Why Fans Are Nervous About Nate In Season 3 Of Ted Lasso
With so much love from audiences, it’s no wonder “Ted Lasso” has become such a hot topic of conversation. For instance some fans have concocted a conspiracy theory about team captain-turned-coach Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) being made with CGI, while others adore his relationship with media manager Keeley (Juno Temple). But after that Season 2 finale? The question on everyone’s minds is, of course, what will happen with Nate?
In Season 1, Nate (Nick Mohammed) went from being the shy, underappreciated kit man who knew the rules of football better than either of the American coaches to a member of Ted Lasso’s (Jason Sudeikis) coaching team, all while frequently providing good strategies for the field. Fans loved him, but that love quickly soured with his character arc in Season 2: High on his success as a tactician and the media’s praise, Nate lets the attention go to his head at the same time he becomes frustrated with his treatment by AFC Richmond. He becomes jealous of the coaching team’s newest addition, mean to the players, and focused, above all, on winning — so that he can prove to himself and everyone else that he’s worth something.
The season finale positions Nate squarely as a villain. He tells the press about Ted’s panic attack and then transfers to the rival team run by Rebecca’s ex-husband, Rupert (Anthony Head), with a sinister closing scene of him staring, challenging, into the camera. So, fans are wondering, what’s next for him?
Will Nate grow as a person?
Everyone is speculating on whether or not Nate will get a redemption arc and grow past his meanspirited ways. Reddit user u/SimonCantan took to r/TedLasso to lay down their concerns about Nate’s narrative arc and where it will end up. They said that Nate’s story seems “out of place” on the show, but theorized that it might mirror the arc of another character on the series: super star brat turned team player Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster).
They wrote, “[Jamie] seems to have realised that winning isn’t everything. That he’s happier, and it’s more mature, to do things the Ted way … So maybe in season 3, Nate will win everything and end up miserable.” His old team, they wrote, won’t win but will still be happier than him. As user u/SimonCantan sees it, “The message of the show, or one of them, is that you can redefine success and be happy. Success isn’t necessarily being the best in the world, as long as it makes you fulfilled and brings you joy.”
User u/flare_force agreed that Nate’s narrative will take a turn for the better, writing, “I think Nate’s story arc will definitely include growth and possible redemption, given that is a recurring theme in the show.” However, they argued that since AFC Richmond wasn’t successful under Rupert, Nate will learn that the culture Ted and Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) have instilled in the team is just as important — or more — than his tactics. Meanwhile, others argue that it’s the blend of all four coaches’ strengths that has gotten Richmond their recent wins, so without that team together, Nate will face failure.
User u/ryannovak29 thinks Nate will fail as a coach very quickly, writing, “I imagine a devastating loss to Richmond and a cast aside by Rupert before the finale. I think Nate will be back with Richmond by the end of S3, sort of paralleling jamie again.”
Will Nate confront his father?
Meanwhile, user u/booktrovert commented in the thread that they see Nate’s story shaped less by his team’s wins or losses, and more by his father issues, a recurring theme on “Ted Lasso.” They wrote, “Nate won’t be happy with any amount of success until he confronts his daddy issues. All this Wonder kid adulation and fleeting success is a flash in the pan, and not enough because it’s not what he needs psychologically. It will only make him hate himself more.” None of the attention he can gain through coaching will make him feel less empty, they wrote. “He needs steak and he’s eating cotton candy.” Plus, Nate’s feelings of abandonment by Ted really hammer home the importance of his father issues, as Ted became something of a father figure to him in Season 1 and was the focus of his rage in the Season 2 finale.
Since the finale aired, there’s been plenty of debate over the story choice to make Nate a villain: On the one hand, people wanted more conflict in Season 2 and Nate is definitely giving them that, while pointing out Ted’s flaws. However, as pointed out by Nerds of Color, others are disappointed in seeing the main character of color vilified, wishing that the series had given more context to his actions by showing the systemic discrimination people of South Asian descent face in the UK. On Twitter, actor Nick Mohammed pointed out that Nate faces several microaggressions throughout Season 2, so perhaps this will become a larger part of the story in Season 3.
Suffice to say, everyone is on their toes wondering where “Ted Lasso” will take Nate’s story next.