This post contains spoilers for the season 3 finale of "Ted Lasso."
The third season of "Ted Lasso" has been called an endurance test, but for those who endured, the protracted, 660-minute season (and possibly series) is now finally over. It ended with an episode entitled, "So Long, Farewell," and never mind the musical number of that name (inspired by "The Sound of Music"), because I prefer to read that title without the comma, as if even the creators of "Ted Lasso" realized this season was so long.
One of the more polarizing subplots in "Ted Lasso" season 3 was the redemption of Nate Shelley (Nick Mohammed), who made a heel turn at the end of season 2, only to get a girlfriend, turn around on his other heel, and suddenly become a nice guy again. /Film's Ben Pearson called Nate's season 3 arc "a catastrophic storytelling decision from which the show never recovered."
Nate's proven winning experience as head coach of the rival team West Ham United seemingly made him the perfect candidate to take over for Ted as he left AFC Richmond and flew back home to the U.S., where his son lives and where football is called soccer. In the end, however, the coaching spot went to Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), a decision that Nick Mohammed has now unpacked in an interview with Deadline, saying:
"I think Roy was the correct choice, because I think ultimately, Roy deserved it. When we see Roy and Nate and [Coach] Beard together, I think that's the perfect trio. I think it'd be too unbelievable if Nate took over that job. I think that's asking a bit too much to think that, 'Oh, not only has he redeemed himself, and he's forgiven, but he's literally back at the club and coaching.'"
'He Should Start Back Where He Belongs'
As the grey-haired coach of West Ham United, Nate answered directly to Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head), the former owner of AFC Richmond and evil ex-husband of Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham). There were theories that Nate's girlfriend, Jade (Edyta Budnik), might be imaginary, since she had a way of disappearing and not interacting with other characters, but these theories proved to be unfounded, and it was when Rupert tempted Nate to cheat on Jade that Nate quit his new team offscreen.
Nate then spent an episode in bed (there were literally four scenes of him in bed) before Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) showed up on his doorstep, made good on the promise to reveal his own mysterious backstory (as an ex-convict), and welcomed Nate back to his old team with open arms. Everyone else on the AFC Richmond team seemed to be fine with Nate returning, despite the fact that a surveillance video of him ripping up the "Believe" sign in the locker room had them acting out violently against Nate's new team earlier in the season. In his comments to Deadline, Nick Mohammed further unpacked the decision to make Nate AFC Richmond's "assistant to the kit man" again:
"I really liked the fact that when they've just returned to Richmond, he's the assistant to the kitman. I feel like it's right that he should start back where he belongs but be happy because that's always been the thing, hasn't it? He's always needed to be the best and have the fancy cars and be at the fancy club … But actually, I think in season 3, he realizes that those things aren't really as important as he thought they were. They're very seductive, but they're not the things that really truly make him happy."
'A Great Way To Come Full Circle'
In "Ted Lasso" season 3, you can see the show's admirable intent with Nate, but the real question is how it was executed and whether it worked dramatically or was itself "too unbelievable," as Nick Mohammed says. Somehow, Nate managed to charm Jade — the hostess of his favorite restaurant, who had only ever been standoffish with him — and the viewer was meant to believe that their romance, coupled with Nate winning his father's approval, was enough to redeem him. This is how he went from being head coach of another team and public enemy number one to the assistant to the kit man at AFC Richmond again, without even apologizing to Ted until after he returned.
Meanwhile, amid a "sexual impropriety" scandal, Nate's old boss, Rupert, strode out on the field — clad all in black — and showed just how much of a villain he is by shoving Nate's replacement off his feet in a stadium full of spectators. For Nick Mohammed, it seems anything is better than working for a guy like that:
"To see [Nate] happy back at Richmond, but just doing the lowly job that he was doing at the start of season 1, I think that's a great way to come full circle. And yet, now that Roy's the big boss, he'll get lots to do, because Roy and Nate never really fell out."
Roy had already taken over for Ted in press conferences, but it feels like there was less set-up with him as coach than there was with Nate. In the end, the resolution of Nate's storyline is just one of the many questionable storytelling decisions that "Ted Lasso" made in its divisive third season.
"Ted Lasso" season 3 is now streaming in its entirety on Apple TV+.
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The post Why Making Nate Team Manager In Ted Lasso Would Have Been 'Too Unbelievable' appeared first on /Film.