This is the second episode in a row that was tied way too neatly with a bow- this one being a holiday bow. In August.
Lots of reviewers have been generous about this sweet and touching Christmas episode, but I'm a witch, so I hated it. I found it too sweet and boring, with no real conflict. Again. It dipped its toe into depression of our lead, but then rescued him from feeling down in grand, over-the-top, saviory kind of ways.
In summary- Ted's not going home to the U.S. for Christmas because football, and his ex-wife and son aren't coming to him because....? Because she shouldn't always have to be the one to fly halfway across the world? Because he's the one that left and they haven't showed him go back to his kid ONCE this whole time? Anyway, they're apart and Facetime Christmas was disappointing, and Ted feels lonely, so he whiskey's and watches "It's a Wonderful Life" BUT instead of them then getting weird and doing a Ted Lasso version of IAWL, which would have been fucking great, Rebecca, who is now a saint, shows up and whisks him away to give out presents to poor families- at dusk, which seems like a weird time- why couldn't they have quietly delivered the presents to just the parents the night before, so the kids could think Santa/mom and dad were the heroes, instead of these weird rich white people?
Elsewhere, Higgins hosts Christmas dinner and most of the team shows up and it's cool that they all bring dishes from their home countries and acknowledge that they miss their homes and families and celebrate different holidays in different ways. Lots of room for conflict there but none taken. Across town, Kayley and Roy have his niece, Phoebe, who has halitosis and a kid at school makes her feel badly, so they go door-to-door (on Christmas) to find a dentist who will diagnose and fix her. They find one. She tells the boy to be nice to her. A pharmacy opens up just for them (on Christmas) because dreams do come true when you're rich and earnest enough.
The past few episodes have seemed like a schmaltzy montage with privilege runneth over, and I'm ready for some meat again. Break my heart, make me laugh in shock, but don't keep feeding me cookies and patting my head and telling me things are going to be alright. I've had enough cookies for now. I know, that seems like an absurd thing to say, but sincerely, burn the kitchen down and rebuild it- I'm ready.