‘Man City’ Is ‘Ted Lasso’ at Its Darkest and Most Heartbreaking (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 7, “Man City.”]
Up until this point, Ted Lasso had been a largely sunshine-y show. Sure, the clouds rolled in. Relegations happened. Divorces and a**hole ex-spouses happened. Streaks of ties happened. But there was a sense that, in true Lasso spirit, there was nothing the team couldn’t weather together.
In the Season 2 episode “Man City,” that’s not necessarily true — and the stunning, upsetting surprises begin as early as the opening credits. After a phone appointment with her therapist, Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles) is hit by a car while riding her bicycle to work. (The tone for the episode is truly set when it cuts from Dr. Fieldstone’s blood to the cheery Ted Lasso theme). From there, the disappointments start coming and don’t stop…but there are a few rays of light peeking through the clouds.
After Sharon’s accident, Ted (Jason Sudeikis) goes to the hospital. The experience bonds them a bit—he plays some of the many voice notes she left him when she was on pain medication, which involve both her telling him he’s “too scared to properly emote” and her singing both the parts of Tony and Maria from West Side Story. Ted takes care of her and checks in on her throughout the night, which she appreciates.
Meanwhile, Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) has decided to take charge and ask his Bantr match to meet. After getting an elaborate haircut from Isaac (Kola Bokinni), he gets into a spiffy suit and heads to a fancy restaurant… and he meets Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) there. Of course, neither of them know they are there to meet each other. But gradually, the truth dawns on them, and Rebecca is horrified. Sam talks her down, saying they can still have dinner as friends. They laugh and talk for hours. By the end, he takes her home and there’s a sense they both want more than friendship, but neither is sure how to ask the other for that… until they kiss, and it’s safe to say things have gotten very, very complicated.
On the competitive football side of things, the episode is titled “Man City” because that’s who the team is playing next. They’ve made it to the FA Cup Semifinals, played at Wembley Stadium, and Jamie (Phil Dunster) asks Higgins (Jeremy Swift) to give his dad (Kieran O’Brien) tickets so he and his friends will get off his back about it. Jamie’s clearly not close with his father — remember how his dad screamed and threw a shoe at him after the final game in Season 1, when Jamie passed instead of going for the goal himself? — but Higgins encourages him to love his dad for who he is, not who he isn’t. Sage advice it might be, but not in Jamie’s situation.
Before the match, Ted is honest with the coaching staff. He tells them about his anxiety attack, and that he is working on it, but he just wanted them to know the truth. (This kicks off a hilarious scene where they all “confess something,” from Higgins accidentally messing up the time zones on a transfer deadline, to Roy (Brett Goldstein) not reading the scouting reports, to Beard (Brendan Hunt) being on mushrooms for one of the team’s matches).
Well, perhaps predictably, Richmond gets absolutely trampled by Man City. They don’t score a single goal the whole game. Trouble is brewing among the coaching staff; Beard seems angry with Ted when he says of the team’s disappointing showing, “It is what it is,” and he says he’s not going to ride back with the team.
But that’s not the half of it.
As the team stands in the locker room, Jamie’s father, dressed in a Tartt Man City kit from Jamie’s time there, barges in. He’s very drunk, and very belligerent, and he verbally abuses his son in front of the whole team — calling him a “p***y,” saying he’s playing with a “bunch of amateurs,” mocking him for doing a reality TV show — and at the end of all of that, he still wants Jamie to get him VIP access so he can walk around the pitch at Wembley. Jamie punches him in the face, then Beard forcibly drags the guy from the locker room, all while he continues to rant. In the aftermath, one could hear a pin drop in the locker room. Jamie breaks down in tears, and Roy (Roy! The very same Roy who despised Jamie in Season 1!) comforts him.
After witnessing all of this, a visibly shaken Ted flees and calls Sharon. She thanks him for the new bicycle and apologizes for the lost game, but Ted doesn’t speak for a while. When he finally does, he says, “My father killed himself when I was 16. That happened to me, and to my mom. And look, I don’t know if that’s where some of my issues stem from, but it would make sense.” He says he doesn’t want to talk about it then, but he wanted her to know. “Thank you for telling me, Ted,” she says. “Please call if you need me.”
Thankfully, the episode ends on a happy note. As Rebecca watches coverage of the game that evening, her doorbell rings. It’s Sam! He kisses her, and she kisses him, and it seems they’re going to give their connection a real chance.
Ted Lasso, Fridays, Apple TV+