By Kaleena Rivera | TV | April 6, 2023 |
By Kaleena Rivera | TV | April 6, 2023 |
(spoilers for episode four, season three)
Anger can be a useful tool. It can motivate. It can carve a new path to make headway for a solution. Of course, this usually comes with a caveat, namely that there’s a plan that can harness it in a focused direction. Otherwise, odds are good that energy will only go up and outward every which way. This is exactly what we witnessed this week with the disastrous match between Richmond and West Ham. It’s a spectacle so awful that it leaves the utterly ridiculous Zava looking reasonable, and it’s the kind of mistake that isn’t easily shaken off. Now it becomes a question of how to show your face again after a showing like that.
A third of the way through the season and Nate is finally forced to deal with this exact conundrum. It’s easy to trash talk someone from a distance, but once confronted with the reality of being face-to-face with his former team and mentor, all trace of his false confidence is gone. In its place is a simmering guilt, a burden complicated by the trappings of his new lifestyle. All of his fantasies have come true, but as Keeley warned, the price for free stuff—I greatly appreciate A Taste of Athens hostess Jade’s unwavering dismissiveness toward him (Nate: “Lovely to see you again.” Jade: “Okay”)—and women exacts a toll.
We don’t know the full extent of how great the price will be just yet, but it has robbed him of the chance to begin making things right with Ted. Hanging out at the exclusive Bones & Honey (sharp-eyed Lasso fans will remember that bar well) may feel good at the moment, but his reaction to that missed handshake suggests that despite his enviable position, a status that wavers according to whether or not Rupert offers or rescinds the ability to address him informally or not, it’s getting harder to live with himself. This Nate, the Nate who is bothered by the memory of his last encounter with Ted, would almost certainly feel burning shame if confronted with that security tape.
Ted is unwilling to confront his feelings over any of it. Roy and Beard are right to be nervous, because this isn’t regular optimistic Ted as much as the sort of frightening calm that usually precedes an explosive outburst. To his fellow coaches, the team needs less zen and more Led Tasso. His calm also does nothing to assuage Rebecca’s state of near-panic over the possibility of losing to Rupert. Her nerves get the best of her when half-time shows a side of Rebecca we’ve yet to see. Never has “Remember, have fun!” come off as such a threat.
Luckily, Keeley holds it together better when dealing with her employees. Between Barbara—whose switchover from ultra-proper administrator to besotted fan girl is one of the show’s least smooth attempts at character development (I can excuse it mainly because of who the object of her admiration is)—and Shandy, Keeley’s feeling the weight of being a boss. None of this is helped by the arrival of Jack Danvers (Jodi Balfour), who holds the purse strings for her agency (all of this is almost assuredly in preparation for a spin-off). The Shandy situation is certain to come to a head sooner rather than later after that mess with Bantr. I will be shocked if the dating company doesn’t drop KJPR entirely. This isn’t merely an overstep; she misrepresented the company outright. Keeley will inevitably be faced with the decision to either fire her friend/would-be protégé or break down exactly what went wrong in the hopes it won’t happen again.
This week may have ended on a loss bad enough to rattle AFC Richmond (or “Zava’s AFC Richmond”), but some good comes out of it. Catching Rupert cheating on Bex isn’t cause for celebration (she absolutely deserves better), but Rebecca’s shift in perspective is. She’ll always want to beat Rupert, but it will no longer be out of a deep-seated need to exact vengeance; it will simply be because he’s a colossal assh*le. As Ted tells her, “You already won, you know. You got the turkey out of your life.”
As for Ted, his “progmess” still has a ways to go (Sassy’s assessment stung, but it was 100% accurate), but gently confronting Michelle about his feeling toward her new relationship was a huge step in the right direction. Season three Ted is worse for wear compared to the season one version of him, but it’s not likely he would have expressed his feelings were it not for the experiences he’s undergone for the last year and a half. Hopefully, he’ll be able to open up like this when the time finally comes to confront Nate, so long as the latter doesn’t learn how to fully disappear into elevator corners, of course.
Now Ted has to turn his attention toward reinvigorating a team at its lowest. He’ll have the full support of Roy and Beard—they’ll be making up for their hate-fueled overcorrection for the foreseeable future, especially since Ted refuses to lay into them (Roy: “What a f*cking arseh*le.” Beard: “I know”)—but Zava may be another story. With his extensive history of hopping from team to team, this match may be the one and only straw for him. A turn like this could give Jamie the chance he needs to show off his newfound drive, a development that should pay off big considering how hard he’s working with Roy. To borrow from Ted, shake it off, folks, lots of football left this season.
Zava: “I let all of my children name themselves once they reach the age of seven. That is why my eldest is called “Smingus Dingus.”
Keeley: “It’s not like my vagina is on a diet, I’m on my f*cking period.”
Arlo White: “They played angry, dirty, and ugly.”
Chris Powell: “Which are also the names of Zava’s three youngest kids.”
Kaleena Rivera is the TV Editor for Pajiba. When she isn’t hooting over the fact that Jamie sleeps à la Winnie the Pooh, she can be found on Twitter here.