(This story contains spoilers for “International Break,” the 10th episode of Ted Lasso season three.)
ted lasso’The title character is largely off screen in this episode, which dispersed several AFC Richmond players for being fit for their national teams, leaving them at home with less to do at Nelson Road than a normal week during the club season. The show has successfully shifted focus away from Ted and the club in the past, but “International Break” felt a bit disjointed.
Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) getting a new degree of closure with Rupert played well, and the seemingly inevitable reunion between Roy (Brett Goldstein) and Keeley (Juno Temple) also had its moments. Nate’s (Nick Mohammed) story, on the other hand, still feels like it’s missing beats, while Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) suffers another setback.
Taking each of the plot threads individually:
Rebecca reluctantly accepts an invitation from Rupert (Anthony Head) to join other team owners at a meeting where Edwin Akufo (a returning Sam Richardson) forms a super league of top clubs, which would seriously strain the sport’s middle class – where Richmond absolutely wants to go. belongs, one season away from relegation – and fans in the name of bigger wins for the Manchester City’s and West Hams of this world.
Rebecca suspects she’s there so the people around Edwin won’t be exclusively old white men, and it seems she’s right. While Edwin pleads his case and some of the other owners seem receptive, she sees them as little boys hoarding their toys (similar to how she saw her younger self in the mirror trying to pull herself together for seeing Rupert). She then gives a speech that encapsulates most of the sentiment that tore apart the real European superleague proposal two years ago (although most of it came from supporters and others outside the 12 clubs initially involved in the scheme).
Noting that football (and sports in general) can give people highs and lows that they otherwise wouldn’t experience, she says: “I don’t want to be a part of anything that could destroy this wonderful game. I would hate it if all those little kids and adults ever lost access to that beautiful, passionate part of themselves.
Her speech apparently works, as the next scene shows Akufo walking out of the meeting room and the club owners with the food Edwin provided over their faces and clothes. She and Rupert share a laugh and a moment of friendliness – until he leans in to kiss her. His misinterpretation of the moment gives Rebecca even more clarity about her feelings for him. As she tells Ted (Jason Sudieikis, in one of the few scenes in which he appears) at the end of the episode, “I’ve realized I don’t care if I beat Rupert anymore. I still want to win, but for all of us – for Richmond.
Kelly and Roy
Walking to work, Keeley learns that Jack’s venture capital firm has raised funding for KJPR and is closing in two days. The news understandably sends Keeley into a spiral, as she’s now lost both her newest love interest and her company. A text from Jack claims she couldn’t help the company’s board getting the funding, but it’s no consolation (and doesn’t even have to be true). She ends up in Mae’s pub and gets some barstool wisdom from the owner, then buys Barbara (Katy Wix) a snow globe to remember this stop and heads back home, where Roy tries to slip a note under her door.
Roy has been on a journey of his own, starting with his niece Phoebe (the delightful Elodie Blomfield) and her mother, Roy’s sister (Sofia Barclay), throwing him an “uncle’s day” party. (Some Lassoheads correctly tabbed the character of Barclay, an ER doctor, as Roy’s sister when she first appeared in last season’s episode “Man City,” though it wasn’t explicitly stated.) Phoebe also invites Jamie (Phil Dunster ) out, believing him to be Roy’s best friend – and given the available evidence (he talks about Jamie a lot, they spend time together every day), she has a solid case.
Jamie gives Roy his kit from when he first represented England at the World Cup, and Roy is genuinely moved despite himself. Meanwhile, Phoebe gives Roy a tie-dyed T-shirt that he wears to Nelson Road, leading to raised eyebrows and giggles among the Richmond staff. He throws it on the floor, thinks again, picks it up again and carries it to drop Phoebe off to school, only to run into Mrs. Bowen (Ruth Bradley), the teacher with whom he had a few flirty ( but platonic) hours spent. She mentions that he looks less “stuck” than when she last saw him and jokes that as a teacher of young children, she doesn’t mind cleaning up messes. The words “stuck” and “mess” cause something to click in Roy’s mind, and he spends the team’s waiting party for Jamie’s England debut composing the note he delivers to Keeley’s house.
When they meet, she can’t read his gruesome handwriting, so he reads it to her: “There’s something I want you to know: You never did anything wrong. I was it all. I was stuck in my own shit, and I didn’t want to hurt you, so I backed off. But you are and always will be Keeley Fucking Jones. And if I ever did anything that made you feel like it wasn’t true, I’m so sorry. I love you. Sincerely, Roy Kent xoxo”
When Rebecca comes over later, she offers to fund Keeley’s firm (whatever Jack’s firm gave her, apparently wasn’t that much), and as she tells Keeley about Rupert and Keeley, she exclaims, “Emotional vessel to do such a stupid thing, as to rekindle things with Rupert, Roy enters and dons Keeley’s robe. It doesn’t seem like the show wants to make an explicit parallel between Keeley’s words and what Rebecca sees, but it doesn’t. not seem like that. Roy seems really willing to accept some things in his life, and that’s a good place for him and Keeley to reboot, but Keeley is also facing some big changes in her own world, so the neatly bound rom-com arc may need to wait.
The Wonder Kid is out as West Ham manager, and no one seems to know why. He tells Jade (Edyta Budnik), before she goes to Poland to visit relatives, that he has quit; Trent (James Lance) says he’s heard rumors of inappropriate behavior in the workplace; and Rupert tells Rebecca that Nate just wasn’t ready for the big time. But it’s a big jump from “being uncomfortable with cheating on my girlfriend on a lads night with the team owner” to resigning/being sacked from a job where he had West Ham second in the Premier League.
While the press camps outside his flat, Nate sneaks over to his parents’ house to recover and picks up the fiddle he apparently used to play (quite well). He is startled by his father, Lloyd (Peter Landi), standing in his doorway, and they briefly argue about how Lloyd used to attack Nate for “wasting (his) potential.”
“I didn’t know how to raise a genius. … You’re brilliant, boy,’ says Lloyd, admitting that he put pressure on everything because he thought it was both what he needed to do and what Nate wanted, but basically he just wants Nate to be happy. That’s nice to hear, but it can’t be more than a first step to mending a years-long troubled father-son relationship. The time off and candor with his father also apparently leads Nate to apologize to Will (Charlie Hiscock) for the way he treated the Richmond equipment man. Again, nice, but Will isn’t the only one in Richmond who deserves an apology from Nate.
Despite a great game lately (or so we are told in the voiceover), Sam is not selected for the Nigerian national team. And when he arrives at Ola, he finds the place empty. Both things can be attributed to Akufo, who has apparently decided to hold a tiny grudge against Sam after the player turned down Akufo’s offer to join his club in season two. The tantrum Akufo then threw was played for comedy, but he apparently meant it and is out to ruin Sam’s life. Sam has had a lot of bad luck this season, but at least Jamie wore number 24 for his England game in honor of his teammate and he got into an awkward interaction with Rebecca.