If you look around the internet at reviews for Ted Lasso season 2 episode 9, you can see already that it’s polarizing. “Beard After Hours” was the most experimental episode of the show yet, one dominated by Brendan Hunt as Richmond’s assistant coach. Save for a scene at the end of the episode the title character was not featured at all; yet, this may still be one of the most fascinating and profound stories that the writers have released to date.
Just remember this: Ted Lasso may be an optimistic show, and so many of these characters are reaching for something to make them happy. This just doesn’t mean that their assessment of happiness is always correct.
Throughout “Beard After Hours,” you see how fundamentally miserable the character is. He tries to impersonate someone else to find purpose and success; he goes into a strange woman’s flat both for a purpose (fixing his pants) and also an escape. He seems fine getting pulverized by Jamie’s father and when his key breaks, a part of him looks as though he expected it.
Yet, in the closing minutes of the episode, you see him dancing impulsively in the underground club the moment the beat drops; seconds later, he is staring his love Jane in the face.
Is this a happy ending? Hardly. Instead, it’s a reminder of Coach Beard’s greatest flaw: His codependence on relationships to find temporary joy. Everything we see from Jane in this episode, especially those messages, show just how toxic and individual she is — they are fundamentally bad for each other in almost every way. She’s not even that kind to Beard upon their reunion, smiling at him before having him hula-hoop on the stage. Eager to impress her, he does it and gets a fleeting moment of joy. Yet, that very word is what describes their romantic existence: Fleeting. There’s no guarantee it will last and odds are, it probably won’t. Higgins has already tried to help Beard get over Jane and while he was receptive to it at first, he oscillated back. This is how toxic relationships can work; you are so committed to the good that you overlook the bad and desperately cling to what little happiness you can.
Ted Lasso season 2 episode 9 may not push the story forward; yet, it is a primer to how difficult it will be for Beard to erase the damage. It makes us more eager than ever to see him truly happy, but like so many other characters on this show, he needs to be able to help himself first. This story is a reminder that unfortunately, he isn’t there yet.
Related – What lies ahead on episode 10
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