Ted Lasso 3×05, “Signs,” has earned twists and surprising turns that encourage a renewed belief that the characters — and AFC Richmond — will win the whole fucking thing. However, its uneven execution undercuts the episode’s ability to relay that message successfully throughout its ensemble. While Ted, Rebecca, Nate, and Jamie’s narratives are majorly cohesive and constructive, “Signs” falls short with Keeley, Roy (and any hints of a reconciliation between the two), and Ted Lasso‘s newcomer, Shandy.
Even then, Ted Lasso utilizes tried and true strengths to the benefit of “Signs.”
The cast’s synergy maintains the ensemble scenes’ greatness. Beard and Roy’s coaching dynamic is genuinely funny and speaks volumes for the future of AFC Richmond. “Signs” also solidifies that having Trent Crimm around more is one of Ted Lasso‘s best moves because James Lance is fantastic. Trent’s insights and interest (and rainbow mug that reads “Let the good times roll”) make him a seamless addition to the club’s ecosystem.
Jamie Believes in Believe for Everyone
Alternatively, “Signs” sees the end of Zava’s stint with the Greyhounds, which isn’t surprising or rewarding. The writing is on the wall about Zava’s purpose from his arrival in Ted Lasso 3×02, “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea.” Zava will boost the team until he leaves a few wins and chaos in his wake, just as Higgins warned. His quiet and strange exit aligns with Zava’s characterization. Furthermore, its occurrence in the fifth episode of a 12-episode season bodes well for the remaining episodes — and Jamie’s role in them.
Ted’s rallying words at the end of “Signs” comes from a personal place, as his speeches often do. They work in conversation with the show’s final season as Ted deconstructs the Believe sign in favor of that message living on in all the characters — and the people who watch Ted Lasso. It’s meta and fantastic, and its sentiment will likely resonate with viewers.
One of the sequence’s standout beats is Ted’s inclusion of Jamie, which speaks to the former’s acknowledgment of the latter’s growth and belief in the team when everyone else falters amid Zava’s run and in the wake of his departure. Correspondingly, “Signs” sees Jamie’s wholehearted support of the Greyhounds when Zava echoes Jamie’s call to action in the face of their match against Manchester City. It continues from Jamie’s efforts to remind his team that all the noise is “poop-eh” in Ted Lasso 3×01, “Smells Like Mean Spirit.”
However, it is strange that “Signs” doesn’t spend more time unpacking what a match against Man City means for Jamie since “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” does so for Roy and Ted Lasso 3×04, “Big Week,” does for Nate. Thankfully, Ted throws in that AFC Richmond will face them again later in the season. Surely, there will be some follow-up post-Ted Lasso 2×08, “Man City,” especially considering all the work Jamie is doing.
For example, the parting detail that Jamie and Roy will continue their 4 am (the most vulnerable time to confront someone, per Roy) workouts is loaded with intention. “Signs” knows that Jamie isn’t only working for the team to be better but for himself, too. Jamie turned that “Me” into a “We,” as Ted told him in Season 1. Still, Jamie believes he can be better, regardless of what he does or doesn’t achieve. Knowing Jamie’s history with his abusive father, that gradual and non-linear unconditional belief in himself is fundamental.
Nate’s Window Seat of Transparency
Like Jamie’s arc’s continuity, “Signs” crafts another chapter of Nate at A Taste of Athens, and this one inspires a level of authenticity and transparency that harks back to Nate the Great. However, the scenes don’t resolve Nate’s complicated relationship with the restaurant. Instead, it lands as a bridge between Nate’s time with AFC Richmond and his current era at West Ham. After all, Nate enacts his self-hating methods to boost his confidence in the restaurant’s bathroom in Ted Lasso 2×05, “Rainbow.”
His experiences at A Taste of Athens since have been strained between who Nate is and who he thinks he needs to be, and the development of Nate and Jade’s dynamic works in tandem with that recognition. The viability of any romantic relationship between the two characters is unknown, but it speaks volumes that Jade responds to Nate’s genuine confidence in himself and his feelings. Even with Anastasia, Nate never folds on what matters to him or forces himself to believe any different, which is a significant step.
“Signs” instills confidence that all hope in Nate isn’t for nothing; This character is evolving for the better. Ted Lasso couldn’t have found anyone better than Nick Mohammed to portray those nuances.
Keeley Jones May Need Some (KJ)PR
Jamie and Nate’s series-long progress makes it frustrating that Ted Lasso‘s final season still needs to paint a clearer picture of Keeley’s trajectory.
Keeley only begins to find her footing with KJPR after incorporating Shandy, whose presence parallels Zava’s for the team. However, Shandy’s exit starkly contrasts Zava’s in an almost jarring way, which may be intentional. However, that disconnect undercuts the intended comedic bits in Shandy’s departure, including the lamb. Also, it’s frustrating that “Signs” sees Keeley make an executive decision to better her business, only to make another one that could damage it by hooking up with Jack Danvers — KJPR’s investor.
The dynamic between Keeley and Jack isn’t a 1-to-1 comparison to Rebecca and Sam’s disastrous relationship last season. After all, Ted Lasso still needs to define the parameters of this new relationship between the two women. But, while it’s exciting to get the canon confirmation that Keeley Jones is not straight after subtle (and some not-so-subtle) hints over the seasons, it veers close to Ted Lasso exploring yet another inappropriate power dynamic because Keeley works under Jack’s financial umbrella. This storyline would be okay if Keeley and Jack existed in different circumstances.
Moreover, it would be less of a concern if Ted Lasso Season 3 showed any effort to unravel the implications of Rebecca and Sam’s relationship. But, instead, the narrative has yet to follow up on Sam’s arc involving his restaurant and the connection that Ted Lasso 3×03, “4-5-1,” teases between Sam and Ola’s head chef, Simi. Meanwhile, Rebecca still holds on to the green matchbook that she initially fosters as the potential to relight the flame between her and Sam. “Signs” starts to unravel Tish’s messages in “4-5-1” for Rebecca, but there is still no reevaluation of the inappropriate nature of her relationship with Sam.
Ted Lasso‘s final season focuses more on Rebecca’s story, so there’s hope to be had there. Meanwhile, it needs to be clarified where this last outing plans to take Keeley Jones. “Signs” breaches the topic of introspection — and her feelings around the break-up with Roy — but trades it for an exciting move that overwhelmingly complicates matters.
Ted and Rebecca’s Invisible String
Ted Lasso fosters an environment where male characters feel comfortable speaking about their feelings (The Diamond Dogs!), and it’s almost refreshing the female characters aren’t the only ones expected to be vulnerable. However, that introspective character work is also relevant to its female characters. Strangely, “Signs” embraces that for Rebecca yet struggles with Keeley. Ideally, that resistance means Ted Lasso plans to explore that vulnerable aspect of Keeley’s story later. It could be why this episode hones in on Keeley’s missed calls from Rebecca as the latter grapples with some life-altering realizations.
Again, this show soars with fitting callbacks to past moments in characters’ stories. The extent to which “Signs” references Ted Lasso 2×01, “Goodbye Earl,” is impeccable — down to the tonal similarity between Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up” and Rachael Yamagata’s “Quiet.”
Even then, the most emotionally compelling scene for Rebecca in “Signs” is one where Hannah Waddingham doesn’t say a word. Waddingham doesn’t need to speak for the doctor’s sentiment to reach Rebecca — and the audience. Like in “Big Week,” Waddingham delivers a masterclass of emotional range in seconds. It’s a shame when the camera cuts to the next scene because there is still so much happening with Rebecca that it is impossible to look away. Ted Lasso matches that energy in another standout scene for Jason Sudeikis, where Ted utilizes his skills to cope with his anxiety.
It’s fitting that the episode’s two powerhouse performers meet in the (sort of) middle of the episode — and the middle of AFC Richmond’s hallway. That scene is the only one-on-one interaction between Ted and Rebecca in “Signs,” and it ticks every box. The way their dialogue bounces from the abnormal “Coach” and “Rebecca” to their usual “Ted” and “Boss” is delightful to watch, as is the subtle acknowledgment that they, too, are tied together with an invisible string. Until “Signs,” Ted Lasso 2×10, “No Weddings and a Funeral,” indirectly addresses Ted and Rebecca’s cosmic connection. But, as Ted Lasso progresses into its final season, that tether becomes stronger and unavoidable.
Other Winning Moments:
- Nate calling his mom before he calls Anastasia
- Finally learning that Rupert’s assistant’s name is Ms. Kakes
- Jamie calling the team bunny rabbits
- Dan joking with Keeley
- Dani crying when Higgins tells them Zava left the team
- Ending the episode with The Beatles’ “Come Together”
What did you think of Ted Lasso 3×05, “Signs?” Let us know in the comments!
New episodes of Ted Lasso stream on Wednesdays on Apple TV+.