TV Review: Ted Lasso S3E3 “4-5-1”
Note: this review will once again be based on the presumption that you’ve seen the previous episodes this season. If you haven’t, grab some biscuits and go watch them!
“I am an empty vessel, filled with gold. I am your rock. Mold me.”
And with those words of…well, they’re words…Zava makes his introduction to Ted in the latest episode of Ted Lasso, “4-5-1”. At first glance, Zava (Maximilian Osinski) appears to be the standard mercurial superstar, seemingly no-showing at his introductory press conference before they find him in Rebecca’s office, sitting at her desk.
It’s still incredibly early in the season (both of the series and the football season), so it’s hard to tell whether Zava’s antics are going to mesh with the team or if they’ll eventually tire of having to worship at the house of Zava. The title of the episode takes its name from the formation the team adapts to (four defenders, five midfielders, one striker) to allow Zava the opportunities to score, as opposed to the 4-4-2 they ran in the first game. As I mentioned in my previous write-up, we’ve seen this type of attitude before in Jamie Tartt, and it took a hard lesson for him to realize he was sabotaging himself. We’re currently in the honeymoon phase of the relationship, and how Zava and the team adapt to each other will be crucial for their success. I can see it going one of two ways, but I’ll hold off on making any public predictions for now.
Aside from the Zava storyline, there are plenty of other tales to be told. Sam’s restaurant is close to opening, so he invites the team and close friends to attend a soft opening. There’s a hint of jealousy in the background as Rebecca sees how Sam interacts with his head chef. Rebecca’s friend Sassy (Ellie Taylor) makes an appearance and heads straight to Ted like a shark sensing blood in the water.
And finally, Ted makes a quick phone call home that leaves him stunned when he finds out who his ex-wife is now dating. I’ll leave the reveal for the viewer to discover, but I think it’s safe to say his reaction of betrayal is entirely justified, and we start to see cracks in the armor as his anxiety starts peaking through. Ted Lasso has never shied away from promoting mental health and wellness (as evidenced by the cast making a trip to the White House recently and speaking about checking in on your friends and family), and I’m glad they continue to do so.
Moment of the match: It’s gotta be Zava’s goal celebration after scoring on a bicycle kick from a Dani Rojas corner. Ripping his jersey off and raising his arms to the crowd, Jamie Tartt is stunned to see Zava has a tattoo on his back of, well, Zava with his arms raised in front of a crowd. It’s a very Zava-ception moment encapsulated perfectly by “Superstar” from Jesus Christ Superstar playing in the background and you’re left wondering if Tartt is having his “come to Jesus” moment or if he’s simply in awe at the ego of Zava, and it left me laughing solidly.
Speaking of Jamie, I’m absolutely loving the evolution of the relationship between him and Roy. The first season was chock full of disdain between veteran superstar and youth, but has since become something almost resembling the beginning of a friendship.
There is one final bit that I won’t delve too deeply into for fear of spoilers, but I’m hard-pressed not to at least mention. The episode begins and ends with one of the AFC Richmond players revealing an aspect of his identity that he’s obviously been concealing from the rest of his teammates, but it’s fairly clear that he won’t be able to for much longer. I’m interested to see how prevalent this interweaves into the rest of the season or whether it’ll simply be a one-off (I’m guessing the former).
Overall, “4-5-1” was perhaps the strongest episode yet this season, as it’s got a bit of everything you could hope for. It’s got laughs, it’s got sympathy, it’s got pain, it’s got development, and of course, it’s got shirtless Zava.
“4-5-1” gets an A