Ted Lasso Season 3's Side Character Problem Unfortunately Continues In Episode 9

In general, "Ted Lasso" excels at developing compelling characters. The show has hung its hat on its complex, nuanced relationships and slow-burn arcs. But in "Ted Lasso" Season 3, there's a clear hierarchy to who gets the good writing and who gets shunted to the side for the sake of the overall story. If you've been on the show in previous seasons, you're still getting big arcs and major development. But if you're a new side character introduced as part of the many ongoing storylines, you may not be so lucky.

Take Jade (Edyta Budnik) — love interest for Nathan Shelley (Nick Mohammed) and...well, that's about it. She's a character who, despite having a capable actor behind her, simply serves the whims of the plot without ever getting any real personal development. The same can be said of Nate's coworkers at West Ham United and Keeley's employees at her PR firm, among others. More and more, it feels like the show is introducing side characters to support the longtime players but failing to bring them to life in the same way.

In "Ted Lasso" Season 3, Episode 9, this happens again with Jack Danvers (Jodi Balfour). Though she's half of Keeley's biggest storyline throughout the season, she gets written out unceremoniously after a single fight, furthering the show's ongoing side character issues.

Jack is the latest casualty of Ted Lasso's poor side character writing

For most of her run, Jack is one of the strongest new characters in "Ted Lasso" Season 3. She stands in interesting contrast to Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) as a different sort of businesswoman, and her relationship with Keeley is quite different from Roy's (Brett Goldstein) and Jamie's (Phil Dunster). She's also a powerful queer woman, which is always nice to see on television. Unfortunately, she falls victim to the same writing problems that have plagued every new side character this season.

After Arguing with Keeley over a compromising video being leaked in Episode 8, Jack leaves. In Episode 9, "La Locker Room Aux Folles," Keeley relays a text from Jack saying that she'll be in Argentina for the next few months. Keeley takes this as a breakup by way of distance, which is kind of how it feels to the audience as well.

Sure, Jack is rich, a little stodgy, and probably far from perfect. But the manner in which she leaves "Ted Lasso" Season 3 feels disrespectful to the character. From all angles, it looks like her and Keeley's relationship is quite strong, but she jets at the first real obstacle. She doesn't even get a chance to explain herself.

The whole thing feels like the writers just needed her out of the story, so they shipped her off to South America instead of actually giving her an arc. And because Keeley and Jack's relationship is some of the only queer representation in the show, its sudden destruction feels particularly frustrating.

Ted Lasso Season 3 has a huge cast, but only some characters matter

The "Ted Lasso" cast has continued to grow with each successive season. Part of the show's appeal is its ability to imbue every character — even the most minor ones — with distinct personalities and worldviews. Whether it's Will the kit man (Charlie Hiscock), AFC Richmond players like Isaac McAdoo (Kola Bokinni) and Colin Hughes (Billy Harris), or even Trent Crimm (James Lance), who had only a minor role in Season 1, everybody gets a chance to shine. Except in Season 3, that is.

Perhaps it's simply a matter of screen time. "Ted Lasso" has kept adding characters without ever doing much subtraction, which may have bloated the cast. Season 3 has also split up what used to be the core group by sending Nate to West Ham United, Keeley to her PR firm, and reducing Rebecca's role significantly. Every character has had to sacrifice a bit of attention, but at least the longstanding ones get to cash in on their previous arcs. Meanwhile, the new side characters, like Jade and Jack, are tossed to the wind.

It's not too late for "Ted Lasso" Season 3 to redeem itself and its supporting characters. With three episodes remaining, a lot can still happen to tie the disparate threads together. But it's hard not to wonder how the season might have looked with a more focused and refined approach. Growing pains are inevitable when a show like "Ted Lasso" becomes such a massive hit, but it's still sad to see the results.