'Ted Lasso' Season 3 Premiere: Bad Rankings and Breakups Make for a Melancholy Return to Richmond

The good-hearted Apple TV+ comedy returned Wednesday -- but it seems like there's plenty of drama ahead.

Spoiler alert! Warning, spoilers ahead for Ted Lasso's season 3 premiere, "Smells Like Mean Spirit."

Ted Lasso finally returned on Wednesday, debuting the first episode of its third -- and likely final -- season. 

However, for a show that's built a reputation on gentle, feel-good comedy, it seems like the final part of the journey might be a bit heavy, as nearly all of our favorite characters start out the season dealing with some darkness in their lives.

First, there's Ted (Jason Sudeikis), who is starting to have some existential questions about why he's still across the pond after all -- especially after a long visit from his son, Henry (Gus Turner), and a viral moment when he's spotted taking the AFC Richmond team down into the London sewers. (It's a metaphor!)

Then there's Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham), who's become obsessed with the fact that Richmond is last in nearly every pre-season ranking, while West Ham United is toward the top of each list, headed up by the sinister combination of her ex-husband, Rupert (Anthony Head), and former Richmond kit man Nate (Nick Mohammed). 

And finally, Keeley (Juno Temple) and Roy (Brett Goldstein) save the biggest heartbreak for last, confirming that the tension between them at the end of season 2 did ultimately lead to a split -- though it seems they don't see eye to eye about whether it was a "break" or a "breakup."

Ultimately, by episode's end, there are some things to feel good about. Ted refuses to play ball when Nate calls him out in a live press conference, instead turning the joke back on himself and killing his former assistant with kindness. And Rebecca realizes that the best way to deal with her anxieties about Rupert are to "let Ted be Ted" -- at least for now.

As for the final reveal that Ted's ex-wife has a new "friend" who is giving Henry expensive gifts? Well, it seems like the season 3 drama won't just be on the pitch.

ET spoke with Sudeikis ahead of the season's premiere, and he opened up about why the show's creative team is sticking to the plan to end Ted Lasso after three seasons -- despite the critical acclaim and awards haul the series has garnered so far.

"I mean, that's how we went about writing it, that we wanted to close up this chapter of it -- so much changed with when you hire writers, when you cast it, just based on the elements of the day like, 'Oh, we want this to happen, but oh, it’s raining,' so you have go with the flow," Sudeikis said. "So, there’s good ways to go with the flow, and there’s adjustments. It’s all been splendid and harmonious, but the idea was to do three years. I mean, if we had the opportunity, if we were able to, never know how something's going to be received."

He continued, "This thing could have really been a stinky turd, or it could have been just what it is, and people still not like it and not get to do it. The fact that we get to do it -- lovely."

Ted Lasso season 3 is streaming now on Apple TV+, with new episodes debuting every Wednesday.