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Ted Lasso Season 2, Episode 4 Recap: Too Much Holiday Cheer, Too Little Plot

This week we got our first holiday episode! Does it feel weird watching a Christmas episode in the middle of August? Yup! We do get a special Christmas claymation opening sequence, which is fun, but sadly it’s all downhill from there…

We open on the team’s holiday party where the team reveals Secret Santas. Over in Ted’s office, the Diamond Dogs + Keeley and Rebecca dole out gifts of their own and everyone dishes on what their Christmas plans are for the rest of the day. (Last season it was all about one team, but now we apparently have various hierarchical ecosystems?) Rebecca’s attending a super casual Christmas party at Elton John’s house with her friends Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz (Ted: “That sounds like double-oh heaven!”), Keeley and Roy are celebrating a “sexy Christmas” whatever that means, and Ted’s gonna be on Facetime all day with his son, which is somehow both the most adorable yet most depressing thing ever.

Later, Keeley prepares for “sexy Christmas” in her lingerie while she waits for Roy, but when the doorbell rings, she’s surprised to see that he’s got Phoebe in tow. Apparently, Roy’s sister has to work so Phoebe will be spending sexy Christmas with them. Keeley’s cool with it, of course, but Phoebe’s in a foul mood because a boy at school was mean to her. Some little shithead named Bernard gifted Phoebe toothpaste and mouthwash, something he claimed she “desperately needs.”

When Roy finds out, he’s ready to go kill this kid, but Keeley convinces him that’s not the best idea. She tells Phoebe that some kids are just mean and we should ignore them, but when Keeley and Roy actually smell Phoebe’s breath, they can kind of see Bernard’s point. Apparently, Phoebe’s got worse breath than the Grinch. Roy is legitimately dry heaving. Change of plans: sexy Christmas will now be spent going door-to-door in Roy’s posh neighborhood in search of a dentist who can figure out wtf is making Phoebe’s breath smell like a trash compactor. Is that the least effective way to find a dentist? Yes. So why are they doing it?

Over at the Higgins residence, they’re hosting any players who can’t spend the holiday with their families. Typically, only two or three players take them up on the offer. But this year, almost half the team shows up. They’ve got a glorified rager going on complete with Nerf guns. Apparently, the camaraderie that Ted built is really paying off.

Speaking of Ted – he could use some camaraderie himself. His Christmas also isn’t going as planned. Turns out, watching your son play with the drone you got him via Facetime is better in theory than it is in reality. They end their call early and the cold hard truth sets in: Ted’s alone on Christmas. Ted starts drinking by himself and for a moment it looks like things are about to turn dark, but then he hears something outside… It’s Rebecca! She’s here to spread some Christmas cheer to our lonely Lasso.

They’re off on a Christmas adventure that, sadly, does not include Elton John. Instead, Rebecca and Ted deliver presents to underprivileged children. Why? Apparently it’s a tradition of hers, and since she knows how awful the holidays are right after a divorce, she wanted to make sure Ted was doing alright. This was about the point where I realized that this episode has absolutely no plot aside from everyone being over-the-top nice to everyone else. Which is… sweet, I guess. But too much candy makes your teeth hurt.

Meanwhile, Roy and company are going door-to-door on the dentist search. The poor kid is mortified, but Roy “Billy Madisons” her and reveals that he once ate too much ice cream at his birthday party and, since he’s lactose intolerant, he pooped his pants on the bus ride home. And by “once” he means three weeks ago.

After a while, they finally find a dentist. She’s a little weirded out, but she’s happy to help Roy Kent out in a time of need (it’s the season of giving, after all). The good news is, she solves the mystery – Phoebe’s allergy medication is causing the stink. The bad news is, Phoebe needs the medication because she’s allergic to her newly adopted cat. Roy suggests that she just get rid of the cat – problem solved. Cue Phoebe getting hysterical. But Keeley calms her down and assures her that only a monster would make her get rid of her beloved kitty. They track down a pharmacist instead and pay him to get Phoebe a new prescription, then they go to Bernard’s to recreate Love Actually and force him to make amends.

So. What was the point of that entire storyline? I honestly couldn’t tell you. I’m just as confused.

Back at the Higgins residence, everyone sits down to eat at the longest dinner table known to mankind. Higgins gives the Lasso-iest toast ever: “To the family we’re born with and the family we make along the way.” Sooo… was there a plot to this storyline either aside from everyone being super, super nice to each other? Nope!

This somehow leads to Ted and Rebecca showing up outside with some buskers and rocking out in the middle of the street. Is it absurd? Absolutely. But we get to hear Rebecca sing again and she does have an amazing voice, so that’s cool I guess.

Then the credits started rolling and I looked outside and reality set in that it’s August and it’s hot and this week’s episode was kind of… terrible? That feels harsh, but the truth hurts. I get that Ted Lasso is nice, but “nice” isn’t the basis of a TV show. Last season, we had drama without it feeling cliché or overwrought. This season, I’m not sure what we have, but we certainly don’t have stakes. What happened to the Dubai sponsor storyline from last week? I don’t know what we’re building toward anymore, and I’m not sure the writers know either.

Here’s to hoping that we get back on track next week with some semblance of a relevant plot.

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Ella is a writer originally from Gettysburg, PA and yes, her parents are Civil War reenactors (no really, they are!). She's worked on a few TV shows (Gotham, Hightown, Debris) and when she's not procrastinating writing the next great American novel, enjoys riding horses, attempting to go hiking instead of just talking about going hiking, and playing with her adorable dog, Finnegan.

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