Every time I sit down to recap an episode of anything, I tell myself, “You’ve got to be succinct this time.” And then the episode in question turns out to be that show’s quietest and most insightful, or it’s plot-heavy — not a criticism — in its reveal of how a major character died. Or it’s the Reservation Dogs season finale, and how can you skimp on detail with a season finale? Or, as was the case with last week’s Ted Lasso, it’s the show’s longest-ever episode and by far its most unusual. (Also very much not a criticism; that episode ruled.)
Well, for this week’s Ted Lasso, I’m going to try to be succinct. Except that “No Weddings and a Funeral” is even longer than “Beard After Hours,” it’s both plot-heavy and insightful, and it reveals how a major character died, and it feels like Ted Lasso’s Season 2 finale even though there are two more episodes to go. So I may have set myself up for failure. Plus, I’m now two paragraphs in and I haven’t started recapping yet. Onward.
We open on Rebecca in bed with Sam. They’re very happy. They look sexy as hell. Did I also mention that Ted Lasso’s funeral episode also manages to be its sexiest episode? Because it does. And the two reasons it’s able to pull that off are named Hannah Waddingham and Toheeb Jimoh.
Sam is stressed from needing to keep their relationship a secret. He wants to go public. At the very least, he wants Rebecca to spend the coming weekend with him. Rebecca loves the secrecy. Rebecca does not mention how she needs to keep this a secret, thanks to the ethics and optics of a high-profile employer dating her high-profile employee. But she is down for the weekend. They start cuddling in the kitchen, to get things off the ground —
— when they’re interrupted by Rebecca’s mother, Deborah. Deborah enters this house more quietly than Batman. And every time she comes over, there’s a different, fit man in the kitchen, either naked or nearly so. If I got a surprise like that every time I went over to someone’s house, I’d probably be quiet coming in as well, lest I ruin the magic. It’s like sneaking downstairs for a glimpse of Santa.
Except when Rebecca asks her mother what her father’s done this time, Deborah says, “He died.” See? I told you they wouldn’t kill Rupert yet. Rest in peace, Paul; we never met you and you were thus perfect plot fodder for Ted Lasso’s Father Season.
Post-credits, the Diamond Dogs have assembled and are talking about death. Higgins imagines Heaven as a place where humans are the pets; that way, he can “spend eternity curled up in front of a fire, at Cindy Clawford’s feet.” Nate, unsurprisingly, wants to be reincarnated as a tiger, the better to “ravage anyone who looked at me wrong.” Nate sends up at least one red flag every time he appears on screen this season. There is a zero percent chance we don’t have a huge Nate confrontation/boil-over/betrayal before Season 2 ends. I’m still convinced he said some shit to Trent Crimm about Ted’s mysterious on-field “food poisoning” & it’s that that led Trent to come to Ted for an on-the-record quote at the Crown & Anchor in “Headspace.” There’s a big exposé coming for sure.
In the locker room, Isaac lays down the law about the team attending the funeral. And by “law,” I mean “dress code.” The required attire: ties, shirts — he looks directly at Jamie, who scoffs — and “no trainers.” I didn’t know that “trainers” is British for “sneakers,” or “tennis shoes,” or generally just whatever you call fashionable sporty footwear. So maybe “trainers” isn’t British? I pretty much wear hiking shoes or slippers. But the team’s reaction to dress shoes is the correct one: they’re a drag. This reaction also sets up some of the much-needed sight gags we’ll get later on.
I also love Isaac in this scene. When Zoreaux asks if “like, really nice Yeezys” are acceptable, Isaac scoffs: “What color?” Zoreaux admits that his are bright red. Isaac’s reaction is exactly what you want from your captain:
Next morning, Rebecca awakens in her childhood bedroom in her childhood home to the booming dulcet tones of Rick Astley’s immortal “Never Gonna Give You Up.” She shouts at Deborah, who apologizes, but says she likes to have it playing in every room when she wakes up. “It just makes me so happy.” It really is a pretty good song. Or anyway it’s the kind of song that even if you don’t care for it, it’s not difficult to ignore. But then I never got Rickrolled too badly. And what I said a minute ago about the “trainers” bit setting up future sight gags? “Never Gonna Give You Up” is Ted Lasso using a sound gag to plant the seeds of future sadness. If “No Weddings and a Funeral” were a tree, it would be a weeping cherry.
Important Metatextual Exchange
Rebecca: “You shouldn’t feel happy today.”
Deborah: “You should feel happy every day, Rebecca. Do you want to talk about that?”
Rebecca (floundering): “I am happy, I — I don’t need to talk about anything.”
Mother and daughter are interrupted by Sassy climbing up the wisteria to Rebecca’s bedroom balcony. “Just wanted to see if I could still do it!”
Nora, coming up behind, is “taking her time and being careful.” (Very much unlike her favorite Richmond player.)
At home, Keeley and Roy are getting ready for the somber event. Keeley remarks that funerals are “weird. They’re like a party, but for sad people.” That joke is the funeral version of Ted’s 2.6 observation that meeting someone’s mom is like “getting an instruction manual for why they’re nuts.”
Roy was matter-of-fact with the Diamond Dogs, and he’s no less so now. Keeley is clearly overcome by the enormity of the day, and asks Roy what she should do if he dies — like, say he gets hit by a bus that very day. Does he want to be buried or cremated or what?
Atta boy, Roy — way to read the room. Keeley, now mad at Roy and madder still because they have to go to a fucking funeral mad at each other, says she wants her remains to be buried beneath the roots of a fruit tree, so she can nourish the fruit and feed everyone who loves her. This is a beautiful image. It’s also a setup for another sight gag which in retrospect probably everybody watching except me saw ahead of time but which I still found, well, just great.
Ted’s house. He’s getting dressed and dancing to “Easy Lover,” Philip Bailey and Phil Collins’s 1984 #1 hit. Between this song, “Never Gonna Give You Up,” and the pink and orange pastel mirror at Keeley’s vanity, “No Weddings and a Funeral” is the most 80s-heavy Ted Lasso episode to date. And we’re only ten minutes in. Shit — this recap is going to be longer than last week’s.
There’s probably no particular reason that Ted is listening to a UK #1 that starts “Easy lover / She’ll get a hold of you, believe it / Like no other / Before you know it you’ll be on your knees” while dressing to go offer emotional support to a woman whose current relationship has a fast-approaching expiration date. That sound you heard wasn’t an army of Tedbecca shippers sitting up in their chairs. (And yes, I know the song is supposed to be a warning about the “easy lover” in question. Tedbecca truthers take your heart, but you don’t feel it, guys. I’m just trying to make you see.)
Except this turns out to be not a fun scene at all, because what did we all know was coming? Ted reaches for his tie, on the table next to a picture of his son and a signed photo, with heartfelt thanks, from Nathan…and starts to have a panic attack. Flashing back and forth from Ted in the present, we see in quick succession: a close-up of the army man Ted gave Jamie after the Man City match in “The Hope That Kills You”; Ted building a double-decker bus with his son in “Tan Lines”; and Ted’s dart hitting the bulls-eye against Rupert in “The Diamond Dogs.”
It’s a handy transition to the funeral itself, where Rebecca and Deborah are at the church doorway, greeting mourners. Who shows up to grieve?
This fucking guy. I fucking knew he would be back in this episode. And here he is, using his baby as a human shield against the wrath of millions of viewers. Anthony Head looks great, too — the cherry on the villain sundae. That’s right: an ice cream sundae carrying a human shield. Sugar gets you to the finishing line; human sacrifice gets you across.
The awkward exchange, made all the more so by the fact that Rupert literally was not invited to this funeral, gets cut short by the arrival of the Richmond bus. The team cleans up real good. Everyone came, and no one wore trainers; Higgins points out that it’s a sign of how much they love Rebecca. Dani struggles off the bus, wincing in pain from the uncomfortable dress shoes.
It is at this point that I would like to single out Colin for praise.
A three-piece suit is a winning look already, but this patterned vest is sharp. And a driver’s cap is always the right choice, no matter what the setting. In sum, well done, Billy Harris; AFC Richmond’s lowkey MVP looks dapper as hell.
Unfortunately, Colin’s sartorial eloquence does not extend to his condolences. He falls back on the standard “Sorry for your loss,” and it snaps the whole team to attention; pretty soon everyone starts saying the same thing. Nate tries for a poetic flourish, but stumbles over it. A moment later, Jan is telling him that having Ted buy his clothes for him is “infantilizing.” Fucking hell, no one on the team can read a room today. This does not bode well for Nate’s slow, agonizing journey into bullydom.
Fortunately, one person who can read a room perfectly well is Sassy Smurf. Rupert for some reason goes over to say hello to her, making me wonder not about whether he’s made a pass at her before, but how many times he tried. She greets him with “Oh! Decrepit shitbag!” When he tells her having a daughter changed him, she replies, “Oh, right. Having a daughter erases all the shitty things you’ve done to women in your lifetime.” And then, to the absolute glee of every single person watching this episode, she tells Rebecca’s cheating, slimy, vile ex-husband this, in a church, at a funeral:
Rupert, I think about your death every single day. Ooh, I can’t wait. I’m gonna wear red to your funeral. I will be a beacon of joy to the other three people there….Fuck off and die, Rupert.
God damn, but that’s good stuff. Churn this up in a blender and serve it to me with a straw. Sassy is the passion equivalent of Ted. Helps explain why they get along so well.
And it’s a good thing we got this beautiful fan service, cause shit is about to get heavy. We are way in the deep, dark woods this week. Ted, demonstrating genuine growth, calls Dr. Fieldstone from the middle of his panic attack and asks her to come over. We only see her side of the call, because we needed another reason to suck in our breath and make worried looks.
Back at the funeral, Keeley comforts Rebecca with kind words about how she loves her, and she’ll always be there for her, and she’ll never leave her side, and then sees Sassy and the two of them shriek with delight and Keeley is off, leaving a bemused Rebecca in her wake. (Tracy Jordan voice: “And that is the correct usage!”) Sassy, having moved on from her disembowelment of Rupert, is looking for Ted, which means we get to hear Keeley’s version of “Sassy and Ted, sitting in a tree.”
I don’t know why that tickles me so much. Actually, of course I do. I want to watch Keeley and Sassy’s Ted Lasso spinoff where they balance the responsibilities of parenthood with the demands of being detectives who break up jewel smuggling operations. Or any spinoff starring them, really. Keeley reveals her suspicions about Rebecca’s secret boyfriend. So now the two of them are on a mission to uncover the mystery man’s identity.
The team starts to file in. Keeley compliments them on their appearance, Jamie in particular. But wait — here’s Roy Kent, inserting himself into the scene with one of the most marvelous shit-eating grins you will ever see in your life.
My laughter is full and pure. An apple is already one of the great “Well, well, well” props of all time. Roy coming over with an apple at this particular funeral at this particular moment is perfectly too much. Brett Goldstein can barely contain his shit-eating grin. I would like to know how many takes the cast needed for this scene. I would also like to submit “Roy enters, eating an apple” into the uppermost echelon of stage directions. It’s that and “Exit, pursued by a bear,” I think. Nothing else comes close.
Keeley’s annoyance is real: “Is that a fucking apple?” He tells her of course it is: “I got it from a tree outside. It tastes like dead people.” She yells at Roy for his funerary and saccharine insensitivities, then storms off. Jamie takes note. Probably nothing at all will come of this. Oh, and Dani wants to take his shoes off and burn them.
OK. Dr. Fieldstone is at Ted’s. He buzzes her in. She walks through the outer rooms of his apartment, which are much messier than I would have guessed, and a clear contrast from the good doctor’s own home. Ted is sitting in a chair in his living room, his head in his hands. He’s “not great, but better.” Sharon says that’s good, because it means she can “get in there” and do her thing. You can almost hear her crack her knuckles.
Ted says, “I’ll tell you anything.”
Back at the church, Coach Beard is off in a gorgeous little stained glass alcove, FaceTiming with Jane. In a hilarious callback to the finale of last week’s episode, he says he misses her because he’s never been in a “properly Anglican house of worship” before today. No, a club in a church basement would disqualify the house from “proper” status. This is the most we’ve seen of Beard *and* Jane together. Maybe they really are perfect for each other. He does wind up FaceTiming with Jane through the entire funeral — not talking with her, but so she can observe. But then why didn’t she come with him? Was it just in service of an iPhone bit?
In a back room, Rebecca and Keeley are guffawing up a storm. Sassy comes in and tells them she’s “been asked” to ask them to keep it down. But she also brought pilfered wine, so, fat chance of that. When the volume goes up even higher, Deborah and Nora come in to tell them the same thing. But they’re in the middle of figuring out who Rebecca is dating in secret. Sassy: “Is he tall?” Rebecca: “…Yes.” Keeley: “Is it Sam?” The women howl. Nora is taking it pretty well. It is, in short, a joyous reveal.
Then the vicar himself comes in and orders everyone not family out of the room. And that is how we get to the heaviest, darkest part of the episode.
Ted tells Dr. Fieldstone about his memories of his father’s funeral. Rebecca tells her mother why she doesn’t want to deliver a eulogy for her father. We cut back and forth between these stories, which have some eerie parallels and which have each come to define these two people in ways they both understand and are afraid to think about.
It turns out that Ted never went to his father’s funeral. In fact, he says he hates his father. Because his father quit. Committing suicide was, for Ted, his father’s way of quitting on himself and his family. Rebecca says she hates her father because he cheated on Deborah. In fact, she once caught him in bed with another woman. The date was Friday, September 13, 1991. On the same day half a world away, Ted came home from school to get ready for a movie marathon with his friends. He want up to his room. Rebecca went to her parents’ drinks cabinet to steal a bottle of alcohol for a wild time with Sassy. She heard something. Ted heard a bang.
He opened the door and found his father. Rebecca opened the door and found her father, “in all his glory, with Mrs. Reynolds screaming his name.” She started screaming. Ted called 911. He went to the refrigerator, got one of his father’s beers, and drank it. He called his mom. Rebecca’s father chased after her. But the next day, he didn’t say anything.
Deborah says she always knew about the cheating. Rebecca, with only the briefest hesitation, tells her mother that if that’s so then she hates her, too.
Ted reflects that his father might not have “done what he did” if he’d known he was a good father. He regrets that he didn’t tell his father that enough when he had the chance, and is still devastatingly angry at his father for being gone as much as he was “at work, or out with friends.” And then Theodore Laurence Lasso says to Dr. Fieldstone, “I don’t know if this is illegal or something, but, can I have a hug?”
Deborah tells Rebecca she’s not as strong as her daughter — she never left Paul because she was too afraid to be alone. “Being alone is fucking horrible,” Rebecca says. “But, it’s been necessary. Because it’s actually started to feel rather wonderful.”
Deborah’s proud of her daughter, and actually relieved to be hated by her; for years, she thought she merited only Rebecca’s indifference. “I’ll take your anger over your indifference any day.”
And with that, it’s time for the funeral service. The vicar says a few kind words about how devoted Paul was to his family, to his church, and to the Richmond matches he so often listened to during the church service. Then it’s Rebecca’s turn. She begins shakily, with, “I don’t really know what to say.” It’s then that Ted arrives, because of course it is. These two have more impeccable timing than a Bond movie.
He gives Rebecca a little salute and takes his seat, but she’s still nowhere on the eulogy. Then she starts speaking the opening lines of “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Then she starts singing them — broken-voiced, sputtering, but still singing. When she gets to the chorus, Rebecca is starting to build some steam, but she can’t bring herself to sing “Never gonna say goodbye.” The entire assembly realizes and looks down. Is there anybody in the house who might be able to help? Someone who once told Rebecca in him she’s got a friend for life? Somebody who doesn’t mind looking a little bit foolish in the service of friendship, of love?
Ladies and gentlemen, Ted helping lead a church full of mourners in a completely unironic rendition of “Never Gonna Give You Up” to complete Rebecca’s eulogy for her father is Ted Lasso’s version of the Red Wedding. It’s completely fucking batshit, on paper it sounds hokey and contrived and just too cringe-worthy to consider. But in practice, with this cast on this show, it actually breaks Rickrolling. They took a song that had been a cliché twice over and breathed new life into it. There is no more Rickrolling. “Never Gonna Give You Up” is now a spiritual. This is the magic of Ted Lasso.
This was also the moment that convinced me Tedbecca is indeed the writers’ endgame. You don’t have Ted do that for Rebecca in the same episode that Rebecca dumps Sam as gently as possible while the two of them are hiding in a linen closet unless you mean to promise that, by the time it’s all said and done, Ted will be Rebecca’s linen closet partner. I’m willing to bet that this also becomes the most memed, talked about, and viewed moment in the entire run of the show. What the Iverson rant was to Season 1 — a famous moment divorced from its context and presented in a different key — that’s what Rebecca’s eulogy is to Season 2.
Oh — and Keeley was the second person to start singing after Ted, by the way. This will be a handy thing to keep in mind over the final two episodes. Because after everyone’s reassembled at Deborah’s house, Jamie pulls Keeley aside and tells her he loves her! And then, in literally the next instant, Roy pulls Keeley aside to apologize for being an asshole and making stupid jokes, then tells her he understands how precious life is (especially since he doesn’t believe in an afterlife), and tells her he loves her! Keeley now has to make A Choice!
I mean, I don’t think it’s a choice at all. Jamie is indeed, as he put it, becoming “the best version of” himself. He’s grown up a ton, and props to Phil Dunster for doing some brilliant acting with more limited screen time this season. But I think that Jamie thinks that he’s in love with Keeley more than he actually is in love with her. She’s the only serious relationship he’s ever had. She’s been the kindest lover he’s ever had. Of course he wants to be with someone like that.
Jumping back in time a couple of scenes, though, we have other storm clouds to discuss. As he’s saying goodbye to Rebecca after the funeral, Rupert just out of nowhere, for no particular reason, mentions that he’s “convinced Bex to give up her shares in Richmond.” Because neither one of them has time for football, now, you see. And so he wants to just give those shares over to Rebecca, with a smile. I know the funeral was kind of a lot, and so she’s distracted. But there should be fucking alarm bells going off above Rebecca’s head right now. Rupert is never going to be nice to you just because. Never not ever. And nobody on earth knows that better than Rebecca.
It’s thus extremely concerning that Rupert then goes over and does this:
Aah, fuck. This is really bad. All the brilliant beautiful intertwining of scenes between Ted and his father’s suicide and Rebecca and her father’s infidelity, that is really hard to watch. And it’s hard to sit with. But Rupert going over and complimenting Nate out of the blue and right in front of Rebecca, that makes me feel sick. This is Nate starting the final approach toward the dark side. Rupert is totally divesting himself of Richmond so he can buy another team and then swipe Nate from Richmond and instill chaos in the locker room and kinda-sorta do to Rebecca what she tried to do to him before she gave a shit about the team. Rupert is trying to out-Rebecca Rebecca. And he’s doing it right in front of her face! This is a bad, bad scene. We’re nowhere near out of the dark woods yet. We’re just away from the part we knew about and had been avoiding. All the remaining dark woods are unmapped.
I could write four thousand more words about this episode. I haven’t even touched on Ted’s deepening friendship and emotional bonds with Dr. Fieldstone. Sarah Niles has done some *amazing* acting over the last few episodes alone; I really hope the description for next week’s episode is a red herring and she’s not about to leave the team. Nora was great in this. Jamie deserves more words. Coach Beard holding his phone up for Jane during the entire funeral service was a good silly laugh. And I barely scratched the surface of Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham’s performances, which are good enough to earn them Emmy wins in 2022 and at least Emmy consideration in 2023, yes, still for “No Weddings and a Funeral.”
Instead of getting into any of that, though, I’m going for a (much-fucking-needed) laugh. Dani Rojas, save me:
It seems poor Dani, who’d been battling his dress shoes and losing all day, decided to go upstairs at Deborah’s and rummage about for some comfy footwear. We didn’t *see* him do this, of course. Sight gags!
Finally, if you, like me, were also wondering about the hauntingly beautiful song over the end credits, here it is. It’s by Molly Drake, mother of Nick Drake, and it’s called “I Remember.” See you next week. Fill your liquor cabinet beyond what you think you’ll need.
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