WARNING: Spoilers ahead! You may want to consider revisiting this after you have seen the episode.
Wow, this week’s episode moves things right along! We are only in the season’s third episode and already they come at with some heavy feels. While we get some time with a handful of characters, there are two heavy hitter moments that come to us through Sam and Jamie. Let’s dive in!
Sam is a clearly a lovable sweetheart. An optimist through and through, he’s almost always smiling and cheerful. He also has a clear love and respect for his father and absolutely cherishes making his father proud. So as Sam is getting his first big photoshoot gig with Richmond’s largest sponsor, Dubai Air, we can feel his excitement at stepping up to be a public figure for the team. And when he finally shares the big news, and the main photo from his shoot, with his dad, I felt just as excited as he did for his dad’s reaction. Except the reaction Sam receives is disappointment, as Sam finds out about the environmental horrors Dubai Air’s parent company has committed in his home country Nigeria. This it’s Sam hard, but it also hit me just as hard. I wasn’t even aware of how much it was a given to me that his father would be super excited and proud of his son, that when Sam was met with disappointment, I truly felt the hurt we saw on his face.
Jamie knows he’s on everyone’s bad side and seems to genuinely want to show that he is committed to being a part of the team. This naturally does not go well for a majority of the episode as the team yells their grievances at him and play rough during practice. Jamie to his credit, takes it all and never pushes back as he attempts to figure out how to be accepted onto the team. At one point he tries to talk to Keeley about his problems, and she promptly drags him into of Dr. Fieldstone’s office. Jamie sits down and is totally fine with jumping right into his first therapy session. So far I’ve been really enjoying the show’s dealing with therapy. Most everyone (except Ted) just leans into working with the doctor without hesitation. It’s wonderful to see everyone just do the process of therapy without a lot of fuss or even making it a big deal. The show also never shows us what happens in a session, which I think is fantastic, since that is a highly personal process and one that would be tough to properly capture in this show.
Towards the final quarter of the episode Sam is still reckoning with what he will do about the team’s sponsorship and his role in it. We get a shot of him looking at himself in the mirror. We can see him looking for the man he wants to see, and in that moment he decides he must take a stand. He uses some black tape to cover up Dubai Air’s logo on his jersey in protest. Naturally the other Nigerians on the team follow his lead, and he expresses that the rest of the team does not need to follow suit. As he is saying this we keep getting cuts to Jamie and we can see him slowly building up the nerve to use this moment to show Sam, and the rest of the team, he is there for them. It’s a short sequence of shots but the tension is built up so perfectly, that even though we know Jamie will step up, it just feels so good when he finally does. And in a moment that just melts all of the tension away, Sam asks Jamie, “What do you think you’re doing?” And Jamie responds with a simple “We’re a team, ain’t we? Gotta wear the same kit.” It’s such a great exchange that communicates so much in such an understated way!
I’ll admit that I thought the conflict with Sam and Jamie would run throughout the rest of the season, but now having experienced this episode, I love that they just moved right along and gave us such a powerful way to bring them together through Sam’s personal conflict. And now that the team is starting to band together again, they’ll soon come up against a larger incoming conflict: the potential loss of their main sponsor and the financial stability of the club.
Some other moments of note from the episode:
- Ted’s gut reaction to someone mentioning bringing in Dr. Fieldstone to help with Jamie was “no, no, no”. Ted’s run in with the doctor and therapy in general is going to be something intense!
- Having Nora join the team for the day was wonderful. I love how she helped bring Rebecca into her “boss bitch” mode in a playful way.
- Roy coming in with the incredibly perceptive parenting advice: “[kids] just want to feel like they are apart of our lives”.
- The team celebrating their tie streak because they lost the game. Way to find the silver lining Richmond!