Every week there’s a new Ted Lasso episode, Apple releases a few still frames and a terse press release to build anticipation. The synopsis we got this week is hardly a “No Weddings and a Funeral” spoiler, but it does offer enough to raise the eyebrows: “Rebecca is stunned by a sudden loss. The team rallies to show their support, but Ted finds himself grappling with a piece of his past.” That’s not cryptic to the point of absurdity, like, say, the way AMC treated Mad Men in its final seasons. But Ted Lasso is easily Apple TV+’s biggest hit, and the company is understandably eager to control the weekly narrative before the new episode drops.
Naturally, because of the title of Ted Lasso 2.10, there’s been a ton of speculation and worry about which character dies. To this point, the only on-screen death and/or funeral was that of poor Earl back in 2.1, so you can understand the tension. Would Coach Beard finally succumb to fatigue from his all-night adventures and dance parties? Would Sam suffer a horrible barber chair accident? Could Dani die of an enlarged heart?
I gave odds for the most likely deaths earlier this week; based on what hard information we did have, and a few educated guesses based on the general arc of Season 2, I thought that the three most likely deaths were Rebecca’s father, Paul, or Mae, or Rupert. (Keep in mind that I don’t want Mae to die. Only Rupert. Rupert can die.) But since then I’ve discovered that the first proper “No Weddings and a Funeral” spoiler — by which I mean the reveal of the character who’s in the casket at the title funeral — came from Apple TV+ itself.
END OF FIRST THIRD OF NO WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL SPOILER ARTICLE
This is now the middle third of the article, where I’m going to tell you who dies in “No Weddings and a Funeral.” If you don’t want to know, scroll down a ways to the third third of the article. That part will be all about why Apple spoiled its own mystery but I promise I won’t mention which character it is. As an extra buffer, here’s a picture of Ted:
And here’s one more buffer to distract you: puppies and kittens, playing in a meadow. I planted a seed in your head: you are now thinking about puppies and kittens, playing in a meadow. In case you aren’t yet, here’s a picture of my dog, to help you get started. He’s on his harness in the photo, but a moment later he was harness-free, running and jumping around a backyard with his two best dog friends, and oh what a time they had. You just think about puppies and kittens, playing in a meadow, and let your mind go happy and your eyes go blurry, and, in the words of Gonzo in A Muppet Christmas Carol, I’ll see you at the finale.
OK. Everybody who wants to be here still here? Here goes. Every week, Apple releases a one-minute clip from the new episode to a few choice outlets. This week, the clip is of the Diamond Dogs, plus Honorary Diamond Dog Roy, talking about death and mentioning the specific person who died. Devotées of The Gist will know that I upped the odds of Rebecca’s father Paul being the dead character after a new still photo came to light. However, after watching the clip, I can tell you that…
…yes, it is Rebecca’s father Paul who dies. I was trying to misdirect any stragglers in that last sentence. Keeley has the very first line in the clip, and she says, “So where do you think her father is right now?” The funeral everyone’s attending is the funeral of Paul, father of Rebecca, who is rightly “stunned” by his death even though Ted Lasso viewers never met him. As I pointed out earlier in the week, the fact that Season 2 is the Father Season always made Paul a likely suspect. And it’s likewise the reason why Ted is “grappling” with his past: we only found out two episodes ago that his own father committed suicide.
I need to put in a little bit of a buffer before returning to the spoiler-free parts of the article. Here, have another screengrab from the clip: it’s yet *another* whiteboard shot of AFC Richmond’s record. Remember how the Greyhounds had a near-magical 17-2-2 winning streak just dropped into the end of “Beard After Hours,” and they’re now at or very near the top of the Championship standings?
Well, they’ve won another match since then. Richmond is 22-6-16 on the season, with two games left to play. Based on Championship standings from years’ past, it’s possible that they’ll be promoted back to the Premier League without needing the Championship playoff. But that’s a topic for another time — for now, back to the death gossip.
END OF SECOND THIRD OF NO WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL SPOILER ARTICLE
Hi! Welcome back. Here’s the third third. It’s just some good-natured speculation, with no more spoilers. I promise!
I can think of two reasons why Apple would be the one to spoil its own secret before “No Weddings and a Funeral” airs. The first is a small one: they know that not that many people see the teaser clip every week. I write about Ted Lasso all the time, and I only found out about the weekly clip about two weeks ago. If only the diest of die-hard fans see the advance footage, only the diest of die-hard fans will talk about it, the flames of their passion for Ted Lasso will be further stoked, social media engagement will continue to be through the roof, and all will be right with the world.
The other reason is a bigger one. Apple’s reveal suggests that the death is actually not a huge part of the episode; what’s relevant is how the characters respond to the death and interact in the wake of it. Coach Beard appears to be back together with Jane — but has she actually changed, or is she still the woman who jumps out of the shadows at him late at night for a laugh and sends 52 texts in an hour and a half? Or will Jamie, still reeling from the events of “Man City,” be the one to seek scratchy comfort in Beard’s arms? Poor Nate the Great’s journey into bullydom is starting to get out of control. He’s hardly going to be a source of anyone’s comfort, but how will he respond to everyone’s expressions of grief?
We haven’t seen Rebecca and Sam together since their own big reveal — how will he comfort her after her “sudden loss”? Given “Sam”‘s tweet earlier this week —
I don’t enjoy paparazzi.
— Sam Obisanya (@TheSamObisanya) September 21, 2021
— are he and Rebecca about to go public in a big and awkward way?
And, if so, will that bring them closer together? Or will it start to break them apart, paving the way for Tedbecca shippers to resume their fantasies with renowned vigor?
There’s certainly plenty of time for the show to get into all of these questions and then some. At 46 minutes, “No Weddings and a Funeral” is the longest Ted Lasso episode to date. “Beard After Hours” was 43 minutes; “Man City” was 45 minutes. I’m excited, even thrilled, by the prospect of more Ted Lasso. But the episodes getting longer and longer as Season 2 comes to a close is also worrisome. Actions have consequences; consequences get messy. And, as my five-year-old is learning a little better every day, messes take time to clean up.
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