This show continues to bring its A-game even when AFC Richmond isn’t fighting for promotion on the pitch. Ted Lasso 2×05 “Rainbow” pays homage to classic romantic comedies as it becomes one itself. It makes sense that one of the most famous comfort shows would eventually take such direct inspiration from one of the most comforting film genres.
“Rainbow” isn’t a filler episode that offers more fluff than substance. Instead, Ted Lasso uses it as a turning point for Rebecca, Nate, and Roy and the show’s themes. Ted’s speech about rom-communism speaks to the Greyhounds as a team and us as a warning of what’s to come. Things are about to take an even darker turn, but we can’t lose hope.
Ted Lasso knows what it’s doing because stories don’t begin or end in the dark forest.
Rebecca’s Got Mail
Rebecca takes on the “what she wants from love” portion of this romantic comedy. If anyone’s going to be skeptical of rom-communism, it’s Rebecca Welton. Roy Kent may think he has the monopoly on skepticism about the genre, but we all know the truth. Rebecca is reasonable to doubt a genre all about love and happy endings due to the cards life dealt her and the hand she played.
Without even knowing it, she falls right into a technologically modern twist of the classic rom-com You’ve Got Mail starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. It’s so fun to watch Hannah Waddingham play these different sides of Rebecca. They’ve always been there, as Sassy noted in “Make Rebecca Great Again.” Rebecca throwing her phone after she sends the message on banter is so silly and wonderful. Let Rebecca Welton be funny, happy, and in love!
As for said love, Rebecca’s in-person meet-cute doesn’t take place on “Rainbow.” Ted Lasso strings out that mystery a little longer but does give a few misleading hints. The text “No time for small talk. Only big talk” certainly sounds like something Ted would say. Then the camera cuts to Ted on his phone while Rebecca is giggling to herself on hers. If Ted Lasso commits to the romcom, my suspicions are correct to believe she is not messaging Ted.
What’s so great about this mystery is that I’m not clamoring to know who is on the other end of that chat, not yet, at least. I’m far more invested in Rebecca discovering what she wants in a relationship. Then, revealing who this person is will elicit a much larger reaction from her and us. It’s also relevant to consider that Ted Lasso is going into its dark forest. Rebecca’s match may not be exempt from that journey. But what an epic romance without a bit of drama?
Isaac’s Football Trap
Much like his role on Ted Lasso thus far, Isaac McAdoo is a supporting character in the romantic comedy “Rainbow.” Isaac’s storyline in this episode serves a larger purpose in redirecting Roy back to Richmond. That said, Kola Bokinni brings so much heart to his scenes that it’s impossible not to beam when Isaac finds his spark again. It’s lovely that his passion is reignited by a The Parent Trap-style ruse orchestrated by Ted and Roy. Even Isaac’s handshakes at the end of the episode give off The Parent Trap energy.
It’s also a shame that Isaac can’t be more of a focus in this episode because he’s so great. His comedic timing is fantastic. Bokinni makes even the smallest of moments hilarious, like Isaac hugging the Nespresso machine to his chest. The shock in Isaac’s eyes after non-professional players’ tricks immediately humble him on the pitch is fantastic. I also adore when Issac jumps behind Ted after Roy appears in the darkness behind the light of his phone. It’s hard to pick a favorite.
Ted says in Ted Lasso 2×01 “Goodbye Earl” that Sam is the one filling the Roy Kent-sized void on the team, which may be true in some regards. But Isaac is Richmond’s Captain now. His frustration isn’t entirely unfounded at the start of “Rainbow.” Isaac’s very passionate about Richmond’s success. So much so, he’ll throw a chair at a TV if it means crushing their opponents. The show poises Sam as a leader, and we see that to be true. What about Richmond’s captain, though?
It’s frustrating that Isaac doesn’t get nearly as much screentime as he should. Ted Lasso’s pacing with the Dubai Air storyline and Nate’s attitude is so well-done that it’s sad to watch them stumble a bit when it comes to Isaac. Maybe this will change as the season progresses. There are still plenty of episodes left. It’s not practical to imagine each Richmond player will have a substantial amount of screentime. It’s only that Ted Lasso has such an excellent ensemble that I want to see them all succeeding all the time.
Nate’s All That (But He Can’t See That)
“Rainbow” takes the often reductive makeover trope present in romcoms and makes it one that is never about Nate’s physical appearance. Instead, it addresses ways in which he can boost his confidence. It’s wonderful that Nate turns to the women of Ted Lasso for help. Keeley and Rebecca are an unbeatable duo, but even they can’t squash Nate’s self-doubts. Nate is facing some intense side effects of Imposters syndrome, and the small yet impactful hits he takes in this episode don’t make Roy’s presence any easier to process.
Ted laughing at Nate seeing himself as “a big dog” is far greater than Nate losing the window table and the Nespresso machine. All of them together shows how things can compound for someone. Nate may not always please his father, but he can come to Richmond and do an excellent job as a coach. Unfortunately, in mere seconds, Ted accidentally questions Nate’s leadership role.
Nate takes Rebecca’s advice, but it results in something a lot scarier than Rebecca’s hissing noises. The only way for Nate to make himself big is by belittling himself first. Nick Mohammed‘s performance, paired with Ted Lasso‘s always impressive score, makes this one of the most memorable moments from the season so far. Usually, romantic comedies end with the hero and heroines winning however they need to personally, professionally, or romantically. Nate’s story doesn’t get a bow on top of it by the end of “Rainbow.”
He gets the small win of the window table, but that is far from the end of this arc. Nate’s perspective lets us better understand his prior behavior, but it doesn’t excuse it. Hopefully, this story builds to an emotional payoff for Nate as he deserves to believe himself as Nate the Great. Additionally, it would be nice for this story to circle to the way Nate treats Will. Nate knows what it’s like to have the little things mount up, yet he continues to bully Will. It’s all cycle. It would be fulfilling to see Nate break it.
When Roy Met Football
There is no way to properly prepare for Roy Kent as the lead of his romantic comedy. However, Brett Goldstein is no stranger to the genre. (Seriously, you should most definitely watch SuperBob.) That experience comes across in every scene but especially the final minutes of “Rainbow.” Goldstein’s delivery of “Jeff, I have to go” is too perfect for words. And the greatness doesn’t stop there! Roy runs after his one true love (Keeley’s his soulmate, don’t worry) and doesn’t let anything stop him. Not even his bad knee.
The best part of this love story is that Ted provides Roy with a new way to adjust his relationship to the game, but it’s Roy who helps himself fall back in love with it. It’s Roy’s idea to take Isaac to the pitch where he lived. Roy’s speech to Isaac about loving the game hits Roy just as hard. Once again, Roy Kent is a romantic hero, no matter how hard he tries to avoid it. Ted may be the one who quotes When Harry Met Sally and Notting Hill to Roy, but it’s Roy that leaves everyone with that last epic line: “You had me at coach.”
Ted guides Roy to help Isaac, as any former coach (and paternal figure) would, but that’s where Ted’s intervention stops. It’s touching to see Roy turn to Ted and ask if what he tells Isaac is right, disbarring the copious amount of curse words Roy uses. Before Ted, Roy’s coach was George, and we all know how awful that man is. Roy’s heartfelt speech on SkySports carries extra weight because Ted taught Roy what a good coach could be. Ted assured Roy that he had the talent and heart for the job, just like he did when Roy was a player.
Roy’s rushed journey to Richmond’s stadium has rom-com greatness sprinkled throughout it. It has the perfect needle-drop of The Rolling Stone’s “She’s a Rainbow.” The rainbow rickshaw, the little boy smiling at Roy when he growls, the ticket being under the name ‘Reba McIntyre,’ and people only knowing who he is when he curses are great details. Nevertheless, my favorite detail is Roy giving away all of his money and watch (presumably the one his ex-girlfriend didn’t steal). Roy is willing to give up all of his possessions to make it back to the game he loves.
It’s all so great because it comes on the heels of Roy saying, “We can’t look them in the eyes and encourage them to be better than they ever thought they were capable of being.” Ted did that for Roy. He brought a spark back to Roy’s performance as an athlete and his life in general. Now, Roy Kent gets to that for Richmond as a coach. It’s safe to say “Rainbow” is on my list of favorite rom-coms now.
Other Winning Moments:
- “No, I gave you an indoor whistle.”
- The Greyhounds knowing rom-com stars off the tops of their heads is something so personal to me.
- Dani’s banana shirt
- Dani’s mom saying he was born caffeinated
- I did a classic Ted spit take when Higgins name-dropped Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds as the new owners of Wrexham AFC.
- “I suppose the best brand is just being yourself.” – Higgins
- Nate hugging Keeley’s pillows is a nice callback, unintentional or otherwise, to Keeley making Roy hug her pillows at her house last season.
- Rebecca casually mentioning she’d buy the restaurant to get Nate his table
- The pronunciation of “gifs” callback
- “You are who you are because of who you are” – Keeley Jones
- I screamed when Juno Temple and Nick Mohammed said my name as a fumble on Shelley.
- Jade saying she’s picky and Nate saying that he is too is some great follow-through from the previous episodes.
- That scene of Ted feeling “Under Pressure” from the trailer is in this episode, and it’s even better in context.
- Keeley wears a pink leopard print top at the end of the episode, and she has a pink leopard statue in her office. I LOVE HER.
- The way the song “Rainbow” gets the verse including “dressed in blue” for the camera to find Higgins’ wife, his rainbow, dressed in blue
- I love every time Beard gets a little fed up with Ted’s jokes.
- The soundtrack of this episode is the soundtrack of a romantic comedy. I love it here.
What did you think of Ted Lasso 2×05, “Rainbow?” Let us know in the comments below!
New episodes of Ted Lasso stream Fridays on Apple TV+!