Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for ‘Ted Lasso’ Season 3As good of a show as Ted Lasso is, Season 3 has been struggling with its obsession with an antiquated and predictable plot device: the love triangle. The whole “will they won’t they” dilemma has been non-stop in Season 3, with Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham)’s potential romance with Ted (Jason Sudeikis) or possible reunion with Sam (Toheeb Jimoh). A more apparent love-triangle example can be seen between Keeley (Juno Temple), Roy (Brett Goldstein), and Jamie (Phil Dunster), which has been going on since Season 1. The love triangle even briefly became a love square when Keeley started a romance with her boss, Jack (Jodi Balfour), though that fling was thankfully short-lived.
The fires of romance are still strong within the trio, with the implication that Keeley and Roy are likely going to get back together. One would think that this would be crushing for Jamie, but the once arrogant football star has matured to such a point where he’s totally fine with their relationship. The penultimate episode of Season 3 does a particularly great job showing just how far the three’s relationship has come since Season 1.
Jamie Tartt Has Shown More Growth Than Any Character in ‘Ted Lasso’ History
If one were to rank Ted Lasso‘s characters from most to least likable, Jamie Tartt would be at the very bottom of that list in Season 1. He was once unimaginably cocky — in Season 1, he treats his teammates and the staff of AFC Richmond horribly, and he doesn’t give his then-girlfriend Keeley anywhere near the respect she deserves. He seemingly reaches the point of no return when he leaves the team entirely, though his loving coach Ted does plant the seeds of redemption in the promising young man.
Those seeds begin to grow in Season 2, when Jamie briefly forsakes his soccer career to instead star on a reality television series. That doesn’t end up going exceptionally well for Jamie, as his infamous attitude catches up to him so fast to the point where nobody wants to work with him. That is everybody except for Ted, who welcomes Jamie back to AFC Richmond with open arms despite apprehension from the rest of the team and staff. After the humbling experience of embarrassment and rejection, Jamie’s evolution into a benevolent team player officially begins.
The end of Season 2 saw Jamie begin to make amends with his longtime rival, Roy Kent. That progresses further in Season 3, with Roy offering to take Jamie under his wing and train him to become a better player. Not only do they succeed in that goal, but they become unexpected best friends in the process. From then on, Jamie has become incredibly kind and professional, almost to a fault as he gets emotional more quickly than usual. Thankfully, through the help of his best friend, his ex-girlfriend, and his mother, Jamie is able to complete his evolution by playing with honor and integrity while playing against his home team.
Roy Kent Has Also Done Some Growing up of His Own
While Jamie was certainly more immature at the start of the series, Roy also had some growing up to do himself. Once upon a time in Season 1, he was the star athlete of AFC Richmond, being one of the most beloved players on the team. That said, even the best players aren’t capable of outrunning time, and the years of injuries and struggles have finally caught up to the team captain. He tries his best to prove otherwise, even with Ted supporting and endorsing him, but ultimately his time in the limelight is officially over. Thankfully, with the help of his new girlfriend Keeley, he’s able to move past this.
Season 2 sees Roy in a state of limbo after leaving the team, not really knowing what to do with his life. He doesn’t get much satisfaction from coaching little league soccer or being a commentator for sports news. Just like Jamie was brought back to the team, Roy returned to the fold as well, though as an assistant coach rather than a player. Leadership turns out to be a perfect outlet for Roy, and his role as a coach is arguably even more impactful than his time as a player.
Roy’s journey in Season 3 begins with heartbreak, with him and Keeley amicably separating after deciding they’re both too busy with their careers. Roy finds unexpected solace from that heartbreak in his training of Jamie, becoming unexpectedly close with his former rival. We see that care really comes to fruition in the most recent episode, where Roy shows true concern for his emotionally overwhelmed friend. Both Roy and Keeley follow Jamie when he goes on his own to catch some air, seeing first-hand the level of pressure he’s under returning to his hometown. They also both celebrate with the injured player once he gets his well-deserved victory after the big game.
Keeley Jones Has Stayed Delightfully Consistent Throughout ‘Ted Lasso’
Unlike Roy and Jamie, Keeley has stayed pretty consistent throughout the series. She has always been a delightful, confident, and fun-loving person, consistently showing empathy for her friends on the AFC Richmond staff and team. That’s not to say she doesn’t have struggles, starting in Season 1 with the knowledge that Jamie has been unfaithful to her and continuing with her new best friend Rebecca using her to discredit Ted. She also finds someone to rely on with Roy, someone who ends up being a much better match for her in the long run.
Keeley is one of the subjects of a love triangle in Season 2. Though she remains with Roy throughout, Jamie does take time to express his feelings of love for her. He doesn’t do this in a malicious or manipulative way but in a purely honest and sincere one, which gets recognized by Roy who ultimately forgives him. At the end of the second season, Keeley plants the seeds of separation with Roy, and follows through in Season 3.
Though she is no longer with Roy or Jamie (although she and Roy have certainly been warming up to each other again), she is really the thread that connects the three of them together. The petty love triangle that existed in Season 1 is now nonexistent here. Instead, it’s been replaced by three people who like each other and want to help the others succeed. When one of them is down, the other two sweep in to pick their friend up. It’s a marvelous subversion of expectations that will hopefully reach an even greater conclusion in the upcoming finale.