Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 9 Review: Beard After HoursBecca Newton at .
Before Ted Lasso Season 2 aired, I had a wish list.
One of those wishes was for the show to get more experimental -- do an installment completely unlike any before.
Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 9 granted this wish in the best way possible!
This episode is all about Beard. However, it's not the usual Ted Lasso, only following Beard instead of Ted. It goes the extra mile and creates a story that could belong to an entirely different show.
One of the great things here is how strong the point of view is.
Jeremy: Have you ever been to Vegas?
Baz: What's Ted like behind closed doors?
Paul: How do you cope knowing the universe is infinite but your consciousness ends at the same time?
Beard: I've been to Vegas many times. One night is good. Two nights is perfect. Three nights is too many. Ted is a man, just a man. And as for the fragility of life, I'm so glad someone finally asked because, yeah, I got a few thoughts.
Even among a cast of quirky characters, Beard stands out as one of the strangest, which is meant as a compliment. Like The Janitor from Scrubs, Beard is the character who is just shy of being too unreal for the show's universe.
Beard's strangeness is embraced and dives into new territory.
The surreal elements and the rooftop chase sequence, for instance, wouldn't happen on a regular Ted Lasso episode.
This felt more cinematic than usual. It was impressive to pay homage to so many different film genres, like noir and action-thriller, and made it all come together to create a cohesive story.
Somehow, it also felt very literary. It didn't take long to see similarities to James Joyce's Ulysses.
Like Ulysses, "Beard After Hours" is a modern-day retelling of the Odyssey, which successfully translated the experience of reading a stream of consciousness novel for TV.
There's someone in my life now who -- maybe it's chemicals, maybe it's pheromones -- I wanna be with her all her all the time. Is that love or do I just have a problem?
There's some of Dante's The Divine Comedy mixed in as well.
Like Odysseus and Dante before him, Beard must descend into the underworld before he can reunite with the woman he loves, and it was a brilliant choice to make James Tartt personify hell.
The sequence of Beard running into Tartt and his cronies and trying to fight his way out was harrowing.
The brutal fight choreography and commentary from Beard's hallucinations amped up the tension and horror. The sad cover of "Blue Moon" provided the right soundtrack.
The blue moon symbolism may come across as heavy-handed, but it works for me.
I liked how it came to represent Beard's inability to escape the Man City game. Plus, it was fitting for blue moon symbolism to occur on a rare event episode.
Similarly, the religious iconography at the church/club could be viewed as heavy-handed, but again it works.
Beard finding Jane was fittingly treated much like Dante reuniting with Beatrice.
Given the nature of Beard and Jane's relationship, it might seem odd to treat their reunion as something celebratory. However, in context, it worked because it wasn't about Beard and Jane.
Are you there God, it's me, Margaret's little boy, long time listener, first time caller.
It was about Beard's moment of grace. Was it heavenly? Yes, it was.
Brendan Hunt's performance was a tour de force. He was asked to do so much: impersonate an Oxford professor, jump off a building, and wear sequined pants. He nailed it all.
The line between the Ted Lasso moments that make you cry and the ones that make you laugh have never been so blurred.
When Beard was confessing at the church, the words were hilarious, but Hunt sold the hell out of Beard's brokenness.
Perhaps the most impressive feat is the preservation of Beard's "riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma" quality.
Beard is like the mailman. He always delivers and looks great in shorts.Ted
We know more about Beard now than before, but we don't have a corner piece of the Beard puzzle the way we were with Ted on Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 8. We may never receive any such revelation, which is OK because a large part of Beard's appeal is his almost unreal nature.
Another positive is the focus on the pub regulars: Baz, Jeremy, and Paul.
They're like the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the Ted Lasso universe, so it feels right for them to have bigger roles with a perspective flip.
Although they stopped hating Ted long ago, it was refreshing to see them sympathetic towards Beard. Surprisingly, they handled the Man City loss better than anyone else.
The scene of them living out their football fantasies on Nelson Road is adorable.
Queen's "We Are The Champions" has long been associated with sports. However, using it to celebrate the fans' moment in the sun instead of a Richmond victory made the use of it here innovative.
Should Ted Lasso tread into these waters again?
The show should continue experimenting and pushing the envelope but in new directions-- maybe through flashbacks or animation or told from Dani Rojas' perspective.
As tempting as a Beard After Hours sequel sounds, I wouldn't want anything diminishing the greatness of this wonderfully strange, blue moon of an episode.
Over to you, TV Fanatics!
Do you want a followup?
What are other ways for Ted Lasso to shake up the formula?
Hit the comments below
Becca Newton wis a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in February of 2023