[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 4, “Carol of the Bells.”]
It’s never too early to be in the holiday spirit, and with “Carol of the Bells,” Ted Lasso delivers an installment sweeter than a pack of candy canes.
There’s no forward movement in the plot here — a game the next day is mentioned, but never played — and instead, we’re treated to a Christmas-themed opening sequence and a half-hour of players invading the Higgins’ (Jeremy Swift) Christmas party, Ted (Jason Sudeikis) and Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) spending quality time together as pals and Roy (Brett Goldstein), Keeley (Juno Temple) and Phoebe (Elodie Blomfeld)… frantically searching for a dentist?! Here’s how it happens.
Ted looks to be in for a ho-hum, instead of ho-ho-ho, Christmas. He has a video call with his son and ex-wife — he gets his kid a drone as a “guilt gift” — but since they’re not all together, there’s a bit of a damper on things. Thus, he resigns himself to watching It’s a Wonderful Life in his pajamas, on repeat. And then Rebecca shows up! She asks him to help her deliver toys to children who’d written to Santa. She later tells him she knows “how shi**y the first Christmas after you get divorced can be,” and she wanted to make sure he was okay. Aw! Compare this to where they were in the fourth episode of Season 1. It’s incredible how far they’ve come.
Meanwhile, over at Higgins’ (Jeremy Swift) place, the players who couldn’t travel home for the holidays are joining their family to celebrate the holiday. Everyone eats a fantastic Christmas feast, games are played, and in general, everyone is happy. Less happy are the festivities for Keeley, Roy and Phoebe. Phoebe was a last-minute addition, which puts a damper on Keeley’s plan for “sexy Christmas,” and the kid is not having a good time — she’s had her feelings hurt by a boy in her class who makes fun of her because she has bad breath. At first, the adults vehemently deny it… but when they smell Phoebe’s breath for themselves, they realize, unfortunately, the kid was right and Phoebe needs to get to a dentist ASAP.
This results in a superb sequence set to “Carol of the Bells” where Roy and family hunt all over his ritzy neighborhood for a dentist who can treat Phoebe’s breath; more players show up at Higgins’ house; and Ted and Rebecca deliver gifts. At the last house, a dentist is located, and all is well. And, bonus — she’s related to the guy who wanted an “ussie” with Ted in Season 1, who then asks for an “ussie” with Keeley because she “played a seminal role in his teenage years.” Uh, awkward.
But the hilarity isn’t over yet. In a tribute to Love Actually, Team Roy heads over to the house of the kid who bullied Phoebe, poster boards in hand, and deliver a message to the kid. “Unless you make thoughtful amends, you will stink forever, and you’ll have to deal with him (Roy) and her (Keeley).” The cards go on to say Phoebe forgives him, he apologizes, and she wishes him a Merry Christmas.
As the episode ends, Ted, Rebecca and a few street performers sing carols outside the Higgins family’s home. Everyone comes outside and joins in, and there’s plenty of Christmas cheer.
Ted Lasso, Fridays, Apple TV+