Ted Lasso 3×10, “International Break,” looks inward as AFC Richmond reconnects with their inner child and commences a new — and final — era of healing. This third to last episode brings back fan-favorite characters, stirs up long-awaited conversations, and offers more than one reunion. To that point, “International Break” has plenty of shining scenes that work in isolation as buttons at the end of Ted Lasso‘s three-act story.
However, through the ebbs and flows of a bloated outing, Ted Lasso struggles to dig deeper when the characters breach that line of emotional vulnerability or interpersonal progress. Consequently, like much of the season, “International Break” is another disjointed and unevenly paced episode that predominantly falls short where it counts. Unfortunately, it often feels like Ted Lasso Season 3 is grasping at the ties that bind the characters rather than strengthening them at their sources.
An Underutilized International Break for AFC Richmond
With only two episodes left, splitting up the characters is a move bold enough to raise a red card. So, it’s tough to understand how breaking up the ensemble — one of Ted Lasso‘s greatest assets — will be conducive to the overall story so late in the game. “International Break” doesn’t use that time and space to provide more backstory for Dani Rojas and Van Damme as they return home to Mexico and Canada. Their fleeting tift is an excellent source of comedy, but it could be so much more.
Considering the episode’s runtime, “International Break” wouldn’t lose anything by allotting more time to the ensemble’s personal lives. If anything, it would only help the episode avoid treading familiar water with Sam Obisanya when Edwin Akufo returns. As delightful as it is to see Toheeb Jimoh and Sam Richardson go toe to toe one last time, Ted Lasso sidesteps the depth that such a precarious reunion brings in Sam. The coaching staff discusses how not making the Nigerian national team affects Sam, but the episode only shows Sam’s resolution of being a goldfish and keeping his head high.
The vignettes of Sam’s response, like when his name isn’t called or just before he sees that Jamie wears Sam’s number on his England kit (!!!), make it easy to yearn for more. It would be constructive to see Sam talk with someone — namely, Precious Mustapha‘s Simi — about what Edwin’s return to Richmond during international team announcements means for him. Then, instead of Edwin and Sam’s interactions landing as repetitive, they could spin into something fresh while expounding a dynamic that deserves more time.
After everything, that scene would be far more engaging than Sam and Rebecca’s awkward run-in at the club. The persistent presence of that energy raises the question of whether Sam and Rebecca can ever adequately communicate about anything, let alone their jobs at AFC Richmond again.
Rebecca Secures Her Seat at the Football Managers Table
Thankfully, “International Break” finds a much better story for Rebecca in how she takes up space at Akufo’s Super League meeting. The build-up to that scene is spectacular in exemplifying Rebecca’s growth. Rather than turning inward, Rebecca turns toward the people she loves and respects, seeking advice from Higgins and Keeley. She also gets a confidence boost from her younger self, and, wow, Hannah Waddingham leaves it all out on the pitch in that scene. It’s a genuinely moving, healing beat that creates a backstory for Rebecca’s go-to-tactic, as initially revealed in Ted Lasso 2×05, “Rainbow.”
All of that subtle work Rebecca does to be true to herself pays off after the seasons. Even if she hadn’t gone to that meeting, that character work is a logical progression of her character that culminates in a monologue about the power of football. While its sympathetic angle towards Rupert is strange at best and unnecessary at worst, Rebecca’s passionate sentiments about the sport come from the heart. It’s synergetic that Rebecca secures her seat at the table by elevating her authentic voice.
Albeit, Rebecca’s sentiments would land even better had they been entirely divorced from Rupert, considering she sees how the sport impacts other people daily at her club. However, this season, there have been significantly fewer on-screen interactions between Rebecca, the club, the players, and the fans. Regardless, Ted Lasso tracks Rebecca’s gradual and non-linear relationship with football from the very beginning.
It evolving to a place of preserving it for the people to whom it means something — maybe even everything — rather than tearing it down for selfish gains is about as full circle (Down to the new Hockney painting and spit take!) as this journey can come.
Keeley Jones, Woman on Top, Struck by Lightning
Alternatively, Keeley’s arc is still erratically searching for a throughline, and “International Break” winds up undercutting much of the season’s story in the process. Frustratingly similar to Keeley and Jack’s relationship in Ted Lasso 3×08, “We’ll Never Have Paris,” KJPR falls apart before it ever gets a fighting chance to prove itself. As much as Keeley not getting on the elevator and the doors closing is packed with great symbolism, it’s rough to watch Keeley spiral about a business where Ted Lasso Season 3 never puts many stakes.
For instance, the snow globe gesture between Keeley and Barbara is sweet, but there hasn’t been enough progress in their dynamic to believe that Barbara would want to give up her job to work for Keeley. Likewise, because there has been so little movement in KJPR beyond, it is not easy to imagine what Keeley would do with the PR company if given a second chance. “International Break” underscores the underdevelopment of this storyline when pairing Keeley up with Mae at The Crown & Anchor, which may be Keeley’s first appearance at the set since Ted Lasso 2×06, “The Signal.”
Even in the periphery of Ted Lasso 3×07, “The Strings That Bind Us,” the show notes how business at the pub fluctuates in correlation with AFC Richmond’s status. But, unfortunately, Season 3 never provides such information about KJPR until it’s too late, and it loses its funding. Rebecca (a wealthy woman) would lift Keeley up by funding KJRP and doesn’t need any proof to support the investment other than believing in her friend. However, that gesture raises questions about why it takes until this point in the season for such a move to occur when it could have been the starting point.
Did Keeley Jones need to become Vanity Fair‘s Woman on Top only to undermine her qualifications to earn the title until the lightning at the top causes her to revamp her tactics that Ted Lasso never showcased in the first place?
Nate Is Great Again, Maybe — But Behind the Scenes
On the same end of telling more than showing, “International Break” does so much and so little with Nate — and there are only two episodes left.
Nick Mohammed and Peter Landi deliver incredible performances during Nate and Llyod’s long-awaited conversation about their life-long tension. It works that their discussion comes after Nate reconnects with his inner child by looking at photos and playing the violin because the topics that went unspoken during those formative years bubble up at that moment. Not only is it one of the episode’s standout scenes, but it’s also one of those scenes that Ted Lasso knows the story builds to and gives it the emotional resonance and space it deserves. But, strangely, the episode can’t do the same for Nate’s apology tour.
Despite Nate barely speaking to anyone since Ted Lasso 3×04, “Big Week,” this episode kicks off his apologies with an off-screen gesture for Will. As necessary as that is (and the lavender is an excellent touch), some in-person apologies are crucial, too. After all, Beard (and Jane) is throwing axes at photos of Nate. So while it may be that Ted Lasso‘s entire ensemble doesn’t forgive Nate by the season’s end, it’s tough to gauge one way or another because the characters aren’t communicating as frequently as expected.
“International Break” even sidesteps communication between Nate and someone he shares many scenes with this season — Rupert. Instead of providing the satisfaction of seeing Nate stand up to Rupert and quit,Ted Lasso reveals the bombshell through a Soccer Saturday segment. It pulls the momentum out of the decision after that pivotal scene in Ted Lasso 3×09, “La Locker Room Aux Folles.” Perhaps Ted Lasso may illuminate that scene in a flashback before the season concludes, but with how many time jumps occur this season, it’s difficult to imagine it’ll take up any more time looking back.
Roy Has a Breakthrough — And a Best Friend
Ted Lasso walks that fine line of reflection and progression with Roy Kent in “International Break” with mixed results. It’s perfect that Phoebe, who makes her grand return since Ted Lasso 3×01, “Smells Like Mean Spirit,” would break Roy out of his ways and encourage him to wear color. After all, Phoebe always holds an influential role in Roy’s life, as exemplified in Ted Lasso 2×08, “Man City,” which coincidentally is the same episode that indirectly introduces Sofia Barclay as Roy’s sister. Alternatively, it is not as cohesive that seeing Ms. Bowen again would spark Roy’s breakthrough about being stuck.
This episode pointedly brings Roy’s friendship with Jamie to the forefront — from someone Roy loves and trusts more than most — and subverts expectations about the impact of that relationship. All season long, Jame and Roy push each other to improve and learn new things, like riding a bike in Ted Lasso 3×06, “Sunflowers.” Jamie and Roy make each other better in a way that challenges them to their very core, and it’s fun to watch that internal conflict play out in their interactions. For example, it’s entirely in character that Jamie would gift Roy (Jamie’s hero, mind you!) his kit from the 2014 World Cup but with a twist. It’s so them! So why couldn’t Jamie be the key to Roy’s epiphany?
Jamie Tartt has spent three seasons on the rocky road of self-improvement. It would be pretty clandestine for Jamie to teach Roy a lesson after all the ones that Roy has been pivotal in teaching Jamie. It would be more rewarding than it all clicking with Ms. Bowen.
Nevertheless, it’s a relief that Roy and Keely finally communicate after sharing only a few words about mostly nothing substantial all season. The scene would have played out so much better with more consistency from Roy’s arc. But one point where Ted Lasso is consistent with Roy and Keeley’s relationship is that their milestones — a break-up and a reunion — happen off-screen. At one point, seeing Roy and Keeley together again would be a significant win for the series, but it’s a struggle to rejoice at the turn of events when the characters barely interact this season. Hopefully, Ted Lasso uses the remaining episodes to avoid such a fate for Nate and AFC Richmond.
Other Winning Moments:
- Colin making the Wales team
- Rupert being under “The Devil” in Rebecca’s phone
- Trent attending Biscuits with the Boss
- Beard reading Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard
- Higgins drinking tea out of his tie
- “Shit helps things grow, love.” — Mae
- Ted, Beard, and Trent’s reaction to Roy’s shirts
- The other team members holding a viewing party of the international matches
- Keeley scaring Roy
- Roy and Rebecca’s wave
- Beard reading The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports by Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg
- Sam not giving up on his dreams to join the Nigerian team
What did you think of Ted Lasso 3×10, “International Break?” Let us know in the comments below!
New episodes of Ted Lasso stream on Wednesdays on Apple TV+.
This episode was so great! I’ve been loving this season