Ted Lasso 3×02 “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea”Spoilers Ahead
If “Smells Like Mean Spirit” asks a big question about why, then Ted Lasso Season 3, Episode 2, “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea,” slowly chips away at the edges to unveil the answers. Written by Sasha Garron, it expertly combines laugh-until-you-cry humor with unexpectedly heartfelt revelations that show viewers these characters are ready to move forward. There’s still a long road ahead, but leaving the dark forest will get easier once these characters look inward and confront the crosses they’re carrying.
The show’s sophomore season addresses therapy head-on, but thus far, its third gives us glimpses into how people spiral instead of challenging those issues in an outward fashion. It’s an episode that cements the idea that thoughts cannot become a reality without actions, and it’s one that subtly harps on the importance of communication. Ted Lasso 3×02 “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” understands where it wants to go but not quite how to get there, which accurately showcases the human struggles of trying, even when we aren’t sure. Henry tells Ted to try, and here—they all do.
“(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea”
In an episode that may want us to feel the way most of AFC Richmond and the coaches do, it’s hard not to align with Jamie Tartt here. It’s hard to trust Zava immediately off the bat. On a show like Ted Lasso, we could see the markings of depth in a character like Jamie Tartt, even when he wasn’t a team player. We could sense that he had a bigger, more important story, but with Zava, there’s nothing there—at least not yet. And ultimately, where this will take the team matters most, but at the same time, what it does for Rebecca is how the storyline works.
Much of what she’s doing is to ensure that Rupert doesn’t win, and the episode finally tells us why. In many instances, people ask themselves how women like Rebecca Welton end up with men like Rupert Mannion, and it’s relatively simple, even in all its complicated workings: people want to feel chosen. Who can look inward and sincerely say that they don’t want to be someone’s choice? However that choice is presented, it’s an idea that sparks a fire deep in all of us because it’s so innately human, we’ve yet to scuffle with it. And
Palpatine, Rupert Mannion knows how to make women feel chosen—men like him often do. Persistence is crucial, but at the same time, it can be dangerous. When a person is desperate to be seen, persistence can be a lie that tells them this is what they’ve been waiting for. Only it’s not. It’s the exact opposite—the sign that tells you to be patient and wait a little longer.
It’s heartbreaking to know that a woman like Rebecca Welton falls for this, but it’s entirely understandable when we consider the issues she had with her father, the detail that she’s probably kept all of this bottled up for years, and the fact that Rupert is that good at it. Hannah Waddingham is awe-inspiring in every way, but how she carries the sadness in Rebecca’s soul into her eyes is no small feat. You merely need to look a little closer, and there are eons of sorrows trying to burst through. Rupert doesn’t deserve West Ham, Zava, or any sort of win, and while Rebecca trying to beat him without strengthening herself could potentially backfire, it acutely answers all the whys necessary to understand how her character will eventually make it out of her forest.
Rebecca Welton needs to heal herself first, and that healing will only happen if she is ready to dig deeper. In “Lavender” (interestingly, also the second episode of the season), Rebecca poses her hesitations with therapy, stating that she can diagnose herself. But everything that we continue to see in Ted Lasso 3×02 “(I Don’t Want to Go to Chelsea)” proves otherwise, authenticating to anyone paying attention that she also needs it. In that episode review, I wondered if everyone would give therapy a chance at some point, and I’m asking myself the same question today—will they? They should. It could work wonders, whether with Sharon, someone else, and even off-screen. Still, for now, Rebecca wins by rightfully addressing Zava’s overrated streak and noting that if he goes to West Ham, he won’t know if it’s him or the other players who are the true winners. He signs with Richmond, and the rest of that is for next week.
In Ted Lasso 3×02 “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea,” it continues to break my heart that Keeley Jones feels so isolated at KJPR. For a woman who can easily make friends, it’s disappointing to see that the team she has expresses no desire to do so, making it easy to question whether this decision works for her. It also poses the same question as Rebecca’s initial Rupert debacle—should Keeley have waited to start this firm with a better staff? Was this her sign, or should she have waited for something else? Sure, she now has an old friend, Shandy Fine (Ambreen Razia), beside her, but at what cost?
There’s so much about her character that we still don’t know that it’s almost unsettling. She persists in being the sunshine in everyone’s lives, but what about hers? Who’s her light? And Roy confirming that he’s the one who broke up with her makes it that much more heartbreaking. Keeley continues to hold everyone else up while she stands and tries desperately to break ice after ice. And if nothing else, I hope the season gives us more about her character as they did with others, allowing an episode like this to serve as a starting point.
Roy Kent and Trent Crimm and Starting Again
For three seasons, we’ve watched as Roy Kent digs deeper into the space he carves for his demons, turning on a light to briefly send them on reprieve before stepping back into darkness again. Frankly, it’s yet another exceptional depiction of reality because scars don’t heal overnight, and like Rebecca Welton, he also needs therapy. Ted Lasso 3×02 “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” boldly establishes that even though Roy has made significant progress in the last year, he still firmly believes he’s occupying a space where he doesn’t belong. But he’s slowly understanding what that means, even if he doesn’t act on it for a few more episodes.
Upon learning that Trent Crimm will be writing about AFC Richmond, he angrily tells the team not to say anything in front of him. When it gets to a point where Ted’s frustrated, he vocalizes that Roy needs to check his ego before it starts affecting others. This statement allows him to confront Trent Crimm about the first article he wrote about him, which he still keeps in his wallet. “Newcomer Roy Kent is an overhyped, so-called prodigy, whose unbridled rage and mediocre talent rendered his premiere league debut a profound disappointment,” he reads aloud, then finishes with, “I was just 17 years old.” The moment (followed by the one later in the office) gives Brett Goldstein hearty text to breathe remarkable life into as he reaches to the depths of Roy’s inner being that have been sealed shut. Somewhere deep beyond the gruff edges, he’s still the seventeen-year-old kid who believes he’s nothing more than a disappointment—the same man who thinks he’s an infection to everyone and everything he touches, as he tells Phoebe in “Man City.”
And as he admits after being back at Chelsea: “Last season I was there, we played a match against Arsenal. We f—king murdered them. But I played like sh-t. That was the first time ever I thought, I can’t keep up anymore. I’m not good enough. And that was all I could think about for the rest of the year. So at the end of the season, I left.” Roy’s continuous belief that he’s a mere vessel taking up space instead of a human being with heart and emotions continues to be his undoing. This incessant belief that he brings people like Phoebe and Keeley down is why he breaks up with Keeley instead of staying—enjoying himself as he voices his regrets about leaving Chelsea. Sure, it brought him to Richmond, but how many times can you leave a good thing before you continue finding yourself in a dark forest made up entirely of a canopy of trees planted and nourished by self-hatred?
As stupid as the decision to break up with Keeley is, it’s the catalyst to finally allow Roy Kent to fully grasp that he’s not just taking up space but bringing something significant and worthwhile to it. In “The Hope That Kills You,” Keeley cracks a portion of the barricade Roy keeps himself behind; in “Rainbow,” he steps forward by his own agency, and after “Midnight Train to Royston,” he hides against the other side of the wall once he witnesses Keeley’s light away from his darkness. Today, it’s effortless to understand that, to be his best self, the dam needs to break completely. He can’t persist in covering behind the fears he caters to without paying attention to the light that’s trying to shine down on him from all angles. He needs to understand that this time, he has to stay—live and become the best version of himself by fully accepting that he deserves to be happy beyond the few moments he allows. And that will take work, which will be exceptional to watch in the hands of an actor who committedly and brilliantly understands the character’s inner mechanisms.
TAKE IT BACK
On any other show, this breakup would’ve been frustrating, but in an episode like Ted Lasso 3×02 “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea,” it gives us the kind of scene I’m going to turn to on a bad day for a good laugh. Jamie’s reaction to Roy and Keeley’s breakup leading to his attempt at empathy and comfort, followed by the team’s refusal to grasp it, results in one of the sharpest blends of heart and humor I’ve ever seen. How seamlessly each reaction fits the character is brightly wholesome and heartwarming while making yet another clear statement about the fact that this isn’t done for shock value but to move the story forward.
Jamie’s reaction would be concerning elsewhere, but in all its awkward glory, it works exceptionally well here, backed by Phil Dunster’s natural charm and embodiment of Jamie. The reaction to Roy shoving him away with “Jesus, sorry, I forgot how skittish elderly people could be ’cause of the war” nearly made me choke, prompting me to pause and calm down before resuming. Beard’s gasp, Ted’s near-faint, and even Will’s adorable means of bonding make the heartache worth every moment for the tiny gems we get in the background as this news comes to the surface. Ingenious—no notes.
Ted Lasso 3×02 “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” feels like the start of battle; as we understandably see more of Zava and his inclusion in Richmond next week, we’ll hopefully see more layers chipping away to bring the characters the ease necessary from their individual burdens. There’s a lot at stake with Trent Crimm writing about Richmond, Rupert’s evil agenda at large, and nearly every character walking through their self-ignited flames, making the start of this season one heck of a ride.
Ted Talks and Further Thoughts
- Higgins’ “chaos and trophies” comment is both anxiety-inducing and thrilling.
- Isaac: “No brands. Just shoes. In general.” Followed by breaking down kinesics is the definition of range.
- Jamie: “IT’S CALLED EMPATHY, YOU DUSTY OLD FART”
- Ted reading Inverting the Pyramid of Success and Beard’s reaction is A+, as well as, “wait til this son of a gun comes out as a movie.” Same, Ted. Same.
- “THE MOST UPSETTING RUMOR,” Sam gets it. No one wants to believe it.
- Where can I get a copy of “Ted’s Breakup Mix?” Asking for a friend. Will this also be released like the “Roy is Sorry For Not Understanding Keeley” playlist? UPDATE: It’s on Apple Music!
- “WHAT’S A CD?!!?!?!?” OMG, how old is Will supposed to be!?!?!?
- JAMIE’S FACE IN THE BACKGROUND during the entirety of that reveal is pure gold.
- “I MEAN F OFF, TRENT CRIMM.” Guys…did we just make Dani Rojas curse?
- Who’s Liza?
- Roy popping those balloons while Trent is on the phone. I can’t.
- “Take off those hats, they’re bad luck.” Mae remains the best.
- THE WHOLE HALLMARK CHRISTMAS MOVIES DEBACLE MURDERED ME. “Women from a big city falling in love with their childhood crushes. Usually, someone who owns a Christmas tree farm. Sometimes he’s Santa Claus or a prince. Some of them are great. But they also really suck. They’re also kinda great.”
- Jamie: “It’s actually quite funny when he yells at people, isn’t it?” It is, Jamie. It is.
- I can’t deal with the fact that Rupert now has a straight-up Palpatine coat.
- Dani’s face scoring a goal is also A+
- Jamie saying, “fans are not gonna like this about Zava?” He’s talking about me; I’m fans. I have trust issues.
- Update: Jane still finds Ted and Beard’s relationship threatening.
- Ted’s expression when he says that he and Roy would’ve never met is a new gif-reaction that just dropped. Stellar.
Now streaming on Apple TV Plus: What are your thoughts on Ted Lasso 3×02 “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea?” Let us know in the comments below.