Warning: The following contains spoilers for Ted Lasso Season 2, Episode 8.
After Ted Lasso‘s weekly release for Season 2 led to a touch of online backlash against the perceived lack of conflict in its sophomore run, episode eight should firmly put those concerns to bed. “Man City” is the most emotional entry of Season 2 thus far and while Ted’s (Jason Sudeikis) big reveal about his father’s suicide will understandably take center stage, it is Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) who once again embodies the show’s major thematic messages.
A focal point of Season 2 has been family dynamics and Jamie’s confrontation with his father after they lose to Man City brings his deep-seeded insecurities to the forefront in front of the entire team. It’s a pivotal moment for the character in his journey toward self-betterment.
“I don’t know whether it’s an addiction to Jamie, but the self-aggrandizing and indulgence of self are all crutches that he uses in order not to have to try and stand up on his own two feet, which is scary and vulnerable,” Dunster told Observer. “Every time he feels embarrassed or ashamed or belittled, his initial response is to fall back into his old ways. We see the impact that it has on him and the team sees it.”
Jamie is at a fragile point in his life as he strives for redemption. As we’ve seen with his character, he’s always at risk of self-sabotage and personal setbacks when his father reintroduces his devastating brand of toxicity into his life. It was the underlying cause of his selfish behavior in Season 1 and the driving factor behind his reality TV stint to start Season 2. This time around, however, Jamie has a support system in place. It’s notable that it is Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) and not Ted who goes to comfort the wounded star, bringing their relationship to a new point.
“I think that the big difference here is that he has been knocked down, but the team is actually trying to pick him up this time, which is a new thing for Jamie,” Dunster said. “I don’t think he’s really had that support from people, and particularly other young men who he normally tries to better. And up to now, somebody who is the dominant alpha in his life, being the one who catches him and holds him, is really beautiful. So yeah, I think that it’s quite emblematic, hopefully, of saying goodbye to previous family and hopefully looking at a new family.”