Ted Lasso 3×05 “Signs” Spoilers Ahead
Written by Jamie Lee, Ted Lasso Season 3, Episode 5, “Signs” is appropriately titled as a chapter that delivers signs we’re meant to deconstruct. Only, in nudging us to deconstruct, like most of the season so far (and primarily in “4-5-1”), it leaves us with more questions than answers.
However, despite the flurry of puzzlement it propels and the sadness it leaves in the air for some characters, it’s the first episode in the season that almost cements the fact that we’re going to win. Season 2, Episode 5, “Rainbow,” promised that “it will all work out.” And though the majority of this season so far has been stirring us to believe that the team is in shreds, “Signs” showcases that the external rips don’t matter, so long as these characters continue to revitalize their belief from within. And now, the challenges begin, hopefully moving each and every player out of the dark forest they’re stuck in.
Ted Lasso 3×05 “Signs” and Confirmations
So much of what we get in “4-5-1” is a tremendous conundrum for Rebecca Welton, but plenty of it starts to make sense this week. We have answers that both debunk and confirm what her mother’s psychic told her, affirming that it’s not what a person tells you will happen but how you use the information granted. At the end of the day, like most people in the world, Rebecca Welton is looking for her happy ending (however that may be), and Hannah Waddingham is continuing to destroy me with some of the most brilliant performances I’ve ever seen.
This week, after trying to understand more about the haunting green matchbook and the “shite in nining armor,” she sees John Wingsnight again, now with his new fiancée, Jessica Darling. The riveting detail about signs, as excavated in “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea,” is that not everything that appears to be a sign is worth paying attention to. In the same way that Rupert’s persistence wasn’t a sign that he was the one for her, many of the slipping words might not mean much either. Yet, it’s difficult not to question the blocking and direction, overtly showing the audience the green matchbook adjacent to the biscuit box. We can also say the same about why Ted’s voiceover about having hope in the mess pans to Rebecca in the car, drawing back to the Oklahoma reference in “Big Week.” (And don’t even get me started on the moment in the hallway.)
At the same time, it’s challenging not to question why Rebecca would learn that she can no longer have children in the same episode when Ted’s dealing with a crisis surrounding his son, Henry. We know they’re platonic soul mates, and that’s something that will always be confirmed, yet episodes like Ted Lasso 3×05 “Signs” make it easy to believe that they could be romantic soul mates too, pointing to the detail that Ted’s family could be very one the psychic hinted to. If Jake gets to be a co-parent miles away, so should Rebecca.
It’s hard not to hope that an episode that carefully threads two characters together isn’t trying to tell us they’re each other’s missing puzzle piece, offering yet another compelling parallel to “No Weddings And A Funeral.” While it’s hard to say this is the direction the show will go, it’s still further authentication that Ted and Rebecca continue to be connected in ways that so few can understand. Whether it’s in their grief or the inner demons they both fight, meeting each other changed them both for the better in a way nothing and no one else could. That’s a fact no psychic or human could predict as it happens through agency—the choice to deliver biscuits to her office every day with a toy soldier to watch over and protect her. Similarly, we see it in her choice to ensure no one else takes this job because, win or lose, Ted’s role is irreplaceable in this team.
Since the moment we meet Jason Sudeikis’ titular character, he’s torn at the seams. Despite his glowing and influential positivity, wearing his heart on his sleeves actively shows viewers how hard he’s trying not to fall apart. It’s also a stark reminder of the fact that positivity requires work. And in Ted Lasso’s 3×05 “Signs,” we have solid confirmation that therapy is working for him because he’s adjusting to his internal battles without hiding but rather facing them all head-on. He uses his tools to combat a panic attack and does his best to continue helping the team in an organic way that works.
The BELIEVE sign is essential. It represents this show’s heart beautifully, but at the same time, it’s a mere inanimate object. It’s not the sign we adore—it’s the moments the characters orbit around it. It’s a symbol of belief, but it’s not the source of the conviction. It’s a reminder. And as much as it hurts to see Ted rip it into more pieces after the team takes its tear as another sign, it works to gorgeously showcase that they need to keep working on strengthening their belief within. And together.
As human beings, no one gets in our way quite like we do. In every sense of the word, we are our worst enemies at times. Sure, circumstances impact our emotions, but at the end of the day, we carve the path we want to walk through. In the same vein as “The Hope That Kills You” reiterates that no one in this room is sad and alone, “Signs” cements what “Smells Like Mean Spirit” bestowed—let it flow. The team never needed Zava (as Jamie kept saying), but the team needed the reminder to understand that no matter what happens, they have each other, still. At the end of the day, these are the characters who matter most, and their journeys through the dark forest will feel earned because finding the exit road will take work and careful excavation.
Like in Star Wars, the Force is all around. Belief is all around, and despite how challenging it might be to believe that they can win without Zava or their confidence marred by the views pundits have about them, it’s about knowing that the team is still essential, excellent, and worthy of all the good in the world. It’s easy to second guess whether they’ll actually win the whole f—king thing or not, but right now, at this very moment, that’s not the point, and it’s okay. Their most significant win will come from the understanding that they’re brilliant as they are because they continue to give all they have without giving up. As Henry says, and as “Big Week” confirms, it’s about continuing to try.
Nate’s Rom-Com Baklava Date
There’s so much about Nathan Shelley’s arc that continues to surprise me in the best way. While we still don’t have concrete proof that he’ll get complete redemption, the signs resume pointing in fascinating directions where it’s clear that all the healing has to come from within. But where Jade was the one character whose actions were most frustrating last season, the gesture to bring him baklava after Anastasia ditches him is both concerning and adorable.
Do I want Nate to find love and have a sweet romance? Absolutely. But like all new couplings, it’s hard to trust the characters we haven’t known since the first season. It’s hard to trust whether their intentions are honorable, and it’s hard to trust if they’ll lead our heroes to the places where they’re at their absolute selves. (And as I’ve been saying for a while now, Nate is still in a morally grey area.) Maybe Jade’s had a change of heart, or maybe she’s continuing to mess with him. But it continues to be riveting to see that Nathan Shelley seems to be bonding with everyone except the one person whose influence hurts him the most, his father.
And at the end of the day, for a character like Nate to make a genuine breakthrough, he needs to unveil his demons and get to the crux of his issues with his father. He must understand that he cannot live his entire life trying to impress one person if they want to mold him into who they are instead of loving him as he is.
It’s also interesting how in Ted Lasso 3×05 “Signs,” phone calls show the audience who characters rely on for comfort. While Ted doesn’t necessarily rely on his son for comfort, he feels at his best during their moments together—being a father is his greatest gift and role. At the same time, Nate’s mother is the person he turns to. She’s the one he could be his best, most honest self with, relying on her for all sorts of advice, knowing she won’t judge or misunderstand him in any way. For Rebecca, that person is essentially Keeley, even if she didn’t answer the phone this time around. Still, it’s riveting to see how some characters comfortably rely on others while the remaining players (cough, Roy, cough) still haven’t grasped that they have a safe place with the people in their lives who’ll allow their best to come to the surface.
Is Zava Really Gone?
Zava is absolutely the kind of character who’d retire without telling anyone, but in the spirit of questioning everything—is he truly gone? It’s hard to believe that the series would bring the character in solely for three episodes and have him disappear after a few losses. It’s also hard to believe that his impact wasn’t more prominent than it is; otherwise, why would we need to know him in the first place? Is it to remind the team that they’re great on their own? Ted’s pep talks could’ve done the trick and the motivation from what happens to the sign. Thereby, I have to assume this isn’t the end of him?
Further, it bears noting that it makes me a little uncomfortable to watch an episode where a white man calmly leaves, and a woman of color is shown throwing a tantrum. The juxtapositions here might’ve happened for comedic relief, but it’s quite upsetting.
Late Nights at KJPR
As much as I love watching hot people make out (and more), it’s concerning when it occurs between a boss and an employee just a month after their initial meeting. Since there’s very little we know about Jack, it makes the future (potentially) more complicated in the long run. She isn’t merely a woman Keeley hooks up with, but her boss. Further, Keeley deserves the reprieve in every way, but I wish Jack were someone she met at a bar, club, or even the grocery store—anyone but her boss, ultimately. Because this way, it feels like we should know her more, but seven episodes aren’t enough time to do so, in the same way, that three episodes weren’t enough for Zava. And if we aren’t meant to get to know Jack, is there truly a world where a boss and an employee can sleep together and then move on as though nothing’s happened?
At the same time, what essentially hurts the most in an episode like this is that if this truly is the last season, I want people to talk about the things that are hurting them. I wish we got to hear at least something about Keeley’s past. Sometimes it’s easier to vocalize things to people when you haven’t known them for a while than it is to the people you’re closest to. This scene could’ve used a moment like that. It would’ve felt effortless to weave it in.
Keeley Jones saying, “I used to be a happy person,” is so painful to hear because you have to wonder what’s necessary for said happiness. And after a day like the one she’s had in Ted Lasso 3×05 “Signs,” it’s hard to trust that anyone in KJPR has the right intentions. The shift in Barbara after she fired Shandy, the uproar Shandy causes (which is a whole other story), and the detail that the place still doesn’t feel like home makes situations trickier.
Further, and more than anything, I want the people in Keeley’s life to do something impactful for her as she does for all others. And if this weren’t the supposed last season, then I wouldn’t be as concerned as I am, but believing that it could be, it worries me that seven episodes aren’t enough to show us all the puzzle pieces from her that have been missing.
We can also be sure that when it comes to Ted Lasso, nothing on this show is accidental; even the seemingly unimportant people (John Wingsnight) serve a purpose. So, I have to believe that Jack is also more vital to the equation. The writers are careful and considerate, ensuring their developments serve the characters, so I’m faithful this will make sense. Still, I can’t help but question that it could also hurt KJPR and, inadvertently, Keeley somehow. (And I sure hope I’m wrong in this assessment.) At the same time, this feels more like a threatening love triangle than Jamie/Keeley/Roy ever did.
Ted Lasso 3×05 “Signs” isn’t as comforting as the fifth episode of last season, but it doesn’t leave us hopeless either. Like Ted, it seems the audience is meant to continuously question the why of it all, taking us through an unforgettable journey alongside the characters. If this is the final season, there are some journeys I hope we spend more time on, preferably leaving the plot in the rearview, but if it isn’t, then I’m all in to keep pushing through whatever is meant to unfold.
Ted Talks and Further Thoughts
- “Buddy you gotta get off Twitter.” You’re right, Beard.
- Ted at Rebecca: “I hear the concern in your voice and its volume.”
- HANNAH WADDINGHAM’S PERFORMANCES ARE ASTOUNDING.
- A compliment sandwich … I have a feeling will come back around.
- Jack: “The worst people often think they’re the best.” I could write an essay on this single quote alone.
- The team talking about She’s All That, then referring to Nate with “His transformation is going to be on the inside,” is gold. Also, I love it when the boys know their romances. It makes my heart swoon.
- I’m having a hard time believing that Zava has a wife!?!?
- “I don’t care about moving pictures.” There it is. That’s why I didn’t trust Zava. Who doesn’t love the cinema, dude???!!
- Between the dog sounds last week and the monkey sounds this week, I don’t know what to do with myself.
- TRENT’S RAINBOW MUG. “Let the good times roll.” Yes, let them.
- Beard and Roy ready to fight the bully was everything! And terrifying. I’d also drop my mug, Trent.
- Rupert’s assistant has a name, but I’ve already forgotten it.
- Serious question, are doctors offices in England this fancy???? Or ????
- “More importantly, no video games before bedtime. Except for Animal Crossing. That shit is soothing.” ISAAC, YOU ANGEL CAPTAIN.
- Jamie’s “Stop acting like a bunch of bunny rabbits” also killed me.
- “You will win cause you will work together.”
- Jamie deserved those hugs.
- Dan is joking with Keeley now. Interesting…what am I supposed to think.
- What does Barbara have in her desk drawer?????
- “His avocado whisperer.” What kind of a whisperer does Zava not have at this point?
- Taste of Athens continues to be special for Nate, and it’s wholesome.
- “The only modicum of comfort is knowing that in all the parallel universe, there is not one where we win that game.” Are we in our Avengers: Endgame now?!?!?
- Ted using his tools against panic attacks is so lovely. I could also write essays about this.
- Dani’s cries. I can’t.
- Guys, I really don’t like love triangles, okay?!?? I just. Insert Chris Evans’ “I don’t wike it” gif.
- “Belief doesn’t happen cause you hang something on a wall. It comes from down here.
- “We get in our own way.” Preach, Ted!!
Now streaming on Apple TV Plus: What are your thoughts on Ted Lasso 3×05 “Signs?” Let us know in the comments below.