Ted Lasso season 2, episode 12 recap – the finale/ending explained

By Daniel Hart
Published: October 8, 2021 (Last updated: March 15, 2023)
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Apple TV plus series Ted Lasso season 2, episode 12 - Inverting the Pyramid of Success - the finale ending explained


Are we surprised that the finale was shocking, sad, but wholesome at the same time? Absolutely not.

This recap of Apple TV+s Ted Lasso season 2, episode 12, “Inverting the Pyramid of Success,” — the finale/ending explained — contains significant spoilers.

Well, I never. This finale of Ted Lasso is truly a mixed bag of emotions and includes a shocking monologue that rips through the core of our soul. Who wants season 3 already? I certainly do.

Ted Lasso season 2, episode 12 recap – the finale

The finale of season 2 opens with the media reporting on Ted Lasso’s panic attack during a football match — the source was Nate. There’s a lot of questions on Ted’s capability to manage. Meanwhile, Rebecca and Sharon offer Ted support. Even his ex-wife contacts him. As Ted walks out of his home, plenty of people look at him funny, and newspapers are making a massive deal out of it. This is a true turning point in the story. When Ted gets into work, he surprisingly doesn’t want Rebecca to investigate the source — he knows it is Nate. We have to question — is Ted too nice for his own good? Meanwhile, Beard suspects it is Nate as he gives the coach a stern eye.

As for Roy, he’s dealing with a romantic difficulty. He enters the changing rooms and asks for Jamie privately. Jamie apologizes for telling Keeley that he still loves her and that he’s not good at funerals. He knew what he did was wrong, and he respects him. Roy is overwhelmed by his apology, and he’s annoyed that he cannot be angry at him. Roy tells Keeley about it, and he’s surprised that he forgave him.

At the training session, Ted talks about what’s in the media about him. He apologizes for not telling them about his panic attack and mental health issues, and he feels he should have come clean. He asks for forgiveness, but the team is more bothered about finding out who the rat is, but Ted wants to nip it in the bud and be productive. Beard makes it known to Ted that he knows it is Nate, and he doesn’t want his friend to hold it in.

There’s more success for Keeley — after her brilliant campaigning for the dating app “Bantr,” she is backed for funding for her own PR company. But this comes with sadness — she doesn’t want to think that Rebecca is not grateful for the opportunities. Roy and Keeley celebrate the success and look at the preview of the Vanity Fair article. There are no photos of Roy and her in the article, but Roy tells her she looks gorgeous and powerful. The next day, Keeley has an emotional conversation with Rebecca about leaving, but her boss is very proud of her. Rebecca then learns that Rupert is buying West Ham United, thus meaning that his offer to give her the remaining Richmond shares was not a kind gesture.

Before a pivotal game, where a Richmond draw or win will gain them promotion to the Premier League, Ted tells the team to run Nate’s “False-Nine” formation. Roy then asks the coaches for advice, which surprises them — he admits that he is hurt that he did not feature in the Vanity Fair article. He admits that Keeley looks great on her own without him, and it would have been weird if he was in the photos. He then reveals that Jamie confessed his feelings too, but he didn’t punch him.

Nate then speaks and confesses to Roy that he kissed Keeley and apologizes. Roy reveals that he already knew but that it’s “all good” and that he made a mistake. Nate is stunned and annoyed that Roy doesn’t want to headbutt him, so Beard offers to do it. It’s clear that Nate wants to be seen as “the man” and a “threat,” and it’s hurt his pride even more that Roy does not see him as one.

However, the match doesn’t get off to a good start, and Richmond is losing 2-0 at halftime with Nate’s new “False-Nine.” If they lose, they will not get promoted. At halftime, a frustrated Nate wants to abandon the “False-Nine” as the players “don’t know what they are doing.” Ted asks the players what they think they should do. The players believe they can execute it and agree to stick to Nate’s “False-Nine.” Nate looks annoyed that they are sticking to an idea of his. The captain touches the “believe” sign, and the other teammates join him. As they walk back out to the pitch, Nate stays behind.

Ted notices Nate has stayed behind, so he confronts him to ask if everything is okay — he knows Nate is mad at him and wants to know why. This brings the most ferocious monologue of the series, as Nate’s entire new form comes to light for Ted to see. Nate explains that Ted made him feel like the most important person in the world, and then he abandoned him. He tried to prove himself, so Ted liked him again but felt invisible. He thinks Ted is playing Nate’s “False-Nine,” so when the team loses, he can blame it on him. Nate’s monologue turns nasty — he states that everyone loves Ted, but he thinks he’s a joke, and without him, they’d have lost many games and would have already packed his bags for America. He doesn’t feel Ted belongs here and that he’s earned his place. Ted is shellshocked at Nate’s transformation but keeps his kindness intact. He tells Nate that he has earned it, but Nate tells him to f**k off and walks off.

Take a deep breath, readers. It was hard to swallow that scene. Nate is a manifestation of his insecurities. He fails to see his low self-esteem. His lack of worth. The importance of “team.” The energy of togetherness. Nate is a man that has made himself smaller by his self-infliction, refusing to see the love around him. Ted never stopped liking him. Ted recognized his worth that allowed Nate to grow in the first place. And with that, the series provides a character that no longer sees his path — and if he does, it’s certainly a dark one.

And then, the second half begins. After the 80th minute, Richmond brings a goal back to make it 2-1. In the 90th minute, Richmond gets a penalty. Jamie goes up to take it, but then he randomly tells Danny to handle it, knowing he needs to get over his trauma after killing the club’s mascot pet earlier in the season after the ball hit it.

Danny remembers that “football is life” and confidently scores the penalty. Richmond draw, which means they are promoted back into the Premier League after the first attempt. Everyone runs onto the field to celebrate, but Nate stays on the sidelines, shellshocked, but swallowed in his bitterness that the team achieved such a feat; his tactics worked because Ted put faith in him, making his insecurities even worse. When the team returns to the changing rooms, Ted sees that Nate has ripped up the “Believe” sign. It’s the end of the road for Nate at Richmond.

Sam makes a decision; he tells the Nigerian businessman that he does not believe that his time at Richmond is over, and he decides to stay. The businessman is annoyed at Sam for “wasting his time” and calls him a “medium talent piece of s**t” and claims he will ensure that Sam will never play for the Nigerian international team. He showed his true colors. Good job Sam made the right decision!

At the post-match conference, Ted wants to address the recent headlines but sees that Trent Crimm has not turned up. He uses the opportunity to talk about mental health in athletics.

Afterward, Ted meets Rebecca to celebrate their success, but then Sam walks into the office, and there is a brief awkwardness. Sam reveals that he is staying at the club. Ted asks Sam why he stayed. The player reveals he needs to stop worrying about people’s feelings for him, and he’s staying for his own personal journey. He was flagrantly indirectly talking to Rebecca.

As Ted leaves to go home, Trent Crimm finds him. He reveals he is no longer a reporter since he created that article with an anonymous source — he was fired. They both admit they love their chats. Hopefully, this is not the last time we see Trent Crimm, who is now…independent. Yes, I stole Ted’s joke.

The ending

As the Ted Lasso season 2 finale brings an ending, a few things happen — episode 12 was never going to leave with a simple ending.

Five days later, after promotion, Keeley prepares to leave the club. Roy gets her a celebratory present — a six-week holiday together. Keeley thanks Roy but tells him she can’t go. Roy is confused and says she can work abroad, and it’s a getaway, but she insists she still cannot go. Roy feels they are breaking up, but Keeley tells him they are not parting ways and that he should take his well-earned holiday. She reassures him that she loves him, but audiences will not be convinced that this couple will sustain. What will happen in those six weeks? Let’s hope not a lot!

As for Sam, he’s inspired by his recent experiences with the Nigerian business owner. He buys a property in town to run his Nigerian restaurant.

But the ending will leave a bitter taste in all our mouths. It will leave us all angry. Months later, it’s revealed that Nate is the new manager of West Ham United, and Rupert hired him. That’s what that whisper was about at the funeral.

Will Nate experience a deserved downfall, or will the villain become the genius the media expect? Season 3 will be the answer for that.

What did you think of Ted Lasso season 2, episode 12 (the finale), and the ending? Comment below. 

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