"Ted Lasso" finally gave us someone to hate. Should we?
That freeze-frame of Nate at the end made me think of the final shot of “The 400 Blows”—with the trajectory of both Nate and Antoine Doinel left open. Are there other films that end that way, or do you think that was a conscious reference? Ted’s always throwing out references, so I wouldn’t be surprised.
I watched last night and was just rewatching all the Nate scenes throughout the season to make this same analysis on my own. What a pleasant surprise to find you mulling over the same questions!
First off, I think the intentions of the show’s creatives are clear from reading their commentary as well as the watch-back. This season is The Empire Strikes Back, referenced in Ep 1 overtly as Higgins movie night with the kids. The question is, is Luke destined to turn to the Dark Side because of both genetics and what his father did to him (and the rest of his family)? Or is it really about making a choice to believe in the good, as Yoda tells him?
To me, we humans are complex beings, capable of both good and bad, and both our genetics and upbringing play a large part in how that plays out.
And what a beautiful scene with Nate explaining his feelings and actions over the season to Ted. Everything was true to Nate, that much was clear. Ted was stunned and did not understand (and I admit, was the same, thus the rewatch), but Nate showed the real pain he was in. It’s a shame that no one referred him to Dr. Sharon while she was around.
Also, triple spoiler predictions alert:
when Nate told Ted he should go home to be with his son, it was clearly such a gut punch — I read on Reddit someone musing after Ep 8 (Man City - one of the best episodes of television I’ve seen) that this is the obvious denouement of Lasso’s character arc. How can Ted not realize that he is also abandoning his son, as his father and so many other fathers on the show have done, physically or emotionally or both. (Another for your list: Ray’s niece Phoebe’s dad.) I think that’s gotta be the way this is going, but I’ll still watch next season to see how it gets there.
So yes, I am on board for Nate’s redemption. And even Rupert’s. But especially Ted’s. I am one of those Lasso-like rubes that believes that no one is born evil. We all both “go to heaven if we’re good and hell if we’re bad.” It comes down to the choices we make. “Every choice is a chance, fellas. To quote the great coach John Obi-Wan Gandalf, ‘It is our choices, gentlemen, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.’”