For two seasons, Nate was empowered by Ted, who listened to his ideas, valued his input, and praised him at every turn. But how long can you call a guy Nate the Great before it starts going to his head? Reflecting back on the early episodes, it clearly doesn’t take much! The signs were already there in the occasional jabs and snarky comments. The more empowered Nate became, the more toxic his attitude.
It wasn’t just Ted, either: Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) and Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) also stepped in to boost his confidence. Together they gave Nate the tools to better himself but they had no power over what he did with them. And after years of being the target of toxic behavior — from players, former coaches, and his own father — Nate started to replicate it.
Making matters a million times worse, England’s most irritating man decided to get involved. Rebecca’s emotionally abusive ex-husband, Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head), is offering something that Ted was no longer able to give: constant attention. For now, Nate is enjoying it. He’s showered with compliments, opportunity, and even a shiny new car in season 3. But as we’ve seen, Rupert is a master manipulator. He’s exactly the kind of man to zero in on Nate’s troubled self-esteem to do even more damage. Does this mean that Nate is doomed to the dark side?
Well. It might depend on who you ask. The average viewer has probably noticed that Rupert’s aesthetic is eerily reminiscent of well-known galactic supervillain Emperor Palpatine, which I guess makes Nate his Anakin Skywalker. Yikes. But Ted himself still speaks fondly of his former assistant coach and still has friendship on the brain. So there could be hope for Nate yet.