‘Ted Lasso’ The Tragedy Of Nate The Great
by Frank Martin
When it first premiered, Ted Lasso took the world by storm. It was a touching sports series about positive relationships and growth. Perhaps no character has had the most growth since the show began than Nate (Nick Mohammed). He started off as the team’s kit man, essentially doing their laundry and handing them water. When Ted (Jason Sudeikis) arrived to coach the team, Nate was treated pretty poorly. Ted wasn’t going to have any of that. So he rallied the team around supporting Nate and standing up for him rather than putting him down. Ted even saw Nate’s potential and promoted him to a coaching position on the squad.
Nate’s character arc took a sudden turn when Ted began focusing on his own mental health. Nate felt neglected by someone he looked up to as a mentor. This resulted in him ultimately turning his back on Ted in an angry way and signing on as the head coach for a rival team. But as the third season progresses, Nate’s character has begun softening a bit. He’s shrugged a potential supermodel girlfriend in favor of someone more down to Earth. To make things even harder for him, Ted hasn’t shown the same level of anger and animosity to Nate. Quite the opposite, which is leaving him feeling conflicted about their relationship.
This wild character arc from the first season to the third is quite difficult to pin down. But that is what marks the true tragedy of Nate as a character. He started as a smart soccer mind that didn’t necessarily have the social skills to excel within the sport. Ted took a liking to him in a way that nobody had before. Because Nate never had a relationship like this, he didn’t know how to handle it when Ted had to begin working on himself. Nate felt rejected and lashed out. Even more startling: Ted is a kind and compassionate human being. He did not return Nate’s hatred, which is leaving Nate to become even more conflicted about his place in the world. The tragedy of Nate is that he is ultimately a confused person at heart. He often doesn’t know how to act or how to treat a relationship, and this is through no fault of his own. Throughout the show, he is constantly having to learn and navigate what life is like outside of his own shell. It’s unclear how his arc will end as the season is not over yet. Hopefully, Nate can come to terms with his own inner turmoil and the leave the show on a happy note.
Ted Lasso streams Wednesdays on Apple+.