The newest episode of Ted Lasso “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” premiered on Apple TV+ last week and with it came a lot of surprises. Before I continue with this article, I must warn you that there are spoilers ahead, so read at your own risk.
I’m not going to beat around the bush when I say that there’s a lot to unpack with this episode, but I’ll do my best to limit it to my word count. A star footballer named Zava announces he is leaving his club and wants to play in the English Premier League and many Premier League teams are interested in signing him, including AFC Richmond and West Ham United.
Meanwhile, in the clubhouse, Trent Crimm, the former sports writer from seasons one and two, asks to follow the team again so he can write a book about them. Much to the dismay of Rebecca, Higgins and Keeley, Ted agrees to have Trent follow the team.
After it’s announced to the team that Trent will be writing about them this season, Roy screams at the team to not say a word to him (with some colorful language that I won’t repeat here). Throughout the episode, Roy continues to ignore Trent until Ted tells him to knock it off during halftime at their first match. I thought that Roy was still holding in anger for Trent after what he had written about Ted at the end of season two. However, it turned out to be Roy holding a grudge against Trent for criticizing him after his premier league debut when Roy was 17.
They eventually make nice, but I don’t think it’s just as black and white as it is there that they just make up. Trent pissed off the entire Richmond team (and ownership) for his piece about Ted having a panic attack during a match. He mentioned to Ted that he wanted to explore something deeper after he was fired from his gig as a sportswriter for “The Independent.” Is Trent going to continue to write about something like Ted having a panic attack in his book, or is he going after something darker? Keep an eye on that this season; he’s an unpredictable character.
During the first half of the episode, it’s unclear where Zava is going to end up. He ends up making a surprise appearance at Richmond’s match against Chelsea, much to everyone’s surprise. Another surprise? Rupert also showed up and had a nice long chat with Zava. Rebecca sees this and ends up being convinced that Rupert will win over Zava and will join West Ham United. Rebecca ends up going to try and talk to Zava but ends up having a confrontation with Rupert. After they both briefly talk with Zava and he leaves, Rebecca asks why Rupert stopped rooting for Richmond, and he implies that it was because of Rebecca. Angry at Rupert and the idea of him getting Zava, Rebecca chases Zava down and yells at him while he is in the restroom, calling him overrated and overpaid (among other languages I won’t repeat). In this scene, there was also a small but significant piece of foreshadowing that I missed the first time I watched and only caught the second time around. Before his confrontation with Rebecca, Zava walks out to the left, and Rupert walks out to the right.
Richmond ends the game on a 1-1 tie with Chelsea. However, that wouldn’t be the biggest news of the day. After the game, Chelsea holds a press conference where they’ve announced Zava will be signing with them. Right before he signs the contract, Zava says he no longer wants to play for Chelsea, but he wants to play for Richmond instead.
Surprised? So was I the first time I saw it (I know, I missed the foreshadowing the first time around, whatever). While he is technically a fictional character, Zava seems to draw a lot of parallels to a real-life footballer named Zlatan Ibrahimović. He has played for a wide variety of teams throughout his career, including for Manchester United and currently for AC Milan. While he seems to be quite an accomplished footballer (winning 34 trophies and scoring north of 570 career goals), he is also notorious for his controversies on and off the field, insulting teammates and physically injuring other players, among many other things. Despite his controversies, he’s 41 years old and is still playing professionally, so I’d say he’s pretty good (despite my limited knowledge of European Football).
Something else that I found interesting during this episode, there was no sight of Nate anywhere. He was briefly mentioned by Rupert, but other than that, nothing. While he’s one of the antagonists now in the series, I still see a redemption moment for him later in the season. Rupert has been able to manipulate him quite well, but I don’t think it’ll last for Nate.
There are two minor characters I didn’t mention in this story, but I think they’ll be important as the season goes on. Shandy, a friend of Keeley’s, is hired, much to the dismay of her CFO, Barbara (although she does come around to the hiring). After being told by Barbara not to use the company credit card for anything, Shandy texts Keeley to use the card for drinks. Maybe it’s nothing, but I saw that as a red flag right there and I don’t think that storyline between Barbara and Shandy will end for quite a bit.
Ok, that was a lot to unpack. This is only episode two of season three. Wow. If you aren’t excited for the rest of season three, it’s time to rethink that.