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I liked the way the second season of “Ted Lasso” ended (and now’s the time for you to stop reading if you haven’t seen the finale). It wasn’t a complete shock to find that Nate had drifted far from his loyalty to Ted. All season long, we saw him struggling with discontent, mostly the result of his own newly inflated ego. Once the kit man was elevated to assistant coach and branded an up-and-comer, he began to expect people to bow to his brilliance and power — maybe forgetting about modesty and teamwork in the process.

Still, I didn’t sense the story line would bring us to Nate’s full betrayal, and a job with Rebecca’s enemy and ex-husband, Rupert. Yes, he felt slights from all sides, including his kit manager replacement, Will, and his dismissive father, who ignored Nate’s triumph after he took charge when Ted had a panic attack. Yes, his hair turned grayer with each episode, it would seem from the stress and the abandonment by Ted. And yes, you could see his suppressed anger when he told Roy that he’d kissed Keeley, and Roy’s forgiveness felt like an insult to him — as if Nate could never be a threat.


But it’s “Ted Lasso.” Doesn’t everything have to end happily?

Nate’s defection — including his nasty words with Ted about Ted’s son — was a juicy turn that already has me looking forward to season three of the Apple TV+ series. Unlike most of the stories on “Ted Lasso,” Nate’s shift brought some welcome vinegar to the usually sweet show. Ted raised up Nate, but then he dropped him, more or less. Perhaps Nate will eventually find his way back from hatred, but in the meantime Mean Nate is going to be good. Kudos to actor Nick Mohammed, who has made Nate’s arc so believable, and so emotionally sound, and so painful.


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.