Ted Lasso 3×07 “The Strings That Bind Us” Review

Keeley and Rebecca out at dinner together in Ted Lasso 3x07 "The Strings That Bind Us"
©Apple TV+

Ted Lasso 3×07 “The Strings That Bind Us” Spoilers Ahead

Ted Lasso Season 3, Episode 7, “The Strings That Bind Us,” is a brilliantly robust paradigm of what makes the show a feel-good gem even when it tackles complex matters. It’s the first episode in the third season that distinguishes characters are on their way toward exiting the dark forest, generating hope for viewers that their journeys will feel earned too. While questions remain, the progress is both indisputable and outstanding. 

An episode like this ultimately reiterates why the show is special by returning to its crux of rainbows veiled behind rain clouds. It’s a stark showcase of how far AFC Richmond has come as a team, as well as why theirs is the underdog story worth rooting for. We get so much heart from the moments we spend with them that the pure bliss their scenes evoke make this (presumed) final season that much more painful. (Do we really have to say goodbye? Please don’t make us.) Written by the supremely talented Phoebe Walsh and directed by Matt Lipsey, Ted Lasso 3×07 “The Strings That Bind Us” takes us through one whirlwind after another, stringing jointly multiple themes that tug on the importance of doing the right thing, even when it’s challenging. 

The Strings That Bind Us

Jamie, Sam, Dani during AFC Richmond vs Arsenal's game in Ted Lasso
©Apple TV+

Nearly every scene with AFC Richmond glistens like the bright yellow in their kits against Arsenal. To sit here and dissect each one would leave us with pages and pages of analysis, so instead, it’s vital to note that the episode’s title fits snappily with them. (Yes, all puns intended. If I’m honest, the last-minute change from “Boxes” is doing plenty for my emotions and the workout from laughing at the literal meaning.) Still, in Ted Lasso 3×07 “The Strings That Bind Us,” we get concrete and astounding evidence of Jamie Tartt’s character development, substantiating that there’s nothing the show does unwittingly—every seed they plant blooms into a profoundly worthwhile arc.

Jamie Tartt goes from an ace to the fundamental team player for AFC Richmond to score the kind of goal that’s both exhilarating and hopeful. And though the boys suffer plenty through Ted’s newly discovered method of Total Football from “Sunflowers,” it’s easy to forgive the projectile vomiting when we have moments as impactful as Jamie telling the team to go through him. Where he was once a man who thought solely of himself, he consistently puts his best foot forward today. All the meticulous moves and effortless decisions are for the boys and coaches he’d do anything for. 

Jamie pulling Roy on a bike in Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 7
©Apple TV+

The detail that the signal for Jamie Tartt to be a prick still exists is a fun yet thoroughly practical callback because it acknowledges how far he’s come. It also shows that life isn’t about how a person needs to change but how they need to grow. Sometimes, Jamie’s prickly ways are the right road. Throughout this season especially, Phil Dunster continues to bring his A-game with scrupulously impressive performances to conduct with little moments how said growth is taking place. On top of Dunster’s performance, the music, blocking, and the cast’s collective embodiment make the ending locker room scene one for the books. 

The missing spot for number four might not be “sacrifice” by Total Football’s definition, but Dani Rojas’ assessment is entirely unvarnished. Jamie’s decision to put aside his personal glory for the team is a winning goal in and of itself—it’s a conductor’s love openly bare for his family. We have to steal Arlo White’s words right out of his mouth for this one: “That was bloody gorgeous. A majestic sweeping symphony of a goal with Tartt in the role of conductor.” Jamie Tartt, like a conductor, is a player meant to shine. But the cheers and accolades don’t come solely from him; they come from everything he brings and weaves with the rest of the teams. A symphony, a tapestry, a mosaic—all binding facets that string together vast arrays of sounds and colors, and in this scenario, goals. 

The assemblage of scenes with AFC Richmond this week, centering around Jamie and Sam Obisanya, are nothing short of remarkable—each one deserves a scene breakdown. Yet, even if it comes with a loss, this very goal is still a prodigious win worth celebrating. It’s the kind of scene that eclipses heartbreaks and uncertainties because it focuses on actualizing hope for a moment. Hope isn’t tangible, but how Ted Lasso makes it so achingly concentrated and palpable is no small feat. The show remains unique because of its authentic ability to build trust with the audience and pay it forward with an expectancy we can metaphorically hold onto. 

Sam’s Father, Ola Obisanya

Sam and his dad at Ola's with the team replacing the damage
©Apple TV+

Like everything we get with AFC Richmond, Sam’s arc this season is brimming with tremendous heart. It’s so beautiful to finally meet his father and see the light he brings as the inspiration behind Ola’s. We’ve known about his warmth since “Do The Right-est Thing” and “Man City,” and to see it today in Ted Lasso 3×07 “The Strings That Bind Us” is so massively rewarding. 

Nonso Anozie is a perfect casting choice for Mr. Obisanya, especially when viewers know the warmth his characters convey from films like the live-action Cinderella and Netflix’s Sweet Tooth. He’s an actor whose smile alone embodies eons of reassurance, allowing us to understand where so much of Sam’s light and spirit comes from. We are products of our parents, whether we like it or not, but Sam Obisanya should indeed be proud of his lineage. Yet still, beyond this, like his fight against the oil spills in Nigeria, Sam uses his platform for good to fight against politicians opposing refugees seeking asylum. And when we see Sam in significant positions like this, it rekindles the detail that this little show about football is instead a celebration of humanity and the importance of providing a safe space for anyone searching. At the same time, it carries forward to our screens Toheeb Jimoh’s astounding chops as an actor as he exhibits a full range of brilliant emotions organically.

Sam and his dad Ola dancing in the kitchen in Ted Lasso 3x07 "The Strings That Bind Us"
©Apple TV+

Since there’s no immediate resolution to this crisis, I’m hopeful we’ll see more of Sam continuing to exhibit that he’d rather be a better man than a “mediocre football player.” (Frankly, I’m ready to fight this politician myself. Who does she think she is calling this snowflake of an ace mediocre!?) The pathos of this series binds people together through an innate kindness that doubles down on community. And in an episode about the physically binding strings, the metaphorical ones provide additional consolation than the painful snaps. Still, watching Sam walk into Ola’s for the second time with the entire team cleaning up the vandalism and damage makes for another breathtakingly comforting scene in Ted Lasso’s history.

What we see with Jamie’s play continues off the pitch, proving that there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for each other. No matter how tired they are from days of grueling practice and another loss, they’ll step up, putting all their energy into making one of their own feel revered and safe. Further, watching Sam’s dad cook for the entire team while dancing in the kitchen made my whole chest squeeze with glee. The moment the episode begins with “Dreams” by The Cranberries, I knew we were in for something that’d quickly become both one of my favorite episodes and one of the saddest. For the first time during Season 3, this episode makes it feel like the end is drawing near.

Roy, Beard, and Ted at the AFC Richmond vs Arsenal match
©Apple TV+

In every way, Ted Lasso’s 3×07 “The Strings That Bind Us” shows us we’re on the right path. The characters we know and love are going places, everyone’s excited (Trent Crimm, especially!), and no matter what the fourth solution is, the tethers are pulling people in the direction they should be going. Sam and Simi are adorable, and while we haven’t seen much of them, it’s evident that their ease with each other is something the show could consistently fortify. It’s a staple in romantic comedies to have a workplace courtship with no power imbalance but riveting banter instead. Whether it turns into something more or not, Ola’s is already the type of place that feels heartwarming outside of the pitch and locker rooms. It’s a place that continues to feel like a haven—warm and full of love, no matter how new, making the eventual goodbye considerably difficult.

And much of that is because of who Sam Obisanya is and the family he comes from. It’s a result of the love he nurtures in everything he does, the same love that has us all blubbering still from the trailer. Cracks in a mirror don’t denote that the entire contraption will fall apart; instead, it exhibits endurance. It reveals that despite the attempts to break them (like with pundits refusing to believe in AFC Richmond), they’re all still standing—fighting with everything in them to win and play a game that matters. To fight as a team.

Keeley and Jack and Love Bombing

Juno Temple as Keeley Jones at KJPR in Ted Lasso 3x07 "The Strings That Bind Us"
©Apple TV+

So much of this episode brings answers, yet we’re still in limbo regarding Keeley’s arc. However, Ted Lasso 3×07 “The Strings That Bind Us” nudges us closer to answers by noting that Jack is love-bombing Keeley. And more often than not, love bombing is a form of emotional abuse. Nevertheless, it’s unclear here whether the show wants us to see this relationship as a threat or merely to provide Keeley Jones with some of the sunshine she most certainly deserves. In our “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” review, I noted that I need people to give Keeley as much as she gives to other people.

At the same time, the show is also addressing the elephant in the room with Keeley and Jack by bringing to the surface their power imbalance. Yes, they’re consenting adults, as Jack states, but we, as the audience, don’t know her enough to trust that if this goes sideways, she won’t hurt Keeley in return or jeopardize KJPR. Perhaps, she really is that giving. Maybe she truly has way too much money at her disposal, but there’s also no denying that the episode wants viewers to feel uncomfortable at this point by having Rebecca address her concerns. 

As an Austen fan, receiving a first-edition copy of any of her novels would be indescribable. But since when was Sense & Sensibility Keeley’s favorite book? The audience should know this before a potential suitor (which Jack seems to mirror) gifts her with one. Furthermore, in this equation, if we look at Ted Lasso with the Austenian lens, would Keeley be Marianne Dashwood? If that is the case, the love-bombing in this episode is painting Jack as the John Willoughby of the equation. And well—John’s a man with secrets. Would Roy Kent be Colonel Brandon? (Writer’s Note: You should all be thrilled I don’t have as much time on my hands as I’d like because, as someone who studied Austen extensively throughout her academic career, I’d milk the daylights out of this potential parallel.) 

Still, whether it means anything or not, at the moment, few heavy strings bind Keeley and Jack because if we are supposed to root for them as the endgame couple, it’s hard to do so when there’s no emotional vulnerability to inspire each of them for the better. Where this will lead, only time will tell, but I only hope that the execution will feel earned. Because ultimately, we learn a bit about Keeley in this episode, which is everything I’ve wanted, but it’s happening at a time when things feel crammed together. And I can’t help but wonder (and hope) that we’re merely planting seeds that’ll grow into something deeper and more nourishing with her journey. 

Boxes and First Dates

Nate looking at himself in the mirror in Ted Lasso 3x07 "The Strings That Bind Us"
©Apple TV+

While it’s questionable exactly how much of Nate’s inner working we’ll get to see before (if) the show ends, everything that we see in Ted Lasso 3×07 “The Strings That Bind Us” does a wholesome job of reminding us why Nate the Great was initially worth rooting for. At the end of the day, like all humans, Nathan Shelley wants to be loved, but as with every episode in the past, he doesn’t know how to find it because of his father’s treatment. In this episode, we see it more transparently than ever. As we watch him step foot into the bathroom where he first spat on himself, this time, he opts out of it, harnessing his confidence somewhere deep within instead of through self-loathing. He chooses to find the light and looks to the art of crafting. And Nick Mohammed is astounding in that scene as he allows his eyes to soften in the mirror, bringing to the surface something fascinating to explore.

Still, like with Sam’s father, it’s nice to meet Nate’s niece and sister. It’s nice to see the warmth in the Shelley household from someone other than his mother. His sister is just as amiable and lovely, and the episode even allows us to see that, like Nathan, his father was once shy too. They all know he’s the reason for much of the trauma, and even if they don’t say it aloud, it’s riveting to catch it come to light here. It’s also intriguing to witness this date with Jade, for real this time, and to understand that maybe she does really like him too?

Ted Lasso 3×07 “The Strings That Bind Us” is an exceptional episode thematically and for all characters involved. It reminds us why the show’s hard to part ways with and evokes the hope necessary for us to understand that our favorite characters are growing from their past blunders. While We don’t get much of Rebecca here as we did in “Sunflowers” or “Signs,” we have a clear picture during the dinner with Keeley that she’s more self-aware today than ever before. AFC Richmond is headed toward a win because the Lasso Way is that infectious, and it has been since day one, but, most notably, since “Trent Crimm, The Independent.” 

Ted Talks and Further Thoughts

  • The whole exercise of everyone behaving like someone else on the team murdered me. Will’s Beard call? Iconic!
  • I cannot believe that Sam’s dad knows about Rebecca. fjakldsfja!
  • The music in this episode!?!?!??! Why was it trying to hurt me, personally, in the best way!?!?
  • Trent Crimm continues to be a fashion icon, and I genuinely need my wardrobe to match his. Also, at this point, it’s inevitable that this book will actually be real, right? I can’t wait to cry.
  •  I can’t believe we got to see Ted Lasso and Sam’s dad shake hands!?!?!?! Y’all the way I cried!??! Continuity. I can’t.
  • Roy’s laugh at one point took me out. Straight up.
  • I miss the days when Van Damme was Zoreaux.
  • I promise I’ll do multiple scene breakdowns for this episode; you all only need to tell me what you’d like to see more of.

Now streaming on Apple TV Plus: What are your thoughts on Ted Lasso 3×07 “The Strings That Bind Us?” Let us know in the comments below.



  1. Amazing episode! Like a The Smiths song: Cheery, but also…a Smiths song!

    Loved the scene where Ted meets Ola. Also noticed the reference to the movie “The Great Escape” in that locker room shot.

  2. I don’t know how I found your site. I think it was for some recaps on Shadow and Bone, but I love the detailed analysis. of these episodes and makes me want to go back and watch them more! Cheers!

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