We’re halfway through Ted Lasso‘s final season and so begins Nate Shelley’s (Nick Mohammed) road to redemption. But hello showrunners of the series: Nate Shelley has no forgiveness!
The series is so well tied that Nate’s path was always warned from the beginning, his repression and his personal problems always led to his attitude of false humility, and it was the same repressions and personal problems that led him to not only betray Ted (Jason Sudeikis), but continually try to humiliate, belittle, and even destroy his former mentor. Nate made a choice and contextualizing it is one of Ted Lasso‘s great strengths. But understanding how he falls into his own traps doesn’t mean he’s a victim. Please, Ted Lasso, Nate deserves no forgiveness.
As I’ve already analyzed here, Nate and Ted have a complex, but one-sidedly complicated relationship. Ted always does what he says, he’s not one for corners or shortcuts. Is he 100% right? Of course, he is. And yet, his choice of positivity cost him his marriage, demotion in the first season, and his relationship with Nate in the second. To save Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) and Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) he ended up creating another monster – Nate – which he relegated to the background.
Ted’s positivity – which he clearly sees as something above anger and hurt – makes him passive, absent, and even inconsequential, without entering the field of clear incompetence for the function he was hired for strategically commanding a football team. Yes, Nate is right to have grown up in his frustration of getting the job done and seeing Ted Lasso getting the credit, but Ted never stole ideas or made them seem like his own. Ted Lasso is a great person, with integrity and a great leader, but he sees himself more comfortable as a motivational coach, which is why he was so shaken by the arrival of the truly professional in the field, Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles). By the way, with a perfect last name – stone in the field – which is figurative and literal for him. No matter how much people who support him implore him to minimally counteract his strategy, assuming some attitudes more assertively, he refuses. It’s his choice and he deals with the consequences.
And the formula should, I hope, apply to Nate. No more victimizing bad choices, we all make it under different circumstances. We already understand that his trajectory is that of a good person who skids, who is convinced to become what he abhors, and who becomes the monster that afflicts him. After all, Nate has a domineering father, who annihilated his self-esteem and it is only with this father figure – the one who always denies recognition and love – that he knows how to deal. Another point that interferes with his choices is that, as he is the son of immigrants, Nate also deals directly with racism (declared and structural), so when he comes across a guy who has an apparent head on his heels (Ted), and who is indifferent to what they think of him, he projected himself on Ted, falling into a trap that we saw in what happened.
I actually dislike Nate, even more, when I see him playing the repentant one. What do you mean you talk about your departure from AFC Richmond as if you left without talking to Ted? Did he give me amnesia for that tough conversation in which I throw his incompetence in the coach’s face? And the fact that you told Trent Crimm about the panic attacks? Did you forget that you kept talking bad about Ted to your colleagues? No, Nate, by no means did he ‘quit abruptly’. You deliberately broke with Ted and the crew, got pissed off by their victory, and decided to humiliate everyone by tearing down the BELIEVE sign. And he continued to ridicule them in interviews, being rude to Ted publicly. Nate is a bad person, one who thinks he “deserves” the best, but doesn’t understand that he chooses the wrong path to achieve it.
The prejudiced and racist Jade today gave the answer he deserves. So what if he’s famous now? He’s still the same weak, envious, proud guy who now that he thinks he’s made it, wants to blow those he considers worse than him. Hi Ted Lasso‘s writing team: Nate is not a victim, Nate is not (anymore) a nice guy, if he ever was. Nate doesn’t deserve our forgiveness.
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