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Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 9 Review: Beard in Lassoland

Appropriately titled “Beard After Hours,” Ted Lasso ‘s Season 2 Episode 9 deviates from the show’s visual and narrative style, in a standalone episode that risks alienating fans of the series.

When talking about Ted Lasso, I’m always careful not to use the words “filler episode,” as even the most apparently trivial events usually have a reason to be there: in the past, they’ve either contributed to character development or made the series’ most surprising twists all the more meaningful. And yet, a filler episode is exactly what Episode 9 is, as it delivers exactly what its title promises: a standalone episode that pays homage to Martin Scorsese’s After Hours, following Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) as he falls down a metaphorical rabbit hole and embarks on a quest through the streets of London at night, accompanied by familiar faces and ghosts from his past.

Of course, all this is meant to let us know that Beard isn’t ok, but we already knew this, if we’ve been paying attention to the rest of the series. Sure, “Beard After Hours” is certainly interesting enough not only on a symbolic level, as it offers insight into a character that has been relegated to the sidelines for most of the series, but also for a visual style that combines psychedelic, hallucinatory sequences with a noir-like atmosphere, as well as an effective score that makes it the most quintessentially British Ted Lasso episode to date. At the same time, Beard’s wild goose chase in “lassoland” often verges on absurdism, and this not only gives us an episode that deviates from the show’s style to such extent that we don’t even recognise it anymore, but it also prevents us from learning about what’s been happening to Ted in the meantime. Which makes for an incredibly frustrating watch, even more so considering that last week’s episode gave us one of the most shocking, well-crafted cliffhangers in the history of the series.

Episode 9 is an interesting exercise in style that has much to offer on a technical point of view, but that gives little to no insight in terms of narrative and character development. Which is quite possibly the direct consequence of Apple’s decision to make Season 2 longer than the first by adding two more episodes to the series. The much-discussed Christmas episode, “Carol of the Bells,” was one of those additional episodes, but it succeeded because it never strayed from the show’s main narrative and kept its focus on the characters we’ve come to love, ensuring their growth throughout. Unfortunately, Episode 9 gives us none of those things, opting instead for a 45-minutes long journey that is as immediately forgettable as it is frustrating. Here’s hoping that Episode 10 returns to the familiar format we’ve come to love, and answers some of our most pressing questions about the show’s titular character.

Watch on Apple TV

Ted Lasso‘s Season 2 Episode 9 premieres on Apple TV+ on September 17, 2021.

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