‘Ted Lasso’ Takes A Wrong Turn In “Beard After Hours”

Apparently the second season of Ted Lasso is proving controversial? There is something called “The Discourse” going on online, but I have managed to avoid it. I don’t know what “The Discourse” is, and I do not intend to find out. All in all, I’ve enjoyed the second season, even if occasionally I feel like they’ve leaned too far into the “This is a feel-good show where people are nice” vibe the first season made its name on. I thought the Christmas episode was really fun. The end of the romantic comedy riff with Roy Kent ruled. That being said, the most-recent episode (as of this writing) definitely failed to strike a chord with me.

The episode, “Beard After Hours,” is a bit of a break from the show’s norm. For a full episode, we watch Coach Beard have a dark, messy evening. He gets drunk, he goes to different bars and clubs, he almost gets beat up, he gets beat up, and he ends up at a rave in a church with the woman he loves that an earlier episode seemed to indicate was unhealthy for him.

I am not against episodes that break form. In fact, for this very website I wrote in the past that I often like when shows do that. This time, though, I wasn’t really into it. “Beard After Hours” just didn’t work for me. The premise could have worked. It’s in the execution.

Perhaps the problem is that they focused on Coach Beard. He’s a character that has largely existed on the periphery. Beard is two-dimensional by and large, a member of the main cast but not one that drives narrative. This could have been an attempt to flesh him out, but if they wanted to do that they probably needed to lay more groundwork. In the end, though, I think it was just that they didn’t really craft a good episode around him. Eventful? You bet, but perhaps too much so.

The events that unfolded were excessive and a bit silly. Suddenly Beard is dropping into a film noir style situation where his pants are getting mended by a woman whose raging muscle man husband is just getting home? Beard is walking the streets at night and runs into, of all people, Jamie Tartt’s father, who he had fought earlier that day? I just kept feeling like false notes were being struck.

You know that episode from the second season of Stranger Things that most people think is the worst episode of the show? The one where Eleven goes to Chicago or wherever and meets the other girl with powers? “Beard After Hours” felt like the Ted Lasso equivalent of that. It was a detour that turned out to be a dead end. I’ve enjoyed this season as a whole, and I would not be against the show breaking form in the future. Next time, hopefully they handle it better.

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