‘Ted Lasso’ Season 2 Premiere: Football Is…Death?! (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Ted Lasso Season 2, Episode 1, “Goodbye, Earl.”]
Poor Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernandez).
In Richmond’s latest streak of bad luck, the team can’t stop tying games—hey, at least they’re not losing!—but that’s not the worst thing that happens on the field in the season premiere. An unfortunate event leaves the unflappably optimistic Dani Rojas utterly traumatized and suffering from “the yips,” and Ted (Jason Sudeikis) and his fellow coaching staff must call in a sports psychologist to help Dani get back in the game. Meanwhile, Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) is back on the dating scene, and Roy (Brett Goldstein) contemplates a career shift. At times, the episode is a little uneven—and for a show that’s known for injecting humor and lightheartedness into our lives during the darkest days of quarantine, there’s a twist that’s uncharacteristically upsetting—but by the end credits, the jokes are landing again and several major storylines seem to be setting up. Here’s how it happens.
In the final minutes of Richmond’s match, Dani Rojas takes a penalty kick that seems destined to break that streak of ties. Problem is, at the exact moment Dani kicks, Richmond’s greyhound mascot, Earl, spots a pigeon and takes off after it…right in front of the goal. Dani doesn’t see him, the dog’s handler can’t catch him—you see where this is going. The ball and Earl collide. Goodbye, Earl.
This is worse for Richmond than simply generating some negative publicity on Twitter. Dani becomes convinced that “football is death.” He’s unable to perform the most basic of soccer-related actions (it’s great to see Dani getting an expanded storyline, though!); thus, although Ted possesses a “healthy Midwestern skepticism” regarding therapy and has bad memories from attending marriage counseling with his ex-wife, the decision is made to bring in sports psychologist Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles) to help sweet Dani get back on the field.
Roy’s Retirement and Rebecca’s Love Life
Elsewhere, Rebecca is dating again. She’s met a decent guy (who loves to tell long-winded stories about the famous people he’s met), but despite her efforts to convince herself otherwise, something’s just not clicking. After a disastrous double date with lovebirds Roy and Keely (Juno Temple), she breaks up with her new flame in search of someone she feels more passionately about.
Speaking of Roy, he’s retired and is now coaching youth girls’ soccer. (But being Roy, he calls them “little pr—ks” when they lose a game. It’s fine: The kids don’t care, and his niece keeps a “tab” of all the times he swears around her. He owes her more than a thousand pounds.) That’s not Keely’s first choice for him. She has a gig lined up for him as a pundit, which he, in an expletive-laden rant, says he’ll never accept. Later, Keely apologizes for pushing him on the subject, and he joins his yoga wine moms from Season 1 to watch a Love Island-esque reality show. Which brings him face to, er, TV screen with his former teammate and rival Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster). Obviously, Roy needs a little extra wine to deal with that.
Meet Doctor Fieldstone
The doctor is in—and Ted’s not sure how to deal with her no-nonsense attitude. Sharon has no patience for Ted and the coaching staff’s “welcome dance” and accompanying catchy ditty (“It’s nice to meet you! It’s nice to meet you! Consider this song our way to greet you!”) and, unlike the rest of them, she uses the term yips without a second’s hesitation. She moves into Higgins’ (Jeremy Swift) office, which leaves him hilariously lacking a home base, but she does perform her job extremely well. Within a day, Dani is back on the field and chanting “Nanananana, Dani Rojas! Dani, Dani, Dani Rooooojas!”
Later, Ted asks what Sharon said that helped so dramatically. “Football is life, but football is also death,” Dani explains, “and football is also football.” He grins, adding, “But mostly, football is life!” It’s a miraculous turnaround that inspires several other players to step into Sharon’s office—and will likely set up a larger theme about mental health and therapy that’ll run throughout the rest of the season.
Ted Lasso, Season 2, Fridays, Apple TV+