Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Ted Lasso Season 2, Episode 6.
As the second season of Ted Lasso dribbles along and more plots unfold, we start to learn more about the series’s central characters.
After her role as the antagonist in Season 1, Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) has not only been redeemed, but is now one of the most beloved and empathetic characters of Season 2. Once her mom comes into the show, we get a fuller picture of who and why Rebecca is who she is.
At one point, Ted (Jason Sudeikis) says, “I love meeting people’s moms. It’s like reading an instruction manual as to why they’re nuts.” And while meeting Rebecca’s mom doesn’t do much for the plot of Ted Lasso, it does give us more of an understanding as to why Rebecca has trouble letting people in. So who plays the show-stealing Rebecca’s mom?
Harriet Walter plays Rebecca’s mom in ‘Ted Lasso.’
The New York Times calls Harriet Walter “great” and they’re not wrong. She truly is an exceptional actress. English actor Harriet has been acting on stage and screen since 1974 and is actually the niece of the very famous Sir Christopher Lee.
However, Harriet’s biggest roles started coming in 1979 when she made her television debut in Rebecca (full-circle, isn’t it?) although she did not play Rebecca or her mom in that series.
She also appeared in many stage productions throughout the years, mostly with the Royal Shakespeare Company in several Shakespeare plays, as well as other classic plays, such as Chekhov’s Three Sisters and, more recently, Death of a Salesman. But Harriet is most well-known for her role as Fanny Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility and as Dr. Kalonia in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
Harriet was also nominated for an Emmy for her role as Lady Caroline Collingwood in Succession, so although she’s been a working actress since the 1970s, she’s had many prominent roles in the years since. And she even won an Olivier in 1988 for her roles in the RSC's repertoire.
Rebecca’s mom is a quirky addition to the ‘Ted Lasso’ cast.
So far, Harriet has only been in one episode of Ted Lasso, although she’s set to appear in the season’s 10th episode as well, according to her IMDb. Could that be when she really decides to actually leave her husband for good? Her arc revolves around showing up on Rebecca’s doorstep and claiming that she’s leaving Rebecca’s father.
But we learn throughout the episode that Rebecca’s mom does this every few years. She’ll get sick of putting up with his emotional abuse, so she decides to leave and stay with Rebecca for a few days.
But then Rebecca’s father buys her mom something nice and expensive, and she decides to go back to him. As if a parent’s divorce isn’t hard enough, having to go through it repeatedly can be pretty emotionally taxing, and we see that play out at the end of the episode.
While Rebecca outwardly shares that she knows her mom isn’t going to leave him, Ted’s optimism that she will seems to bring Rebecca just an inkling of hope. She opens up to Ted in a voicemail that she’s set to have a difficult talk with her mother that night, only to return home to a note saying that her father bought her mom a Tesla — a gift that’s both expensive and environmentally friendly.
The funny part is that we have hope for Rebecca’s mom too. When Rebecca leans out her window to invite Ted to lunch, her mom leans out as well. After the team says, “Hi, Rebecca’s mom,” in perfect and hilarious unison, she responds, “Hello boys, and the name’s not ‘Rebecca’s mom,’ it’s Deborah.”
She goes on to share, “I’m a work in progress, a voracious book-on-tape listener, and a staunch believer that if you get dealt lemons in life, you should make lemon lavender mojitos!”
We can see where Rebecca gets her stoicism from by having to offset her mother’s flakiness. At one point, Deborah even shares, “It takes two to create a pattern, but only one to change it,” and then says, "I am that change," but as we learn by the end of the episode, she is part of the pattern.
So Rebecca learns from her mother’s mistakes and changes the pattern — but will she be able to be truly vulnerable and let down her stoic shield?
New episodes of Ted Lasso drop every Friday on Apple TV Plus.