Ted Lasso 3×12 “So Long, Farewell” Spoilers Ahead
Note from Marvelous Geeks’ Team: With the ongoing WGA strike, it’s imperative that we state we stand in solidarity with all writers asking for better wages and the respect they deserve in this industry. No story comes to fruition without the idea born and nurtured inside a writer’s head. Writers are the beating hearts of everything we love — we stand with and for them.
There’s plenty to appreciate in Ted Lasso Season 3, Episode 12, “So Long, Farewell,” but unfortunately, the episode doesn’t honor romance as it should. For a series that brilliantly understands romantic comedies (one that’s featured some of the best scenes in TV history), this finale leaves far more to be desired and a lot dangling in front of its audience in a heartbreaking manner. The show is, and has continuously been, a love letter to humanity and the idea of found families. But romantic relationships also fall under this umbrella, and it sadly leaves too much to the imagination, with the one happy ending occurring for the show’s most toxic relationship. (Sorry, Beard and Jane, but this relationship is the polar opposite of how a romance should be.) While it effectively passes the baton with potential spin-offs and celebrates AFC Richmond, the development that presumably occurred off-screen is everything viewers should’ve seen for a more fleshed-out, thoroughly satisfying finale.
An entire series could never fully satisfy every fan or critic. Perfection is subjective—it’s always been and always will be. Still, there are ample ways to deliver narratives that feel earned, even if they aren’t what people expect or want to see. Ted Lasso’s Season 3 finale indeed honors the promises from its trailer by delivering stories that aren’t what we want but, in some ways, precisely what’s necessary. The show is special, and it’ll perpetually be; because often, when a series finale gravely subverts expectations, it leaves the kind of sour taste in my mouth where I never want to revisit it. That’s not the case with Ted Lasso because, come what may, despite how broken I feel, it’s ceaselessly going to be my comfort show.
So Long, Farewell
Contrary to what Ted tells Trent Crimm about the title of his book—it was about him. As a character, Ted Lasso has singlehandedly inspired every character and viewer. While I adore the idea of The Richmond Way (and need my copy, pronto), it’s imperative to celebrate the character’s importance in this series. What I don’t want to do is view him as some form of Mary Poppins because, unlike Julie Andrews’ iconic character, Ted feels more real and grounded. While he didn’t always fit in, he felt at home—as we did, experiencing much of the show’s narratives through his outlook. Ted Lasso represents how so many people can be, and the detail that he leaves everything behind stings a little. (A lot.)
As a kid whose father died when she was a teen, I would do anything to hear his voice at least once. I would do anything to have him back in my life. And while I can’t speak on what it’s like to be a parent away from her kid, I can talk about the fact that it could’ve been possible for Ted to do both in this universe. Rebecca has all the money in the world and would’ve paid for more frequent trips back home. Further, and perhaps more so, while Ted’s introspection throughout the entirety of Season 3 is palpable, it would’ve been far more beneficial to hear some of the words uttered aloud more. We barely get enough of him in the back half of the season, questioning why he’s still in London. It’s also heartbreaking that we don’t even see him say the words audibly to Rebecca after the events of “Mom City.” Like much of this season, there’s too much left to the imagination, relying on astounding performers to convey what we’re missing on screen. While they succeed, words still matter significantly.
Where is Ted going to live? Is he going to get back together with Michelle? Are they merely going to co-parent and be friends? Will he still occasionally visit London? Why on earth wasn’t he at Beard’s wedding, unless this truly was a dream sequence, as fans are predicting? Perhaps we’re wrong in reading the tone, but these goodbyes feel permanent, and while nothing lasts forever, it’s difficult to imagine how it can’t be a “see you later” instead. If he and Rebecca are platonic soul mates, are we to believe that they’ll never speak again? She could’ve had him on FaceTime while Keeley came into the room with the new proposal. Furthermore, and more importantly, he could’ve been at Beard’s wedding. Instead, time remains a conundrum, and this goodbye feels lifelong, which is where much of my heartbreak is coming from.
What Happens to Keeley, Roy, and Jamie?
In its first and second seasons, Ted Lasso phenomenally subverts expectations with the love triangle trope, pushing forward a thoughtful story about redemption. It focuses on what a partnership should look like and how romance is about people bringing out the best in each other. In separating Keeley and Jamie, the series gives him some of the finest character development in any show’s chronicle, accurately mapping out what it looks like for the broken, presumably selfish kid to learn how to become a team player.
While Season 3 leaves some arcs to the imagination, Jamie’s voyage is clear as day and as close to perfect as it gets. That is until Ted Lasso 3×12 “So Long, Farewell” when he drops the bombshell that he’s still not over Keeley. And while we’re all rightfully in love with Keeley Jones as human sunshine, it undermines so much of the work he and Roy have done as friends, as well as everything that’s happened with Keeley. Bringing up the video again and telling Roy it was initially filmed for him leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The opposite of the initial locker room conversation, as it undermines her agency. And while we can argue that it showcases his imperfections as a human being, it feels almost callous in a way I would’ve expected from the older Jamie. Moreover, the two of them marching to her house to have her choose feels strangely childish.
Ambiguous endings are acceptable to a degree because they allow viewers to offer their own interpretation. However, for a show that markets rom-communism as proudly as Ted Lasso does, Roy and Keeley deserved an unequivocal second chance at love. The depiction of the grump and sunshine trope glistens brilliantly with them, and while I adore that the montage shows each of them in a touching place that aligns astoundingly with their arcs (Keeley/PR, Roy/Therapy, Jamie/His Father), it’s nonetheless lamentable to know that the romance isn’t at the forefront because it’s a valuable part of our day to day lives. And since day one, Ted Lasso’s most significant appeal has been its mastery to take the seemingly ordinary and establish why there’s weight and nuance in its inclusion in our lives. Phoebe could’ve also used a healthy relationship in her corner to understand that, in some cases, love does last.
Nathan Shelley’s Great Return
Nate’s arc during the entire season is a remarkable gem for a redemption story—all the comparisons to Star Wars make his journey a rife, exciting treat, making every moment feel worthwhile and earned. Yet, with that said, like much of this season, there are countless scenes I would’ve loved to see with my own eyes instead of hearing about them. While I’m thankful beyond grasp that we get to see him apologize to Ted as well as his new ceremony, one last confrontation with Rupert would’ve also been excellent.
Still, to focus on the positive of it all, Jason Sudeikis and Nick Mohammed astonished me during their conversation. How Mohammed makes Nate feel so small and apologetic is a testament to his skillsets that deserve prodigious praise. Much of what works here boils down to the detail that Ted had forgiven Nate long before an apology was made. It’s a stark exhibition of his character, and Nate’s as well, because his tearful apology embodies his guilt acutely. It’s why so much of it feels earned despite the scenes I wish we could see. The two of them, looking up at where the sign used to be and Ted using Nate as a signal to the team, is top-notch storytelling.
To Win the Whole F—king Thing
While Ted Lasso 3×12 “So Long, Farewell” leaves much to be desired, how it handles AFC Richmond’s win (at second place) is also nearly perfect. There are scenes where words will never do justice—scenes that no other show could master as brilliantly, and one of them is each player taking a piece of the torn-up BELIEVE sign that they’ve kept and putting it back together like a puzzle. It’s the best kind of cliche because it embodies sentimentalism in a beautifully wholesome way. It’s proof of the fact that from their very first loss, clinging to one another as a family has been their greatest asset.
To properly interpret this arc, we simply need to look at the show’s theme song and a single lyric: “And when everybody’s telling us we have no time, we’ll prove ’em wrong.” Ted Lasso has been an underdog story from day one—a tale accurate to every David and Goliath adaptation in history. And it’s been perfect. This thought isn’t subjective—this is the truth—if I do say so myself because this team’s fight has felt personal from beginning to end. It’s been our fight right alongside them.
Human beings might not be perfect, but the work AFC Richmond has done is. Because, as Beard lists, they’ve done the best they could—they’ve asked for help when they’ve needed it; they’ve worked tirelessly; and their imperfections as human beings makes their journey an immaculate showcase of what genuine unity can accomplish.
Rebecca Welton’s Second Chance
If any arc during Ted Lasso 3×12 “So Long, Farewell” frustrates me the most, it’s Rebecca Welton’s. From the moment the woman uttered the words, “I don’t want to be alone,“ she became my favorite character on the show—the one I related most to. The one whose journey mattered so much to me that thinking of it could make me cry on the spot. And yet everything we get with the Dutchman shatters me.
For those who don’t know, I have a novel coming out soon—To The Skyline, a second-chance romance that follows a similar path. However, instead of a single day, it’s sixteen days, then years later. (Spoiler alert?) The appeal to stories like this is unmatched, which is exactly why I chose to write one myself after reading so many incredible versions of it. Yet in Ted Lasso, much of it falls flat in “Sunflowers” because the Dutchman, whose name is only ever revealed in the credits, doesn’t feel trustworthy. In fact, I was thoroughly creeped out. Still, I could’ve understood the route if Rebecca had at least talked about him to someone else on screen. She could’ve told Keeley that he made her feel like she’d been struck by lightning, echoing Roy’s words and signaling to the viewers that maybe this was more than a one-day debacle. We could’ve seen the longing for him go beyond softer colors—instead, opening up the episode with Ted walking into her kitchen while she’s in a robe, throws a cruel bone to TedBecca shippers, then snatches it right back up with the indication that nothing’s happened.
It’s completely fine if TedBecca isn’t the route we were meant to go down, and despite my initial concerns about the age difference and power imbalance, Rebecca getting back with Sam would’ve made far more sense than the Dutchman. It would at least bring a follow-up to the matchbook and toy soldier blocked in front of the biscuit box. It’s at least the kind of relationship I can look back on and catch planted seeds for. Rebecca and the Dutchman feels contrived to honor a romance that we have no basis to fall on or trust besides the one episode that leaves very little room for trust.
However, as the youths say, no notes on Hannah Waddingham’s performances. For three seasons, Waddingham has been the kind of star whose work is truly and undeniably faultless. She is, in every way, unparalleled. No one could make me cry as hard or laugh as much. No one can break my heart with a single look and then stitch it back together. The amount of vulnerability she now shows and how far Rebecca has come as a character is a rarity I’m not sure we’ll ever get on television. There’s beauty in the detail that she keeps shares of the club, and there’s an astounding warmth in how determined she is to fight for Ted to stay—the loyalty we see in her is the culmination of effortlessly brilliant development.
Ted Lasso 3×12 “So Long, Farewell” offers many winning moments amidst the losses we experience as viewers. It’s not perfect, but it nails why kindness matters to the very end. It takes a single character and propels him toward understanding his own demons to become a better coach, and then it allows his growth to be the inspiration for other characters. It elaborates on the importance of leading with love by observing our curiosity and sidestepping our judgments. I have a lot of feelings I’m not quite sure how to cope with it yet, but I’ve had the time of my life with this show, and for that, I’m walking away with gratitude. One of these days, I’ll write about how “onward; forward” means the world to me, and we’ll go from there.
Ted Talks and Further Thoughts
- COLIN KISSED HIS FELLA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know how to write this more eloquently because I just want to scream. Goodness, my heart squeezed in the best way.
- Sam and Nigeria!!!!!!!
- Jamie and his dad really broke my heart, but more in a good way.
- I just – I will never be over Beard and Jane having the happy ending. What message are we sending here? Someone, please explain it to me like I’m 4. Five won’t cut it.
- The music in this episode!? Aces.
- Where do I get Trent’s book!?!?!? We have to get that right!? I need it on my coffee table. It’s not a want, guys, it’s a need. I need it.
- TED DOING THE DANCE. I CRIED.
- But also, can we talk about the fact that Rupert might be more terrifying than Palpatine!?!?!? I just—Anthony Head is too good.
- ROY KNOWING THE LYRICS TO SO LONG, FAREWELL HAS ME IN FITS. I LOVE ONE GRUMPY MAN. Roy going to therapy? I’m so proud.
- I also want the snow globe. Will WB sell it?
- YAY FOR MAE and THE BOYS.
- If there are any scene breakdowns you’d like from me, please let me know.
Now streaming on Apple TV Plus: What are your thoughts on Ted Lasso 3×12 “So Long, Farewell?” Let us know in the comments below.