This week’s episode takes us on a crazy night with Coach Beard.
Picking up at the end of “Man City”, Ted lasso Episode 9 of Season 2, written by Joe Kelly and Brett Goldstein (his name is Roy Kent, soha know?) And directed by Sam Jones, shows us the latest exchange between Ted (Jason Sudeikis) and Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) from a new POV. This time, we follow Beard as he walks away rather than staying with Ted this time.
Coach Beard moves through the crowd to and from the subway, receiving surprisingly few comments or taunts for a man dressed head to toe in AFC Richmond gear. At home, he finds himself hallucinating that commentators Gary Lineker and Thierry Henry speak to him directly and cruelly. Rather than deal with it, the Coach kills his beer and heads for the pub.
At first, he finds little relief as an unusually upset Mae (Annette Badland) harasses him about the team’s strategy. Through their conversation, we learn that Beard’s day had been disastrous even before Richmond’s game. It seems he told Jane (Phoebe Walsh) that he loved her and that she didn’t return the feeling. When he complained about what it was doing to him, she told him he was too jealous. Another rupture inevitably followed.
When she texts him later, he struggles to compose a response before the pub trio Baz (Adam Colborne), Jeremy (Bronson Webb) and Paul (Kevin “KG” Garry) interrupts him. Contrary to their usual demeanor, they seem surprisingly happy and kind to Beard. Agreeing to talk about anything but gambling and continue drinking, the trio sit down with Beard and close the pub. The coach, however, has no desire to return home yet.
At Paul’s suggestion, they “dress up” in the lost and found clothes of the pub and make their way to Bones and Honey, a club so exclusive that legend has it the place once turned Cher. To be clear, per club, think more of a secret society club than the Hippodrome.
Using a bit of prank call trick, the quartet accesses it. As Beard is shopping for beers, he catches the eye of a woman in a red dress (Charlotte Spencer), and the boys strike up a conversation with three real members of the club. Beard, sporting a believable Irish accent on television, snows Oxford graduates armed with all the knowledge he’s gained dating an Oxford professor. As he explains, he listens more than he talks. So he had easy access to all kinds of facts, including the results and the coxswain’s name from a 2016 boat race against Cambridge.
TV talking to our protagonist isn’t a new thing, but I appreciated how aggressive they were towards Beard.
With the pub trio and the Oxford men enjoying each other’s company, the Coach sets off in pursuit of Red. Instead, he finds himself in a room filled with TVs where he again hallucinates hostile Henry and Lineker putting him down. Worsening this ugliness, he rips his pants on a low table. His swearing in attracts the attention of security who throws him out when he cannot produce proof of membership. But wouldn’t you know that Red is just outside waiting for him?
Promising to mend her pants, she brings them home for very dark discussions. Soon, however, his partner Darren (Charlie Rawes) returns and becomes enraged at Beard’s presence. Fleeing the apartment in a pair of loaner pants – sparkly stockings with stars strewn over them – the Coach must jump out of the building and into a full dumpster to escape the jealous man.
On the run without his wallet and phone and unable to get help from an older woman on the bus or a hotel concierge, Beard stumbles through a tunnel in search of help. A trio of voices seem to promise it. Unfortunately, it’s so brilliant that he doesn’t realize until he’s almost above them that the vocals belong to Jamie’s dad (Kieran O’Brien) and his two friends Denbo (Trevor Laird) and Bug (Adam Shaw). They pursue him and carry a whale over him.
When things look like they’re about to take a much darker turn, Darren arrives. He dispatches the hooligans with ease. With them gone, Darren apologizes, explains his jealousy, and hands Beard’s wallet and phone back. Then, as quickly as he got there, he sets off again on a deliciously small scooter.
Alas, getting his things back only briefly improves Beard’s night. His phone turns off moments after finding that Jane had called and texted him over a hundred times. The revelation allows Coach to return home, chuckling in despair and despair. Before he can return, however, Baz, Jeremy, and Paul intercept him. They took so much money from the Oxford men in the pool that they turned it into a late night limo ride.
Beard rejects their invitation to a night that won’t end and only asks for a ride home. He sends them down a creepy alley to knock on a creepy door to speak to a creepy man they follow through a creepy tunnel to reach … Richmond grounds. The three will live out their dream of running, kicking, dancing and sliding on the grass under the lights.
Hunt takes it from funny to uncomfortable to sad and never feels wrong.
Despite his generosity, karma continues to hit Beard. Her key breaks in her lock and it begins to sink. Desperately, he runs down the road until he finds a church to hide in to escape the elements. After a brief “conversation” with God, he discovers an underground dance party. It looks like Ted lasso borrowed The new pope opening credits set for the location, with all crosses and neon and neon crosses.
Dancing isn’t all that awaits her, however. Jane is there too. After proving their keen sense of the hula hoop, the two begin to dance together in a smiling, swirling, and colorful kaleidoscope.
From the dance party, we moved on to Ted, Nate (Nick Mohammed) and Roy at the office a few hours later. They are briefly debating whether they should make coffee themselves when Beard arrives. He has coffee in hand as promised, scratched, bruised and still wearing his “magic” pants. The trio mostly let their looks fade as Ted turns on the match footage. Considering the severity of the loss, he had stepped up and moved to Benny Hill’s music. As they watch, Beard lowers his hat and finally begins to sleep.
- I’m a sucker for an alternate opening so I liked the remade theme and the use of the busy metro car instead of the stadium.
- The scene where Beard watches a child is very interesting. Hunt takes it from funny to uncomfortable to sad and never feels wrong.
- Definitely, we now know that Jane’s last name is spelled Payne.
- Kevin Garry makes a very good Cher.
- I appreciate that Beard is sinking deep into the dumpster when he jumps off the roof. You never see it, but even if it succeeded in cushioning a person’s fall enough to save them, they would still sink deep into the accumulated garbage.
- There is a lot of really bad racing in this episode.
- Beard gets another Batman-style demise.
- The fight with Jamie’s father turned surprisingly violent. Dude was about to use a pipe on Coach Beard.
- Considering it was after 11am when Jane continued to text and call, it was quite presumptuous of her to go as crazy as she does, right? It doesn’t seem so crazy that Beard went to bed after quickly getting drunk. Or just went to bed.
- TV talking to our protagonist isn’t a new thing, but I appreciated how aggressive they were towards Beard. Suicidal humor is risky, especially a week after learning that the suicide of the main character’s father is likely responsible for many of his mental health issues. Nonetheless, Henry saying he’d like to be the man who gives Beard a pep talk loud enough to get the coach up enough to end his life is very dark humor well served.
- The episode delivers some interesting footage such as the wall of TVs, the oversized moon, the jump cuts, and the dark tunnel with too bright light on one end. I wish they had had a bit more fun with the aesthetic, though, to make the episode, overall, more surreal.
- Likewise, I wish the accumulation of keys was somewhere more related to Beard’s constant fall. Breaking the key to his house in the lock had been sensed when he first entered the apartment, so the drops seemed to be something different.
- Coach Beard being nice to the bar trio several times throughout the night, showed a lot why he and Ted are more in sync than not most of the time.
- Goldstein really gets a lot of benefit from Roy’s only joke in the episode. Such a simple line perfectly delivered.
- The episode ending without Beard giving Ted a step back on game strategy struck me as odd. Considering both the first round of hallucinations from the commentators and Mae’s comments, I was sure we would see Beard tell Ted and Co. they were wrong. Maybe that sets the table for the final episodes.
- Update from Coach Beard and Jane: I’m glad Coach Beard finally went to see her, I think? I do not know. I’m still on Higgins (Jeremy Swift) side here. It doesn’t exactly sound like the healthiest relationship.
- Cinematographic reference of the episode: Lineker evokes the scene of the springboard in American history x and Henry mistakenly suggests that it is Moonrise Kingdom. The idea of a Wes Anderson movie with such a shockingly violent scene reminded me of that SNL sketch that starred, you guessed it, Ed Norton.
Let’s go to the band
- “Look, Gary, the man has no va-va-voom.”
- “Does anything say more ‘sad single man’ than a chessboard coffee table?” “
- “I know I’m French and I’m supposed to say things like that, but I hate Coach Beard.”
- “How do you cope knowing that the universe is infinite but your consciousness can end in a second? “
- “And when it comes to the fragility of life, I’m so glad someone finally asked because, yes, I have some thoughts.”
- “Just like my legs after a date with a guy who kept correcting me, we’re closed.” / “I think you’ll find Mae, it was two dates. The coffee was a date. you.
- “Oh. Sorry. You looked older.
- “Her apartment will be more incredible to her than any place we’ve ever lived.”
- “We are a repressed nation. An exposed donkey can bring down the monarchy itself.
- “Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret’s little boy.
- “Beard is like the postman. He always delivers and he looks great in shorts.
- “Oh yeah. Right. It’s a… it’s one thing.
- “Shut up Thierry Henry!