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‘Ted Lasso’ Power Rankings: Bad Dads, Good Dads, And The Prodigal Son

The Ted Lasso Power Rankings are a weekly analysis of who and/or what had the strongest performance in each episode. Most of the list will feature individual characters, although the committee does reserve the right to honor anything from animals to inanimate objects to laws of nature to general concepts. There are very few rules here.

Season 2, Episode 2 — Lavender

Honorable Mention: Frank Sinatra (skewed mercurial); dads, generally (some good, some less so); Jamie’s agents (spin-off); Rebecca (gonna need her to have a standalone episode at some point); Higgins (he’s a sweet man but it seems fitting in a very specific way to leave him out of the listings proper); Laughing Liam (AH AH HAH AH); Emily’s mom (a good egg); Ted Danson, JLD, Dave Grohl (Midas touch); Dani Rojas (physically pains me to remove him from the top ten); Nate (needs to chill out a little)

10. Jamie (Last Week: 7)

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Tough week for Jamie across the board. Booted off his reality show, booted off of Manchester’s roster, laughed at by his agents, etc etc. Real existential crisis for old Jamie Tartt, one that culminated in a heart-to-heart with Ted in a bar where they talked about dads and soccer and other things two guys talk about over beers. The whole thing got quite biblical by the end, and I mean that literally, because once he rejoined the team in the final moments of the episode, it all straight-up mirrored the story of the Prodigal Son.

Pardon me for a second while I blow an inch of dust off of my old Sunday School Bible here, but that story goes something like this: A father has two sons, a well-behaved older one and a wildass younger one. The older one stays to work the fields and help the family and the younger one runs off to cavort with prostitutes and reprobates. Eventually, the younger one runs out of money and spirit and comes home, where the father greets him with open arms and celebrations. We pick up the story there:

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Ted is the dad, Sam is the older son, Jamie is the young delinquent. It works out almost perfectly. The only thing missing is Ted slaughtering a cow to celebrate. But that would have been weird. Jamie just found out George Harrison died. I’m not sure he’s ready to watch his coach slit a farm animal’s throat on the pitch. Maybe next week.

9. Danthony (Last Week: Not ranked)

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I mean, I can’t very well rank Danthony below Jamie, can I? Not when Jamie got voted off before him. Rules are rules here.

8. Sam (Last Week: Not ranked)

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Big rollercoaster week for Sam. Threw a little tantrum on the pitch about Jamie coming back, was assured that Jamie was not coming back, smiled and told Ted a sweet thing about his dad, then watched Jamie waltz back in any way to steal his thunder. He has a right to be upset on this one, I think. At Ted, specifically. Especially if, as it appears, Ted did not double back and tell him about the 180 on Jamie’s return. Communication is key.

Which brings up a good point: What the heck, Ted? It kind of looked like he just went ahead and made the decision unilaterally, which is, I suppose, depending on the language in his contract, his right, but still. At least tell the other coaches. At least tell Sam you’ve changed your mind after that heart-to-heart about being a leader. This might be the angriest I’ve ever been at Ted Lasso, even if he made the decision with kindness and understanding in his heart. Come on, man.

7. Will the Kit Man (Last Week: Not ranked)

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My sweet boy. Just running around making things smell and taste nice. Turning the clubhouse into a day spa. I hope by episode four he has Dani in a charcoal mask with cucumber slices over his eyes. Like, on the bench, during the game. He just wants to help. I love him very much.

6. Ted (Last Week: 9)

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Ted is inching closer and closer to that sit-down with Doctor “Okay, Fine, Call Me Doc If You Must” Sharon, a woman who sees straight through him as though he were a freshly washed window pane. This will be interesting for a lot of reasons, starting with Ted never really, truly coming to terms with his own post-divorce life and continuing on to the way he’s thrown himself completely into his job and helping the people around him while pushing down what appears to be a tiny, dark, bubbling little demon. It’s going to be a whole thing. The prediction here is that Ted will cry at some point. Write that down.

But there is a silver lining in it all: As long as the team doesn’t sell its lawnmower, he’ll always have at least one source of unfiltered joy in his life. It’s the little things, sometimes.

5. Mae (Last Week: Not ranked)

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Love Mae. Runs the bar with an iron fist but has a heart made of solid gold. There’s a long list of characters on this show whose origin stories I would like to see explored in a Mythic Quest-style standalone episode (Higgins, Roy, Keeley, Nate, Rebecca), but none rank higher than Mae. Nothing would surprise me about her. The next episode could start with her polishing a silver medal she won for pole vaulting in the 1972 Olympics and I’d be like “Yeah, I can see it.”

4. Dr. Sharon (Last Week: 2)

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While I cannot approve of anyone who has a blanket prohibition on sugar for any non-medical reason, I do appreciate the power move of taking one bite of a homemade biscuit and then placing it back in the box and handing the whole thing back to the person who gave it to you. Bold. Strong. Dr. Sharon fascinates me. I must know everything about her at once.

Also, I hope, more than anything else related to the second season of this show, the story she told about swearing off sugar because it makes her an unhinged lunatic ends up being a Chekhov’s Gun situation and we get to see her on a saccharine bender for the ages before the credits hit in the season finale. Like, swinging on a chandelier in Buckingham Palace. Arrested by the palace guards. The whole thing. Give Sharon a cupcake and watch her rage.

3. Keeley (Last Week: Not ranked)

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Keeley might be the most consistent performer on the show. Rarely too high, rarely too low. Just giving good advice and having various world-famous athletes pleasure her. It’s a solid gig if you can get it. Good for her.

2. Roy (Last Week: 8)

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I like that the show has already figured out what to do with a post-career Roy and I like that the answer turned out to be “have him cuss a lot in situations where one is not supposed to cuss in polite society.” Coaching a youth soccer team? Roy is letting an eff-bomb fly. On national television as a pundit? Get the bleeper ready, lads. He’s like Charles Barkley but bearded and even less censored. I appreciate this greatly. I hope the entire season charts his rise as a television phenomenon — complete with one of those montages where newspapers spin toward the camera and reveal headlines like “Ex-Footballer Becomes Telly Sensation” and “Roy Kent Tells It Like It Is” — and I hope he ends up with his own daytime talk show on the BBC. I know I just said this last week but I’m going to keep saying it until it happens. I will type this into existence.

1. Coach Beard (Last Week: 1)

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See, you would think that Coach Beard might get bumped from the top spot after we learned that he’s been sleeping in the clubhouse because his chess partner and lover heaved his keys into a river during a quarrel. That’s not an unreasonable thing to think.

But you would be wrong. It only makes me love him more. Number one.

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