudeikis’ performance in that moment as he tells the story of how his father read an entire book (all night) to help him out with a test he had the next day. It’s here where he states: “I was never going to let anybody get by me without understanding that they might be hurting inside.” Sudeikis looked so small in this moment it was crushing. I can usually watch a lot of Ted Lasso scenes over and over even when they’re sad, but I had so much trouble with this because of how deeply it was shattering my heart.
This is it—this is why Theodore Lasso is the way that he is. It’s because of a choice he made long ago to ensure that he understood people profoundly in order to help them in a way he was not able to help his father. As much as Ted believes he hates his father and is angry at him, this is the moment where it becomes easy to understand that Ted harbors such monumental grief because he carries some of the blame. This is why he can’t let a kid like Jamie Tartt go out into the world alone because he wants him to feel loved and appreciated. This is why he’s so deeply kind because he wants to be a reason someone else continues their fight in life.
One conversation isn’t going to heal Ted, but knowing he is on the right path towards both forgiveness and understanding is a beautiful detail that I hope inspires anyone else who’s in a similar situation. Life is hard—that’s what this fourth quarter of Ted Lasso shows. The dark forest makes it easy to want to give up. It’s hard to see the light at the end of it all when you’re smack dab in the middle of engulfing tidal waves. But conversations and transparency matter because maybe, just maybe, sharing pain can have colossal impact.
I legitimately wanted to go scream in the middle of the ocean when Ted asked Sharon for a hug because I had such a visceral reaction to his pain, I couldn’t breathe for a moment. Again, Emmy award Jason Sudeikis for every single award. Hats off, sir. There are no words.
But as we saw in “The Hope That Kills You” and “Man City,” where words fail, a physical touch heals. Human beings need hugs, animals need them, heck maybe even insects do. There’s something so pure and innocent about this need that we all share, it’s the adult band aid for the soul. Sure, it might be temporary, but God, does it help in that moment. You could physically see Ted start to feel so much better after everything because he knows that even though Sharon is paid for this, she sincerely cares for him and his journey. She wants to see him heal. She wants to see him deal with grief and the heartaches that have taken root inside of him. She wants to see him understand that there’s a reason for all the pain he has endured in his life, there’s a reason for his father’s pain, and his mother’s too.
“No Weddings and a Funeral” allows Ted the chance to start mending his heartaches, and it does so by allowing him the chance to be there for somebody else in the same way that he’s seen another do for him. Where words fail, sometimes another will carry out the tune.
Never Gonna Give You Up
As mentioned above, the funeral’s tone is different from the ones we’re used to, but the way that it ends with Rebecca trying to sing through her pain is yet another beautiful display of the fact that we all grieve differently. Sometimes, I hate a lot of the traditional rules and regulations that go hand in hand with funerals. We don’t all grieve the same way. We can’t always write and say the words everyone wants to hear. Some of us cannot even bear to go.
Respecting death looks differently for all of us and while I would’ve certainly kept my chatter down to respect others and their grieving process, Rebecca’s eulogy was actually perfect. And it was perfect because it felt real. No, she doesn’t have the right words because she’s still full of so much anger, it’s cobbling itself onto the brewing sadness. But he was her father after all. So when she can’t sing and when no one else knows how to react, Ted does.
In that moment, Ted Lasso carries the tune for Rebecca Welton as a emblematic representation of the fact that he’s bearing her pain too.
Ted knows because Ted understands Rebecca in a way that I don’t even think he himself realizes. And neither does she. There’s something so intrinsic about how kindred the two of them are. We know this now more than ever as a significant day in their lives parallels the other’s with a plethora of pain. And now more than ever, I want the two of them to find a way to each other because it’s moments like this that tell me what they share goes beyond what human beings are able to fully grasp. I didn’t ship them as hard as I do now. I’ll admit.
In the same way that Rebecca was Ted’s physical strength in “Make Rebecca Great Again” and the way she ran out to be it again in “The Signal,” he is putting himself forward as her strength in “No Weddings and a Funeral.” He is physically using his voice and words to show her that in a room full of people where no one knows how to react, he is trying. He can be whatever she needs him to be because even though he was late, he’d been with her in spirit. And now, that physically manifests itself into a song.
Whatever happens with Ted and Rebecca, this moment solidifies the detail that neither will ever give up on the other. A room full of people and yet, for a moment, they were each other’s strength. A burning fire discovered in the heart of a cold, dark forest. In the same way that Ted never gave up on her throughout the first season, today, amidst his own pain, he’s taking on hers too. She cannot bank solely on the toy soldier now, she needs the real thing, and Ted Lasso is there to look out for her. He’s the soldier sitting before her today. He’s the hope tethered to her healing journey.
There’s a great deal the two of them have to figure out, but they’re on the right path individually and for now, that’s what matters.
In “No Weddings and a Funeral,” important conversations showcase that grief manifests itself differently with everyone, and so does the news of death even though we don’t have personal ties to the person. I still remember sitting in my office full of people who couldn’t seem to understand why I was so broken over Carrie Fisher’s death. And it was interesting to see this with Roy and Keeley even though my nerves are in shambles now.
It was hilarious at first especially with the whole “avenge me, Keeley” spiel, but good Lord, when it got serious, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Death also has a way of inspiring transparency, the moment someone is no longer around, sometimes a person’s thought process escapes to a place driven by intense fear. That’s what happens when Jamie, clearly. As he realizes that he might not get another chance because life is so unpredictable, he tells Keeley that he’s still in love with her and is now the man she’s always wanted him to be.
And yes, it’s true, Jamie Tartt’s growth this season has been exceptional—the icing on top of a brilliant cake, but baby shark there are other dolphins in the sea. Find someone else, I’m begging. We’re all obsessed with Keeley Jones. We all want to be her. We all want to be like her. And clearly, with her. But there’s so much about Jamie and Keeley that didn’t work because it just wasn’t meant to. She and Roy can challenge each other in ways Jamie cannot and along with immense love plus, accountability, that’s the glue that keeps their relationship strong.
Roy and Keeley are each other’s strength in a way that no other person can be, and I don’t ever want to live in a world where there’s even a pause. Because in “No Weddings and a Funeral” Roy Kent said “I love you” and I’m pretty sure every part of me exploded into a puddle of tears. I’m now in desperate need of an Empire Strikes Back “I love you,” “I know” exchange between the two.
Roy Kent is such a fascinating character because so much of the humor that he deflects with is driven by fears of uncertainty. We saw it in “All Apologies,” we saw it to a degree in “Rainbow,” and we saw it in “No Weddings and a Funeral” as well. When he’s afraid of something or broken as a result of it, he either masks it through rage angry, or he cracks one too many jokes.
Death is uncomfortable for Roy because in the midst of his grief, he was left hopeless and wondering, he was left with the belief that there’s nothing more out there. Nothing more sacred. And missing his grandfather translated into putting up walls around the belief of an after-life because it’s easier than working around the sadness from his pain. While he has come so far in showing vulnerability, there are still ways to go in completely liberating himself from the fears that elicit closure amidst uncertainties. And that’s so incredibly human, who’s to say there’s even a means of escaping it. Uncertainties are terrifying. All I know is that conversations matter and these two at the very least are trying to have them.
Ted Lasso’s “No Weddings and a Funeral” is all about the chances we take on ourselves by choosing to be transparent. It isn’t easy to talk about grief or pain, and it isn’t easy to talk about our uncertainties, but that’s what the characters in this week’s episode do. Sometimes, people need to figure things out together, other times, they need to be apart to do it. Both are logical reasons so long as the decision isn’t made out of fear but with utmost certainty.
There’s a lot that can be said about what it means to be sad and alone as the overarching theme of the show, and how we treat people in the midst of darkness. There’s also a lot that can be said about what it means to let ourselves feel whatever it is that’s necessary. Marinating in the pain can be a healthy thing so long as we pull ourselves out of it before we cook and burn.
Ted Talks and Further Thoughts
- Tell me more about Roy Kent praying for a whole year to talk his granddad one more time. Or better yet, don’t. I’ve already cried too much.
- “He’s on his period.” Roy about Keeley
- DANI ROJAS SAYING THIS WOMAN IS AN ANGEL IN SPANISH IS EVERYTHING.
- The team not having any dress shoes is hilarious to me. What even.
- “What’s more important being loving or being right?” This is such a great question that Rebecca’s mom asks her.
- What on earth did Palpatine, I mean Rupert, say to Nate????????!!!
- Sassy and Keeley loving each other the way that they do is so pure.
- The amount of times I screamed: “Jaaassssonnnn” in Hannah Waddingham’s voice is embarrassing. But the ACTING. My God.
- Jane and Beard are doing fine, so yeah, I was super off last week—and what? Does this mean they’re doing good now? No, but you know what, I’m sticking to my beliefs, there is something so Shakespearean about the two of them. That can be both good and bad considering you know … the world of Shakespeare is full of tragedies (and comedy).
- The hug between Higgins and Rebecca was so pure.
- “I have a daughter. I’ve changed.” How many men have said this? So gross. Having a daughter shouldn’t be the reason you decide to be respectful to women, Palpatine.
- Roy Kent crunching on that apple in the middle of a damn funeral. I cannot with this show.
- Nate saying he didn’t want to be like anybody else can be so interesting to dissect later on, especially considering the comment about being reincarnated into a tiger so he can ravage everyone who’s looked at him wrong…I’m nervous for where his character going.
- Sassy and Ted still going?
- Jamie saying these shoes are made for “muggles.”
- Colin taking off his hat for a moment when saying hi to Rebecca was so lovely.
- Did anyone else think Roy was going to propose there for a second?
- Keeley being part of The Diamond Dogs will never not be amazing to see.
What are your thoughts on Ted Lasso’s “No Weddings and a Funeral?”