What to Watch Verdict
It has all been building to this moment for Ted and this episode nails both the emotion and humor.
*Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham have their Emmy submission for next year.
*The build-up to this conversation was worth it.
*Isaac's suit and shoe mandate.
*Recurring guest stars.
*Love triangles, damn love triangles.
This post contains spoilers for Ted Lasso " No Weddings and a Funeral.”
Read our latest review here.
Anger has coursed through the second season of Ted Lasso whether Ted’s (Jason Sudeikis) distaste for therapy, Nate’s (Nick Mohammed) outbursts, or Jamie’s (Phil Dunster) physical fight after the FA Cup semi-final loss. Issues with their fathers inform this behavior with each experience covering a spectrum of unresolved conflicts that still have an impact. It isn’t only men who are struggling to reconcile past grievances with a parent, and Rebecca’s (Hannah Waddingham) distaste for her dad percolated when her mother took temporary refuge at her home a few episodes ago. After last week’s Beard (Brendon Hunt) mini-adventure, “No Wedding and a Funeral” returns to the main arc, which explores deep-rooted pain that has influenced Ted and Rebecca’s adult relationships and how they respond to conflict.
The episode opens in post-coital bliss with “I Want to Sex You Up” by Color Me Badd accompanying Rebecca and Sam’s (Toheeb Jimoh) glowing conversation. The matter at hand is the secrecy element of their relationship, which Rebecca is enjoying and Sam is finding stressful. Dropping by unannounced is her mother Deborah’s (Harriet Walter) calling card, but at least Sam is wearing boxer briefs, unlike her last naked guest. When Rebecca tirelessly asks what her father has done to prompt this visit, her mother unceremoniously announces he has died.
Rebecca’s complicated dynamic with her mother stems from how much she resents Deborah for always going back to her husband. Over two episodes of material, the nuances of this relationship are portrayed and in part, it helps to have a dynamic performer like Dame Harriet Walter in a guest-starring role. Furthermore, the writing effectively backs up why Rebecca has such a hard time in her romantic relationships. Her mother has kept her childhood bedroom as it once was and still enthusiastically listens to Rick Astley’s “Never Going to Give You Up.” Most people will tire or lose their fondness for something but when Deborah loves something she does so forever. This includes her husband, even though she knew he cheated on her. Rebecca is aghast that she has known all this time and makes sure her mother knows how much she resents her for this. Rather than being hurt, she is pleased her daughter feels something because Deborah worried indifference summed up their tepid bond.
A pivotal confrontation is intercut with Ted’s emergency session with Dr. Sharon Fieldston (Sarah Niles), Rebecca tells the story of when she stumbled in on her dad sleeping with someone else. This occurred when she was a teenager and she quips it is the only time Sassy (Ellie Taylor) has been stunned into silence. Her father pretended nothing had happened enveloping Rebecca into the cloak of silence within her home. The fury she felt hasn’t dissipated and that moment shaped her inability to trust and her taste in terrible men (until now). Deborah points out she is stronger than her regarding Rupert’s (Anthony Head) affairs, and Rebecca fires back that being alone was horrible but necessary. The cackles that filled this room when Keeley (Juno Temple) and Sassy were trying to guess who she is sleeping with have been silenced and are replaced by rage. There is a question of whether Rebecca would deliver a eulogy and clearing the air gives Rebecca space to grieve not only this death but the relationship as it was. The bad memories and decades-long secrets that took up space can now make way for some happier thoughts like the images on the home video. She is still at a loss for words but Rickrolling this funeral leads to an incredibly poignant sing-along. Ted’s late arrival doesn’t go unnoticed but he makes up for his tardiness by leading the congregation when Rebecca is struggling to maintain her composure.
While Ted was getting ready for the service he had a panic attack, which Sharon suggests is linked to the death of his father and his unresolved feelings. Now he is ready to talk — her dislike of tea seals this bond — and it begins with him explaining why he didn’t go to his father’s funeral. Ted was angry that his dad quit on life (as well as his son and wife) and he vibrates with rage as he retells the events of that day when he was only 16. Splicing this together with Rebecca’s story isn’t the writers suggesting an affair and suicide are the same, rather, it highlights the significant moment that impacted both characters. However, while I do think this format does work, part of me wishes Ted’s story was told without the overlap. First, Ted explains he heard the shot and found the body, and it is a memory he cannot shake. Sharon tells him this experience took a lot away from him, but she also wants to know what he loved about his dad.
In the same way, Rebecca’s entire worldview of her father has been shaped by his infidelity, Ted’s is clouded with this final incident. “He was a good dad and I don’t think he knew that,” Ted says after telling a story from his childhood. In a scene that could win Sudeikis another Emmy, his anger is replaced by this happy memory. He asks Sharon if he can have a hug, which leads him to crumple on her shoulder (no, you’re crying) and a joke about whether he has to pay for this session is ideally timed to inject some levity. This season has been leading to this conversation and it would’ve felt inauthentic to this character if he had unburdened himself during that first session.
After the funeral, he has a nice moment with Rebecca and it once again cements a platonic vibe. Sassy is happy to see Ted and they are more likely to become a couple at this point, and I would be thrilled if we got more of this character in Season 3 because her friendship with Rebecca and Keeley is a highlight. Nora (Kiki May) is also a great addition and I was pleased to see she wasn’t upset that Rebecca is secretly dating her crush, Sam. On the matter of Sam, Rebecca ends this very new relationship because she still has baggage regarding her taste in terrible men. She remarks that Sam is wonderful and while the storyline backs up her choice, it is a cop-out reason for ending a relationship that will be scandalous when it goes public. Of course, the feelings are still there and this is by no means over — and he is only going to get more wonderful.
Death is the cloud that hangs over this episode from the events that Ted experienced as a teen to the funeral that provides the backdrop for the second half — this is another 45-minute runtime and this one uses it well. A conversation about the afterlife between the coaches and Keeley reveals a diverse range of beliefs (and hopes) for what might come next. It should come as no surprise that Roy (Brett Goldstein) has a nihilistic take, which causes a recurring argument with his girlfriend. Keeley and Roy are the very definition of opposites attract and there are a couple of troubling moments at the funeral that suggest trouble in paradise. This isn’t their first disagreement this season, but now there is the added Jamie hurdle throwing up a red flag.
One of the things I have praised Ted Lasso for is not resorting to lazy love triangle storytelling and Jamie telling Keeley he loves her throws this into disarray. He has been hovering all season whenever she is nearby and the seize the day momentum leads him to tell her his true feelings at the wake. While he is aware this is a shitty thing to do — especially after Roy stepped up and gave him a hug — there is a stronger desire to present this better version of himself as an alternative to her current situation. There is a moment during the funeral when Keeley glances back at Jamie that flashed warning lights in my mind, but Roy does apologize for being a prick directly after (unknown to him) Jamie’s confession. He explains that death makes him uncomfortable, which is why he opts for humor to deflect and cites his experience of losing his grandfather when he was younger. This declaration of love is met with a nod and an embrace from Keeley, which upon the first watch felt like an unresolved moment in the Jamie of it all. However, in rewatching this scene it is Keeley’s relief at Roy showing emotion that stands out so for now, I am cautiously optimistic that one of TV’s best couples is not going to fall prey to a tired love triangle. Whether Keeley is going to tell Roy is another story and I don’t think he will be hugging his frenemy any time soon if this is the case.
Jamie does have a few very funny moments in this episode relating to the dress code that Isaac (Kola Bokinni) insists everyone adheres to. A suit (with a shirt) and dress shoes are a must with the latter causing the most consternation among the group who only wear sneakers. Not even luxury ones are permitted and the person who ends up suffering the most through the stiff footwear is Dani (Cristo Fernández). Jamie gives him emotional and physical support while reminding him that shoes like that are not meant for people like them. It is fun and relatable seeing a storyline address painful formal flats (I also struggle with heels) and Dani does look rather fetching in Rebecca’s fluffy slippers later on. Jamie also calls out Jan Mass (David Elsendoorn) for his tactless comments about Nate’s suit. Last season, Ted bought Nate a suit for the benefit, and since then it has been his go-to attire when feeling confident. Jan Mass ruins this by asking him if it is infantilizing to have another man buy his clothes. In the past, Jamie would’ve instigated making fun of Nate, but now he points out how out of turn this comment is.
A separate troubling moment with Nate occurs when Rupert approaches him and whispers something in his ear. There is no indication as to the content of this conversation but part of me thinks he has long harbored the desire to get vengeance on Ted for the darts incident, and he will use Nate to do so. Moments before this he has told Rebecca that she can have Bex’s (Keeley Hazel) AFC Richmond shares, which appears to be no strings attached. However, this should be the time when Rebecca’s inability to trust anyone comes in handy. She should definitely not believe what comes out of his mouth and neither should the audience considering there are only two episodes of this season remaining. Much like Rick Astley’s feelings towards the “you” in the song, Rupert is never going to give the club up that easily.
Emma Fraser spends most of her time writing about TV, fashion, and costume design; Dana Scully is the reason she loves a pantsuit. Words can also be found at Vulture, Elle, Primetimer, Collider, Little White Lies, Observer, and Girls on Tops. Emma has a Master’s in Film and Television, started a (defunct) blog that mainly focused on Mad Men in 2010, and has been getting paid to write about TV since 2015. It goes back way further as she got her big start making observations in her diary about My So-Called Life’s Angela Chase (and her style) at 14.
By Lucy Buglass