Editor’s Note: The following article contains spoilers for Episode 11 of Season 3 of the series. Ted Lasso.As dirty as season 3 is Ted Lasso received, we can always count on Annette BadlandMei from the show to showcase some of the show’s best moments. While Mae never shows up for more than a few minutes, Badland constantly garners attention as a beloved pub owner. This happens again in episode 11 of season 3, in which Mei reflects deeply on parenthood by simply reciting a poem. But what poem did May Tedu quote (Jason Sudeikis)? And what is the meaning of the poem?

May’s poem echoes Ted Lasso’s troubles with his mom

Annette Badland as May in Season 3 of Ted Lasso
Picture via Apple TV+

For almost three seasons, Ted spends an intense introspection in London as he struggles to cope with his divorce, distance from his son, and the emotional scars left by his father’s death and his mother’s refusal to acknowledge the tragedy. Thanks to everyone’s favorite therapist, Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles), Ted has made some progress with his mental health. However, the sudden appearance of Mama Lasso (Becky Ann Baker) in Episode 11 forces the coach to face his difficult relationship with his mother.



While Ted is still chewing on his mother’s sudden arrival, he takes Mama Lasso to May’s pub. Being a wise person, it doesn’t take long for May to realize that Ted doesn’t like his mother’s visit. The pub owner also suggests that Ted’s injuries were partly caused by his mother, which explains the awkward situation. Instead of scolding Ted for trying to avoid spending time with his mother and hiding in a pinball machine, May quietly recites “This Be The Verse”, a poem Philip Larkin. A poem about how parents always end up hurting their children, which should serve as a warning to anyone thinking about having a baby. At first blush, Larkin’s poem may seem like a dark take on humanity, as it asserts that the cycle of parents ruining their children’s lives will never end. However, through Mei’s sweet voice, we can capture the whole meaning of the poem.

Ted feels embarrassed in front of his mother after going to therapy and realizing the damage she has done. However, he also wonders how much he is hurting his own son after spending three years on another continent. May knows Ted’s difficulties and his love for her son. So it doesn’t make sense for her to recite a nihilistic poem about humanity having no hope. And she doesn’t. Despite the harsh words of Larkin’s poem, what the poem really wants to show is how parents most often do what they think is best for their children. And yes, their judgment may not be the best, but they make mistakes in goodwill. This means that Larkin’s poem is not about hating parents and wanting the end of humanity. Instead, the poems are about how to forgive your parents, accept their flaws, and try to do less harm to the next generation.

Mei is truly a fabulous character. By simply quoting the poem, she makes Ted realize the complexity of being a parent. Thanks to May, Ted decides to confront his mother, sort things out, and move forward towards a healthier relationship with her. In the meantime, it appears that in the next episode, he may decide to leave Richmond and return to the US, where he can spend more time with his son. This would be a huge step for Ted and we can’t wait to see how Ted Lasso will solve all of these plot points in a possible series finale. I hope we also spend more time with Mei before we say goodbye.

Final episode Ted Lasso Season 3 launches on Apple TV+ on Wednesday, May 31st.