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 12 — “Inverting the Pyramid of Success”
HONORABLE MENTION: Higgins (tricky situation here because every bone in my body wants to include him in the top ten just to post the GIF of him holding the dogs but I still find it too funny to keep him out, and the rascal in me always prevails); Jamie Tartt (I like that he’s grown as a person but still wears the ICON hat); Isaac (well-versed in intellectual property laws); Heather Locklear on Melrose Place (a sneaky salty bitch); Mae (a good egg); Will Kitman (give him Nate’s job); Colin (I did not know he had the violent streak in him until he called for a Code Red on the leaker, but it’s always the quiet ones); London’s premier all-female dog breeder Suzi Campbell (spinoff WHEN); Jan Maas (truthteller); Rupert (King Sleaze); British tabloids, generally (tip of the cap for “Panic at the Lasso”): Dr. Sharon (bailed on the team and a troubled coach right before the biggest game of the year)
10. Nate (Last week: 7)
Hoo boy. Let’s talk about it.
The thing with Nate is that there’s a piece of him on the inside that’s empty. Think of it as a crater created by the father that never showed affection or pride toward him no matter what he did. And there’s a hole at the bottom of the crater, too, so it’s not a matter of just filling it once. He needs it filled constantly, every day, through validation and appreciation and credit. And if whoever filled it last does not stay vigilant about topping it off, then he’s going to turn on that person and blame them for the crater being empty. This is not a great analogy. I’m not entirely sure a leaky crater is even a thing that exists.
But you get it, I think. Ted showed Nate something resembling parental support and then Nate wrapped his arms around that tightly and then Ted moved on to deal with other aspects of his life and job and took his laser beam of attention with him. That’s why Nate zipped in that low-blow about Ted belonging back home with his son. Nate felt that. It hit a little too close to home, right in the squishy parts. This is his supervillain origin story. He’s gone full Joker now. The new team he coaches wears all black, as if it wasn’t all clear enough. This is officially a thing.
(The thing with Roy didn’t help. He should not have planted a kiss on Keeley like he did, for a number of reasons, but Roy brushing it all off as an innocent mistake after being ready to plant Jamie in the ground like a carrot probably did a number on the part of Nate that feels inadequate and spits at its own reflection in the mirror. Nate needs therapy very badly. I’m actually kind of furious Dr. Sharon missed all this.)
Which brings us to the final scene and, yes, the reveal that he’s coaching Rupert’s team, a situation that appeared to be in the works dating back to the whispering at the funeral, at least. This show has never really had a villain, or even a legitimate antagonist. Rebecca was trying to sabotage the team for, like a minute. Jamie was kind of a prick for a while. But there was no real opposing force out there beyond Ted’s own anxiety and personal issues. This will be interesting and new. It has big Mighty Ducks energy the more I look at it.
Although that analogy doesn’t really hold up either. Ted was not a teen soccer prodigy who became a lawyer and returned to coaching as part of a court-appointed community service plan. I’ll work on this before next season. I’ll need to. Things are going to get weird.
9. My sweet prince Dani Rojas (Last week: Unranked)
While I am very happy for Dani that he overcame his penalty kick phobia in the final moments of the biggest game of the year, putting the dead bird in his past with the help of a regal new doggie mascot and repeating his mantra of “football is life” once again, I think I am most happy for him about the thing where he has a television in his refrigerator.
I am not exaggerating here. Do a little thought exercise if you doubt me. Picture this refrigerator getting delivered to his house and installed. Picture his face when the screen lights up for the first time. Picture him watching… I don’t know, I’m seeing cartoons for some reason, as he pours milk into his cereal.
This is living right here. Dani Rojas is doing great.
8. Trent Crimm, Independent (Last week: 9)
It’s funny because last week I was furious at Trent for abandoning his ethics to burn a source and now I’m furious at The Independent for firing him over it. The lesson here is that there’s no pleasing me.
Anyway, I am now fascinated by Trent’s next step, whatever it ends up being. Like, I’m more interested in this than whatever happens to Richmond going forward. Part of me wants him to start an investigative TikTok full of hard-hitting journalism presented via memes. Another part of me wants him to become a world-class surfer and pop up once a season to check-in, all tan and relaxed and pulsating with good vibes. Most of me just wants him to be happy. I love you, Trent Crimm.
7. Rebecca (Last week: 10)
Toughest ranking on the list. We go to the bullet points:
- Her best friend is starting her own business and will no longer be working in the building and available for midday heart-to-hearts on the couch
- Her slimy ex bought a rival club and hired away her team’s strategic mastermind
- Her on-again, off-again relationship with an employee — adorable in practice, problematic on paper — remains complicated by his decision to stay with the club
And yet, despite all of that… it felt like a win for her? Maybe it’s because the team made it back to the Premier League after one year of exile. Maybe it’s because I’m just feeling all warm and fuzzy today and decided to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Let’s not examine it any further. Sometimes it’s okay to just accept a good thing and move on.
So… moving on!
6. This dog (Last week: Unranked)
If this dog does not return next season — and I’m talking about a minimum of one appearance each episode, preferably on the field but even more preferably in the home of a player who finds a lifelong friend through the process of doggie adoption, and I’m thinking mostly about Isaac here because a) I think it would be fun, and b) I want Isaac to get way into dog grooming with those magical clippers of his — so help me God I will burn down a building.
5. Ted (Last week: 5)
Good for Ted, mostly. He handled the article about his panic attack as well as anyone could, and he led his team back from the brink of obscurity, and he confronted Nate a little about, you know, all of that. On paper, just weighing the pluses and minuses, this one looks like a squeaker of a win for him.
But I worry. I do. I worry because Ted takes things hard underneath that mustache. The Nate situation is going to stick with him. And even beyond a personal level, he’s now lost his tactical mastermind, the one who drew up all the strategies that filled in the massive gaps of his soccer knowledge. That’s not ideal. Nor is the fact that he’s been running this team for two seasons and does not appear to have learned anything beyond the basic rules of the sport he is paid handsomely to coach. Buy a book, my dude. Or borrow one of Beard’s. Come on.
I’m sure he’ll be okay. Probably. Eventually. It could get a little hairy, though. Maybe he and Trent Crimm can go on a road trip together to blow off some steam. That could help. And I would like it. Release it as an hour-long special between seasons. This is a good idea.
4. Sam (Last week: 2)
I think we all knew or at least strongly suspected that Sam was staying. It would have been weird, even just on a practical level, to ship off one of the show’s most important players and have him lead a team on another continent. Still, it was comforting to have it confirmed. And that is all I have to say about that, because it is now time to discuss Sam Richardson again.
What a champion. Just never misses. That evil turn upon getting rejected by Sam was a thing of beauty from beginning to end. The words, yes, the threats about burning and defecating and all of that, of course, the strangling of a mannequin, very much. But this is where I lost it.
I need to know more about this. Everything, if possible. How much of it was written in and how much was Sam Richardson just riffing. It’s delightful. Imagine a grown man doing that in your place of business. It would be all you talk about for weeks.
I’ll be sad if this is the last we see of him as this character. He’s the best. But if it is our final go-round with him on this show, I mean, defiling a mannequin during a childish tantrum is a heck of a way to go out.
3. Keeley (Last week: 3)
We should all take a second at some point and consider the rocket-like trajectory Keeley has been on. At the beginning of this show, she was kind of arm candy for Jamie, a glamour model who dated athletes and filtered a sizable chunk of her personality through that experience. Now she’s a full-on business dynamo and public relations powerhouse who is getting written up in glossy magazines and turning down six-week vacations to stay at home and prepare to start her own company.
That’s… cool. Kind of. I still cannot support the idea of skipping a six-week vacation to stay at home and work, just on principle. But I also do not have a statue of a bright pink jungle cat in my office (yet), so it’s safe to say Keeley and I are in different places right now, personally.
We do agree on the thing in the screencap, though. That’s a solid foundation to build any friendship on.
2. Roy (Last week: 6)
Back to the bullet points:
- I love that Roy’s version of forgiveness — in this case, forgiving Jamie for professing an undying love for Keeley — involves shouting the eff-word and storming out of a room
- The fact that he shouts “WHISTLE” instead of blowing a whistle will never not be funny to me
- “It hurt my… feeling” is maybe as close to a perfect line Reading as you’ll ever see on television
I do worry a little bit about Roy on vacation by himself for six weeks, especially while half of England is professing its love for his suddenly very successful girlfriend. And I also worry about the coaching staff without Nate’s tactical genius. Like, does Roy draw things up now? Can you picture Roy at a whiteboard explaining formations and strategies? I, for one, cannot.
But still, good for him. The arc of personal growth he’s on has him bending closer every day to my big picture goal for him: hosting a Dr. Phil-style self-help daytime talk show. It would be riveting television.
1. Coach Beard (Last week: 1)
Just a solid dude all-around. Tells Ted he doesn’t know why people are being weird on the street and then, blammo, we see he has the tabloid in his pocket. Sniffed out Nate’s treachery and made sure to check on his buddy before running off and smashing Nate with a mallet, like a cartoon, which he wanted to do so badly. Got in this great line about Ted’s mustache. Everyone could use a Coach Beard in their lives. The world would be a much better place. We’d have a global hula hoop shortage, probably, but that’s a bridge we can cross when we get to it.