Ted Lasso season 2, episode 1 recap – the premiere explained

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: July 23, 2021 (Last updated: July 26, 2021)
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Apple TV plus Ted Lasso season 2, episode 1 - Goodbye Earl


Ted Lasso returns in a season premiere that shows each character dealing with a change in their life.

This recap of Apple TV+s Ted Lasso season 2, episode 1, “Goodbye, Earl”  contains significant spoilers.

It’s good to have Ted Lasso back on our screens. The first season excelled at providing a warm, fuzzy feeling, compelling character arcs, and jokes that never punched down. Within a few episodes, it felt more like an old standby rather than a debut show based on a commercial. I’m happy to report that the second season is no different, and it’s clear from the very first episode.

Many of us in America and the UK are cautiously entering what is (at times ignorantly) referred to as a “post-pandemic” era — we’re being forced to reckon with a sudden shift (not unlike the one we saw last year) and many of us are struggling to adapt and embrace the change. It’s surely no coincidence that ‘Goodbye Earl’ (not the Chicks song) deals with that exact theme.

Following on from last season’s finale, Richmond has been relegated (demoted from the Premier League into the EFL Championship), but the team and their fans keep up good spirits. That is until a pigeon-related incident results in Dani Rojas accidentally killing the club’s mascot. 

The crisis plays out like the larger ensemble’s problem in miniature. Ted keeps up spirits but Rojas is paralyzed — his “football is life” motto now joined by “football is also death.” Ted worries he has ‘the yips’ (which you must never say out loud apparently), but when the Diamond Dogs (Beard, Nate, and Higgins) suggest they bring in a therapist, he freezes.

Later, Beard is able to eke out his rationale. Still reeling from his divorce, Ted can only associate therapy with his contentious couples counseling sessions, which he felt to be one-sided. His own awful experience with change gets in the way of him helping the team but Beard wins him over, and he recruits a sports psychiatrist (Catastrophe’s Sarah Niles). She’s a pro, and not only is Rojas good as new, but the whole team seems to want in. Except for Ted himself, who sees, in the episode’s final shot, that his days as the life coach to these young boys may be numbered.

Roy Kent is also struggling to adjust. After his age finally caught up with him, he’s taken a new job coaching — eight-year-olds. To his credit, he seems satisfied, but as Keely points out, he could be doing so much more. After winning the press with a moving retirement speech, he’s been coasting along, hanging out with his yoga moms instead of his former team, and dodging calls to be a tv pundit. This being a sitcom, it’s fair to assume he might work his way back towards some position at Richmond over the course of the season, but it’s fun to see one of the show’s most continually interesting characters feel at once so in and out of his element.

The latter comes when he’s coerced into a double date with Rebecca who’s moved on from her divorce and is back in the field, albeit anxiously. She has some great bonding scenes with Keely (and then Ted) before the date itself. The man is a bore, rattling off boring anecdotes before turning all his attention on Roy — who couldn’t be less comfortable. 

Afterward, Keely gives the man faint praise, but Roy is brutally honest as always. ‘You deserve someone who makes you feel like you’ve been struck by f*****g lightning,” he says, before adding “not that it’s any of my business.’ On the next date, she decides to dump him.

But Roy is still stuck in limbo; no single piece of advice will save him. He forgives Keely for pressing the pundit issue at the date and spends the night with his yoga mom friends. As they watch a Love Island-esque show, he rolls his eyes at the latest contestant; Jamie Tartt. 

Earlier in the episode, Ted dealt with the dog situation by telling the press a story about his own encounter with a dog. “It’s funny to think about the things in your life that can make you cry just knowing that they existed can then become the same thing that can make you cry now knowing that you are gone,” he says. “These things come into our lives to help us get from one place to a better one.” Everyone’s in a state of transition; whether it’s between people or the relationship to your body and the sport you play. What matters is how we use the past to move on.

Additional notes
  • I love when Trent Crimm stands up, announces his name, and the rest of the press chant “The Independent” for him. 
  • New player Jan Maas is “not being rude, just being dutch”
  • Roy swears so much he owes his niece £1236.
  • Ted jokes about “wearing a red baseball cap to a planned parenthood fundraiser” which can’t help but make me think that we don’t know much about his politics. It would be like the show to keep it that way, rather than do anything that would threaten Ted’s likability. 
  • “Football is life, football is death. Football is football too.”

What did you think of Ted Lasso season 2, episode 1? Comment below.

Apple TV+, Weekly TV
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