“Ted Lasso” Season Three Is As Heartwarming and Hilarious As Ever

By Annilee Hampton

After a 17-month hiatus, the multiple Emmy-winning comedy “Ted Lasso” has returned for its third and potentially final season.

The new season returns to the familiar settings and characters that audiences have grown to love, following Ted Lasso, played by Jason Sudeikis, as he coaches the English professional soccer team AFC Richmond. The show retains its signature humor, with there being multiple laugh-out-loud moments in the four episodes released at the time of this review. Beyond the humor, “Ted Lasso” has a genuine sincerity to it. The show explores mental health, family and the relationships between people in a way that connects deeply with its viewers. 

The series’ biggest strength lies in its cast. The show continues to invite viewers to see the complexities in its characters, recognizing that nothing is as black and white as it may seem. No character is entirely good or entirely bad, and everyone has potential for growth. The interactions amongst the cast rarely go as one might assume, frequently subverting any expected drama for a more human connection between the characters. The characters’ growth throughout the series shines through in the third season – not just in Ted himself, but in the people surrounding him. In addition, new characters are added to the cast in a way that does not take away from the regulars that viewers have come to love, but instead add to their already established plotlines. Overall, “Ted Lasso” has created a truly compelling ensemble of characters whose stories will stick with viewers long after an episode ends.

Episodes in the third season have a longer runtime than those of the previous season, with every episode released so far being between forty and fifty minutes long. This gives the show the opportunity to explore its cast and setting in much greater detail than in prior seasons, with previously minor characters being given storylines that tie heavily into the season’s overall narrative. One of these characters is journalist Trent Crimm, played by James Lance, who appeared in less than half of the episodes in prior seasons. This season, however, Crimm is a constant presence as he writes a book about AFC Richmond’s season. He is an excellent addition to the main cast, with his character being explored in multiple fascinating and unexpected ways. Another standout is AFC Richmond player Colin Hughes, played by Billy Harris, whose role in the series was previously limited to little more than comic relief. This season delves into his life outside of the team, adding much more depth to his character and more context to his actions in the first two seasons. His storyline is one of the most intriguing of the season, and goes to show how deliberate even what may have once seemed like a throwaway line can be.

The largest question surrounding season three does not  surround any one character or storyline – it is the question of whether or not it is the show’s final season. The cast and crew have not directly given an answer, but judging from the first third of the season, the show does seem to be setting up an end to this chapter of Ted’s story. What remains to be seen is if this ending will be as satisfying as the rest of the show has been. If the beginning of season three is any indication, “Ted Lasso” will have a strong conclusion; however, audiences may find it difficult to have to say goodbye to it for good.

“Shadow and Bone” Season Two: Beautiful But Disappointing

By Bridget Norton
Staff Writer

Season two of Shadow and Bone came out on Mar. 16, roughly two years after the first season release, and has a run of eight episodes. The TV series is based on the book series by Leigh Bardugho.  Similar to the first season, the show incorporates the characters of the “Six of Crows” Duology and some of the plot points. 

At the end of season one, Alina is taken into the fold by the darkling to expand its presence in Ravka. However, with her expanded abilities as the amplified Sun Summoner, Alina is able to defeat the Darkling during a final battle. The season ends with Alina traveling across the sea to recruit allies and the crows returning to Keterdam after failing to kidnap Alina. However, though the characters think the Darkling is dead, the final scene of the season revealed that he was still alive. 

This is where season two picks up. In this season the Darkling wields a new power: the ability to create and control shadow monsters. Alina and her companion Mal search for the other two amplifiers that will allow her to destroy the fold fully. They are joined by a new character, Prince Nikolai Lantsov of Ravka, who is disguised as a privateer named Sturmhond. The crows separately deal with many opposing forces: Dreesen who had hired them for their failed mission, the rival gang leader Pekka Rollins, and Matthias being in Hellgate Prison. They are also joined by the new character Wylan, played by Jack Wolfe. 

While the season had a good set up in the first episode, its pacing was rushed in the other seven episodes. This is likely because the season covered six of Bardugho’s Grisha Verse books: the last two books of the Grisha series, pieces of both “Six of Crows” books, and pieces of the duology that follows Nikolai after the “Six of Crows” stories. 

There are so many plots and subplots shoved into each episode that it is  hard to focus on any particular character or group, despite there being some truly gorgeous arcs and relationships at play. This led to ‘the crow phenomenon,’ focusing on the crow characters and skipping across the parts of the episodes that do not feature them. This was a sentiment shared by SMCM senior Ellie Pratt, who stated that she “much preferred watching the crows” and skipped over most Grisha content.

SMCM freshman Grace Jewitt expressed an opposing opinion, saying she thought “the plot was well developed in a way that makes the show enjoyable to watch.” She also acknowledged that she had never read the books before so that may have impacted her viewing experience. She suggested thinking of the show “as its own thing separate from the books” to make it more enjoyable. 

One good point of the season was the costumes and mythology building. The costumes were detailed and seemed straight from the book, just like in the first season. The colors are vivid yet match the serious tone of the show perfectly. While worldbuilding in fantasy stories can  be overwhelming, the show successfully immerses the viewer in  a magic system by explaining only when necessary.

The Darkling was, as always, perfectly portrayed by Ben Barnes. The character has become even more unhinged and is bent on revenge, but Barnes is able to bring humanity to the character that makes you almost want to root for him, even though he’s the villain. While Jessie Mei Li does an amazing job of showing Alina and her growing determination to gain power, the characters around her seem to overshadow her. One example of this is the new character of Nikolai, who at some points may overact, but fits perfectly in the fantasy story. 

While season three has not been confirmed by Netflix, it is still the early stages of the season’s release so a renewal may still happen. None of the major plots from the Crows’ books have been used yet, meaning that an upcoming season could be  dedicated to the Crow’s heist on the Ice Court of the neighboring kingdom Fjerde. This hope is also shared by Pratt, as their books were “10x more enjoyable.” Overall, the season was pleasant to watch but disappointing for readers, so if you have not read the books yet, definitely watch the show before you read them so you can get full enjoyment out of the episodes. 

Lana Del Rey Gets Personal in Her New Album

By Riley Sandoval

American dream-pop icon Lana Del Rey released her new album on March 24th. “Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd,” is her ninth studio album with 16 new songs, including three singles that were released earlier. While this album still has that unique sound and aesthetic of a Lana Del Rey album, some fans still prefer her older music. She gets much more personal in this album than in other albums from the past. 

The three singles released before the official release are arguably the best songs from the new album, with “A&W” as my personal favorite. The song starts off slow but includes a rap verse towards the end that scratches an itch in my brain that I didn’t know I had. (I consider this to be rapping for Lana, but it does not come close to the actual genre of rap music.) Another song, “Peppers,” includes some similar rap verses and a very catchy beat that simply slays too close to the sun.

This album, and most of Del Rey’s music, is very poetic. She is singing beautifully, but also feeding us complex verses that express very personal and difficult feelings. SMCM student Charlotte Mayer said, “I think this album was more personal to her. She sings a lot about her family and her past. A lot of the songs are softer and quieter. And the titles are super long.” Some of these long titles include the album’s namesake, “Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd,” and another named, “Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep-sea fishing.” Del Rey took some more artistic liberties with this album compared to her older content. This album really is an artistic expression of her life. However, there are a few songs, especially “Judah Smith Interlude,” and “Jon Batiste Interlude,” that do not seem enjoyable to listen to if you aren’t in a certain mindset to really tune in. 

One song, “Paris, Texas,” sounds like an eerie lullaby that belongs in a Tim Burton movie like “Sweeney Todd.” Another song, “Fingertips,” sounds confusing, but it does an excellent job of portraying her feelings of uncertainty and trying to process her own emotions. “Kintsugi” and “Let the Light In” reflect feelings of happiness after a time of sorrow. 

With the different vibes of this album, some Del Rey fans still prefer her older music. SMCM student Ally Weaver said, “The new album is really amazing, but some of them were too slow. I was falling asleep.” Mayer also added that  she “enjoyed this album but not as much as the other ones,” as they are iconic. The album is still an incredible listen with a rollercoaster of emotions. If you aren’t already a Lana Del Rey fan, it might be better to start off with some of her older music. If you are a hardcore fan, I’m sure you will quickly fall in love with the tunnel under Ocean Blvd.