Ted Lasso ‘s Season 2 Episode 7 shows us that it’s ok to be imperfect, tackling the theme of self-care and preparing us for an epic episode next week.
Self-care can take many forms. In the broad sense of the word, we usually associate the term with our ability to look after ourselves, so that we can be healthy and well. But the need for self-care can manifest in many ways, from our mistaking a friend’s kindness for a desire to humiliate us to our inability to accept our weaknesses, to our refusal to admit that we might need help. Not much happens in Ted Lasso ‘s Season 2 Episode 7, narratively speaking, but there’s enough going on beneath the surface to enable us to delve into many important, timely themes, starting from how important it is to look after ourselves and one another.
The most obvious example is, of course, Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) himself, whom we left literally running away from his problems during last week’s FA Cup Quarter Finals, and who is still struggling to see the benefits of therapy – so much so that his sessions with Sharon (Sarah Niles) see him go through many stages, from fear to denial to anger and even unwitting rudeness about her profession. It’s not often we get to witness a realistic portrayal of a therapy session on television, and Ted’s many attempts at communicating with Sharon come very close to showing us how actual conversations between a psychologist and a patient might play out in real life, when someone first decides to seek help. And, though we don’t get to hear what exactly Ted and Sharon do talk about during their sessions (we don’t need to, after all), what we do learn is that, even though therapists get paid to listen to their patients, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care. In our day and age, many are the people who might be considering whether or not to approach a psychologist, and Ted Lasso breaks the stigma by showing us that there’s value in those sessions, and that there’s nothing weird or shameful about seeking professional help.
But Ted’s not the only character in need of a little self-care in Episode 7. Keeley (Juno Temple) and Roy‘s (Brett Goldstein) relationship has gotten to that all-too-familiar stage where one of the two partners has become a little too clingy, and the other is desperately striving for some alone time. Of course, Roy and Keeley also work together, since the former AFC Richmond Captain is now coaching the team, and that means even less opportunities to spend some time on one’s own for one of the two. Of course, it’s Ted Lasso we’re talking about, and the issue is approached with the usual irony and wit, and more than one surprisingly heartwarming scenes involving even more characters giving advice. But what’s even more remarkable is that the most important piece of advice comes in the most unexpected way, and another conflict is prevented by simply having the “needy, clingy, f***ing fridge magnet” understand that what they need to do is trust the other person.
But the most important example of a person in desperate need of self-care comes from Nate (Nick Mohammed), and it has been a long time coming. Since the beginning of Season 2, the coach has displayed contraddictory behaviour, behaving “a tad aggressively” at times only to ask for advice on how to be assertive at others. Last week’s episode showed us that Nate is more than capable of being as “great” as his nickname, as it’s his winning strategy, and his quick thinking, that led to AFC’s Richmond first victory in months, but that doesn’t mean that Nate has found a solution to all his problems. The issue with the coach is not just the inability to find that grey area between extremely assertive and overly insecure: having been subject to his parents’ judgement since he was little, and having been a victim of bullying for many years not only as a teenager, but also as an adult, Nate has learned, from a young age, that the only acceptable way to conduct himself was to do exactly what others expected from him, at all times, without ever stopping to really consider the matter of who he was, as a person. It has taken Nate nearly two seasons to acquire enough confidence to be able to take the spotlight and make decisions, but that doesn’t mean that his insecurities are gone, or his identity completely defined.
What we witness, in Episode 7, is Nate displaying either extremely polite or extremely “rude, personal and weird” behaviour, and that is because he doesn’t really know how to be confident yet, nor does he have the ability to decode the behaviour of others without being clouded by his own judgement. And so, Nate is aggressive and rude, then he apologises profusely, and then he lashes out on someone for no apparent reason, and that is because, when you think that everyone’s set out to humiliate you, you don’t have the tools to recognize kind and supportive behaviour. By showing us the long lasting effects of emotional neglect and bullying, Ted Lasso ‘s Season 2 Episode 7 opens our eyes to a kind of behaviour we might recognise either in ourselves or in others, and makes us understand what’s at the root of these dynamics. More than that, the series shows us, once again, that it’s ok to be a work in progress.
With only five episodes left to go, Ted Lasso ‘s Season 2 has given us a series of memorable, epic scenes and shown us many healthy dynamics and resolutions of conflicts, all while ensuring the growth of every single character in the series and preparing us for a Finale that promises to be just as remarkable as Season 1’s final episode. Bring on the FA Cup Semifinals next week!
Ted Lasso‘s Season 2 Episode 7 premiered on Apple TV+ on September 3, 2021.