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Season 9, Episode 17: Sunrise

Sunrise

“Sunrise” — While out looking for an inebriated Barney on the day of the wedding, Robin and Ted reminisce about past relationships.  Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily finally resolve their issues and Barney befriends two young guys eager to meet women, on the final season of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, Monday, Feb. 3 (8:00-8:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.   Sarah Chalke, Ashley Williams, Abby Elliott, Tim Gunn and Bill Fagerbakke return.

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All by 5 am, Nice Job Barney.

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And Back again Here is Solo…

Another excellent episode, as the new-and-improved Season 9 continues.  Let’s get down to bidness.

What Was Good

The first thing that I think deserves to be pointed out is the structure of this episode.  To me, this felt as tightly structured as any of the Season 1 episodes.  In the past, particularly in Season 7 and to some extent in Season 8, HIMYM has struggled with (in my opinion) trying to do too many different storylines in a single episode.  Typically, I found the show works best with a strong A-story, and then a less emphasized B-story and maybe a one-or-two scene C-story.  At its worst, you end up with three evenly-emphasized stories that seem to keep stepping on each others’ toes, and where it isn’t clear which is the A, B, or C-story.  This episode felt a lot more like the show at its best, with the Ted/Robin story front and center as the A-line, and Lily/Marshall’s and Barney’s stories as sort of competing B/C stories (I’m not sure who I’d give the ranking to).

The stories also tied together thematically, focusing on the notion of letting go of the past.  Ted had to finally let go of Robin.  Marshall had to let go of his anger towards Lily.  Lily had to let go of her admittedly insane dream of going to Rome.  Barney had to let go of the Playbook in sort of an extended bachelor-party-style moment with two neophyte bros.  And this even ties back to last week’s episode where the Mother “let go” of both Max and her “safe,”  but loveless relationship with Louis.  Excellent on all counts there.

In terms of the individual stories/performances, I’ll go from comedy to drama.  First, I LOVED that BriTANicK appeared as Barney’s accolytes in this episode.  For those unfamiliar with them, I’ll just point you to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbhrz1-4hN4 .  They’re brilliant, and they deserve to be getting visibility like this.  So kudos to them.  Second, I really enjoyed that Barney was (so it seems) just on walkabout the night before his wedding, enjoying his buzz, and imparting knowledge to some younger gentlemen-in-training.  It was nice to see him bequeath the Playbook to these guys, and it struck me that he was genuinely giving it up.

With Lily and Marshall’s story, I appreciated the comedic approach to a very serious topic, and it was nice to see how Marshall came to the realization that he was being an idiot as Lily, his Dad, and 2006 Lily all made the point that just because you’re right doesn’t mean that you get to fight dirty, nor that you get to be right by ignoring your wife and her feelings and just…making the call.  It was nice to see them reconcile AND reach the sensible conclusion that we all knew was coming.  What I’m looking forward to seeing, though, is (probably) next week’s revelation of how Lily arrived at her decision.  I’m thinking it’s down to three candidates, but I’ll discuss that in “Further Thoughts.”  Anyway, nice 80%-wrap-up with that.

Lastly, Ted/Robin.  I did NOT see that coming as the resolution to the locket issue, or to Robin learning what drove Ted and Victoria apart, or him moving to Chicago.  I liked that Ted appears to have FINALLY let Robin go, and how they tied that into his lonely childhood.  (Possibly inspired by Le Ballon Rouge , a.k.a. The Red Balloon .)  It sort of explained why Ted has let go (but not really) for so damn long.  I also liked how the other women basically gave credence to what Victoria said in Season 7 about how Robin had gotten in the way of all of his relationships (well, except Jeanette), and how it took Jeanette and her insanity to finally break Ted of his fixation.  Some find Abby Elliot’s performance annoying, but I thought in this instance she nailed it, bringing the right degree of crazy to snap Ted out of it and finally get him to realize what he’s secretly suspected all along: that his obsession over Robin is driven partially by his genuine love for Robin, but also by his neuroses and inability to let go of things.  More on that later, obviously.

What Was Not As Good

HIMYM has done well with various digital effects over the years, but this season…has not been great for that.  There was some really cheap-looking compositing going on in last night’s episode, what with some baaaad green screen work.  It’s not as bad as, say, a Burt I. Gordon film, but it’s not much better than, say, 1970s Doctor Who episodes that relied on CSO technology.  Anyway, it looked kinda cheap, particularly Barney’s midnight walkabout and Robin floating away.

Speaking of Robin floating away, what the hell was up with the Bangles’ Eternal Flame in that scene?  Ted’s supposed to be letting go of her, as everyone is, so why are we signing about an eternal flame of love?  Perhaps it’s the questioning line of “Am I only dreaming, or is this burning an eternal flame?” signaling that some characters (e.g., Barney, Marshall) were dreaming, and others were metaphorically dreaming like Ted (not actually asleep and dreaming, but his thing for Robin has been just a dream all along, and never real).  Anyway, just a weird choice for the song, given the emotional beat in the moment, or so it seems to me right now.  I get that they wanted to emphasize dreaming, but the rest seemed somehow out of place.

I still feel a little like the Robin/Ted resolution was…I dunno… a little hasty.  Like, I’m still not entirely sure why THIS particular “Nope, now I’m done” is more meaningful than the others, aside from the issue of when it’s happening (e.g., just before meeting the Mother, and just before Robin’s wedding when she’s truly off the market).  I’m just not sure what clicked in Ted or why (other than my own guesses).  I think we can blame the writing and the lack of Future Ted’s narration explaining what was going on.

Further Thoughts

Ok, so, again, I’ll deal with these character by character.

With Barney, at first I thought this was gonna be a relapse into “Old Barney,” particularly when he handed off the Playbook to the guys.  My thought was “Haven’t we done this?”  And, yes, we have.  We had The Final Page, we had Bad Crazy, and now we have Sunrise, all involving Barney getting rid of the Playbook, but always showing that he can reconstruct it.  Side note: this is what, for me, makes Bad Crazy doubly irritating, and is why I choose to believe that Barney DID destroy the original Playbook, and the one in Bad Crazy is a reconstruction that he didn’t want to admit he reconstructed.  Yeah, I know it’s not how it actually went, but that’s what I choose to believe in my version of the story.

Anyway, I thought we might see Barney relapsing into predictable skirt-chasing “I’m awesome” Barney.  But no, instead, it just looked like he was saying things he had to say to pass on what he’d learned because he no longer had any use for it, but knew someone else did.  Now, whether that sequence was real or dreamed (and I can see an argument for why it’s a dream), I think the important thing is that Barney really IS happy letting go of all of that in his past and moving on.  So, good on him.

With Marshall, I LOVED how they achieved his resolution to the fight.  He’s spent basically the whole season wanting to win THIS fight with THIS moment weighing on his mind.  And in the process, he lost track of the bigger picture and what’s  more important, namely his marriage and his family.  I loved that he realized that you could win the battle but lose the war, and that his unilateral decision of “No, we’re staying in New York,” was the right choice made the wrong way.  What he should’ve done is say “Can I give you a call back in an hour or two?  I need to talk to my wife.”  If that wasn’t possible and he HAD to take the job then and there, then he could’ve been far, far more solicitous of Lily’s feelings in telling her what he’d done.  Granted, driving back with Daphne and the whole texting the news made it all the worse, but even then I still think he could’ve acknowledged that Lily had every right to be pissed at him while also letting her come to the conclusion that he made the right call for the family, instead of just “winning the argument.”  So, again, good on him.

With Lily, I realize we were dealing with Marshall’s imaginary Lily (Lilies, I suppose), but I still think we need to see what changed her mind, and I expect we’ll see that in an upcoming episode.  The fight itself is over.  HOW the fight ended isn’t entirely complete yet, though.  I do think Lily has been selfish about the Rome thing.  Yes, it’s her dream.  Yes, when she and Marshall made the decision, Marshall had nothing else going on for him, having just quit his job.  But when the judgeship thing came through…she should’ve bent on that one right out of the gate.  I get why she didn’t, and it does make her a more “real” character, but it still is sort of an irritable quality about Lily at times.  I look forward to seeing how she flipped on this, though.  I think it’ll show a better side of her than we’ve seen on this issue so far.

I gotta say, though, I’m troubled about what’s been going on with Robin.  I started thinking about this and it hit me that Robin’s character has, for the last two seasons, been kind of on the back-burner.  She’s been reactionary and kind of an object, rather than an independent actor dealing with her own baggage.  I guess in Season 7 they just hit so much stuff with her that they kind of ran out of things to do, but I’ve been wondering how Robin deals with Barney (more than what they showed, that is), how she responds to Ted, what her reaction was re: Marshall and Lily, etc.  Instead, they’ve spent time focusing just on her saying “yes” and on the wedding.  What stuff do we have left to see her let go of?  That hasn’t been addressed at all this season.  I’d argue that it’s her fear about truly opening her heart.

That kind of brings me to a few predictions here.  If you look at this episode, it dealt with all the MEN letting go of their various issues.  But we still haven’t seen the WOMEN do this (with the exception of the Mother).  I think what we’re going to see is what issues Robin and Lily have to let go of.  With Robin, I think it’s some of her defensiveness and fears about Barney.  With Lily, it’s her “dream” of being an artist, at the expense of her family.  I’m really, really hoping we see how these two characters struggle with and ultimately resolve those issues.

I’m guessing with Lily that it’ll be the Captain who picked her up with his car and driver to try to figure out a way to work out her situation so she can keep working for him without moving.  I could see it playing out where Lily explained to him what had happened with Marshall and how they’d fought, and said that she couldn’t take the job.  The Captain would say something like how that’s unacceptable to him, Lily would think he means that he won’t let her keep working for him, and the Captain would the say that he would not – nay, COULD not – be party to destroying a marriage, the way that his had disintegrated in the pursuit of personal fulfillment at the expense of one’s partner.  Knowing how much it means to Lily to work for him is enough, and he allows her to “teleconsult” or travel periodically to Rome for a few days at a time to help him out, while being based primarily out of NY.  That would solve the problem of settling that plot point, and it’d bring the Captain back.  And hey, maybe he’ll find love again at the wedding when he meets….Robin’s mom!

Speaking of Robin’s mom, they could work her into an episode that deals with Robin’s fears about commitment, burying her heart away, etc.  Maybe her mom could explain what went wrong in her marriage to Robin, Sr., and somehow reassure Robin that it doesn’t have to be like that, and she can make her own way and do it better than her parents did.  I could also see the locket playing one final role in this as Robin says she wishes she could’ve found it, Ted tells her he had it, but he lost it, and she says it’s ok, she doesn’t need it.  In essence, “letting go” of her fear and her need for some kind of security blanket (locket…whatever).

Lastly, Ted.  Where to begin…  I appreciated what happened in this episode.  I honestly do think that Ted has completely let go of Robin at this point.  I can’t imagine they’d revisit this story again, not after the (weird, poorly composited) visual of Robin floating away like his balloon, to be gone forever (sort of).  I hated Jeanette as a character, and thought she was poorly written, but in this instance, I thought she was perfect.  Her lunacy broke Ted’s fever, so to speak, and I kind of think that only she could have done so.  Only someone as batshit crazy as Jeanette could get through to Ted that he’s been crazy this whole time to believe that Robin could ever end up with him, and to dump so much energy into this woman who cannot return the love you feel for her.

Here’s my read of Ted.  I think Ted is a guy who has an incredibly deep capacity to love someone, and love them romantically, too.  He knows this about himself as well.  All his instincts are geared towards it.  And I’m guessing that, on some level, he feels as if he is directionless and purposeless without that in his life.  Part of who he is as a person is “someone who loves.”  Not in a dependent way, but in the sense that giving of himself to someone with whom he is in love is just him…doing what he’s meant to do.  In essence, love is his calling every bit as much as architecture.  When he first met Robin, he thought he’d found a girl that he could do all of that with.  And the first two seasons of the show revolve around all of that.  But really since Season 7, in No Pressure, I think he has had to admit that he isn’t in love with Robin. But, without that…he’s rudderless and totally adrift in life.  What purpose does he serve if he’s not giving of himself in that context?

The problem is that Robin is right there, all the time, to occupy his thoughts, and to serve as an object of affection.  Note: OBJECT.  Robin the person is wrong for Ted.  Deep down, I think he knows this.  But he cannot let go of her as an object onto which he can project all of his romantic feelings.  Not until Jeanette drops the locket into the water.  Not until she forces him to confront his lunacy head-on.  And I think it is in THAT moment that Ted begins to really stop and think about what the hell he’s been doing all this time.

I think even in the moment that he says to Robin how he feels, he already knows it’s over.  He’s already let go.  It’s just that SAYING it and going through those motions is necessary for him to complete the act of letting go.  In his mind, though, he’s been making that journey all weekend.  Maybe he’s finally had a chance to realize that he’s been fixated on something that he’ll never get, and can’t even really imagine.  If so, then he’s gotta ask himself why he’s so hell-bent on focusing on Robin, particularly at the expense of every other relationship.

I think Ted needs Robin because she provides him with kind of a ready-made identity.  Ted is the guy who dotes on and loves Robin.  That’s his identity.  Take that away (such as by her being married) and Ted has to start asking himself who he is, what he stands for, what his purpose in life really is.  I think we’ve seen that process unfolding, and it’s even more pronounced in this moment in the show.

Anyway, it’s a new day and the characters are all headed into new territory.  I look forward to seeing what’s next on 2/24.

Friends with Better Lives A New CBS show right after the HIMYM Final Episode

M I X O L O G Y Show Series Premiere Wednesday 2/26/14 about One bar, One night, Ten single people . Welcome to Mix.

80 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. Craig Thomas said today on his Reddit.com QandA:

    “Tune in tonight and see how/why/when/where Barney went missing!”

    For those who are not afraid of all the SPOILERS… http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1wwql1/we_are_carter_bays_and_craig_thomas_creators_and/

    Also V I C T O R I A was the girlfriend of Ted’s that the producers had the hardest time letting go because Ashley and Josh had great Chemistry.

    But then we got the Mother who in MHO does fit the bill.

  2. Ah, Victoria! She could turn even me into a Serial Baby Maker (a.k.a. SBM)

  3. Ohhhh, so I’m going to assume until further notice that in this episode Robin will finally find out why Ted and Victoria broke up. CAN’T WAIT!

  4. So did you enjoy all the reveals.

    Should have kissed her.

    Now we know what happened to the locket, or do we?

    We may not have seen the last of Jeannette!

    No More Secrets… Right.

  5. Ooooh, these two!

    I swear that if it was any of my other favorite couples on that beach watching the sunrise I’d be squeeing my throat out, but its Ted and Robin, so…no romance, just friends. ;)

  6. What kind of ticks me with both this and the previous episode (and which I think is a big part of the reason why they fail to get hold of me as they should, given their content) is that sound somehow does not harmonize with imagery. I don’t know if it’s lacking depth or what it is, but it feels too two-dimensional instead of 3D. It sort of builds a bit of a disconnect into it for me. But I guess that it’ll be better when it comes on the telly, and it’ll probably do that in a couple of weeks, and I suspect I appreciate it better then.

    I also wish I had had subtitles ’cause there were parts where I couldn’t make out what was said. I mean, did the two guys talk about killing Barney or quilting him? I mean, they clearly don’t cut it to be Serial Killers. (And was Robin lifting towards heaven her soul rising to new freedoms due to her being a SK victim?)

    Anyhow, overall, a very good episode. Some very good heartfelt moments in it of the kind that’s always been driving HIMYM. And I’ll guess I’m not the only one thinking so.

    Last but not least, does the clam-shell symphonic auditorium (or whatever it was) actually look like a vagina? I have no clue what the building he referred to looks like (but it was a real one, wasn’t it?) but if it’s not penis-shaped and …, I can’t but infer it’s a vagina building.

  7. And oh, by the way, I think Jeanette tricked Ted and threw a fake locket or something like that. So … no, we haven’t seen the last of that.

  8. … on the other hand, given the writer’s inclination of building this kind of episodes with allegorical layers and metaphors, I’m probably wrong. Bye bye locket.

    And may the Serial Killer give Jeanette what she deserves.

    • By the way Dolf, that reminds me of one of my favorite breakfast foods… the waffle. Some people eat it while sitting on the fence. ;)

    • I think the locket itself is gone, although we may have Robin touch on it in the future. I don’t think the locket is no longer part of the story, but I don’t think Ted’s gonna give it to her. Maybe Barney does, though, because he watched Ted meet with Jeanette and retrieved it from the water himself. For all we know, maybe that’ll be yet another thing that reminds Ted why Barney belongs with her.

      Although I’m still unclear on the timing of when Ted did all of this “contacting the Exes” thing. When did he realize the locket was missing, when did he go to California, and when did he head to the wedding itself?

  9. i loved it. at first I thought I wasn’t connecting and they were going back and forth too much and the story line with the ghosts was too..”meh” but then they as soon as Lilly started tallking about how Marshall would lose her and Ted’s damn burst open and he “let go” of Robin and Barney passed on the book, i felt it.

    great episode.

  10. Best episode of the season!

    The only bad thing I can say is that it didn’t happen sooner.

    So many callbacks. The convincer, the homage to Time Travelers with Lily and Marshall’s dad, Suits are cool – exhibit A, It’s for the bride, Ted getting the signal, etc. :)

    I will sleep well tonight.

    I guess the only other thing we could have used was who picked Lily up.

  11. I think last week was better (Then again, that was the 200th episode so they obviously went all out for it…), but this continued the great run of episodes that started with Unpause.

    I’ll split this up by storyline-

    The Ted and Robin story: well, THAT wasn’t the way I expected the locket issue to go down (figuratively and literally). I figured, as many people here said, that Ted would give the locket to Barney, showing that he let go of Robin once he realized she’s marrying Barney. Instead, nobody gets the locket, and Ted realizes that maybe that’s for the best.

    After watching the episode, I realized that my prediction, while making sense, would also leave us a little unsatisfied. We needed to see what made Ted realize he needed to let her go after 9 years of chasing her, and that’s exactly what we got.

    The Barney story: At first, it felt to me like another case where they had a big cliffhanger at the end of an episode, only to reveal the next week it was just a tiny thing (I.E the carousel incident earlier in the season). I would have preferred to find out that Barney was missing for either a good reason (sneaking out to be with Robin, a la Lily and Marshall?) or a bad reason (Getting cold feet about the wedding?), rather than the apparent stupid reason we got (Oh, he’s just drunk, nothing big).

    Most of the episode, I was sure this storyline was just serving as an excuse for them to bring up callbacks to the pilot and early episodes, which, while funny, didn’t really do anything other than say “Hey, remember this? Remember how cool it was?”

    And then we got the final scene, and it made sense. I liked how he passed on the Playbook, closed this chapter in his life, and is now fully ready to marry Robin. Makes me wonder if we’ll see either Justin or Kyle in the upcoming spinoff.

    The Lily and Marshall story- It felt like they resolved this a little too abruptly. What made Lily change her mind? Just 2 weeks ago she was insisting that “We’re going to Rome!” and not even letting Marshall explain himself, storming off and leaving the hotel, and now suddenly she decided to stay? I really hope we see what happened in that car in one of the upcoming episodes…

    Overall: Not the best episode, but had enough heartfelt moments that for the first time this season, I didn’t mind that the Mother wasn’t part of it. Hopefully we’ll see more of her in the final 6 episodes.

    • And one more note, regarding Ted’s top and bottom 5: Zoe does NOT deserve to be on the top 5. At all. They fixed that a little bit when she made both lists, but still. And where was Natalie on the bottom 5? She beat him up, for goodness sake… I would put her at number 4 instead of Becky.

  12. I think I agree with the proffessor: Best episode of the season. So far.
    But … at the same time, it was totally the right decision to make the mother story as episode 200. So even if #201 actually was better, #200 shines brightest in the sky. If you get my meaning.

  13. Justin n Kyle = Carter n Craig.

    Great things come in 3s.
    1 – Full House cast reunites for Jimmy Fallon skit
    2 – Full House cast reunites for Super Bowl yogurt commercial
    3 – Coming soon.

    Speculation on where the Mother is from (since Naked Man let the cat out of the bag she is not from NYC)? Cleveland? San Francisco (see #3 above)

    • Okay noted. Your prediction from way back. But was that the real locket? The one that went into the water. Also did not miss the mother in this one. Enjoyed the threads coming together from the past. That made it okay to skip the mother for only one episode. We did start or continue the Barney thread and the lily got picked up by ? Mystery. Who do you think it was now that we know the decision she just made!!

      FYI: Review will be out Today.

  14. My favorite part was that all of the ex-girlfriends gave him the same ration of crap for trying to track down the locket. Everyone on the planet seems to know it’s long since been time to move on but him. The look on his face when the locket went over the bridge I think was finally it for him.

    Both YM and Ted have now “let go” of what was holding them back. Interested to see how Ted is in the next few episodes

  15. I just really, really, really hope that he did let go this time. The writers made us think Ted moved on (or was about to) a couple of times now, most recently when he told Robin to go after Barney (which according to “The Robin” was the blessing Barney needed before he could propose). He realized that he had to let go because she is marrying somebody else but in fact Robin closed the door a long time ago (on his demand!!) when she told him she didn’t love him (in “No Pressure” I think). I’m so tired off this!
    Apart from my wish to punch Ted, I really enjoyed the episode! Since I live in the Netherlands, I always have to wait until the next morning to watch HIMYM but it makes getting up on a Tuesday much more bearable.
    I loved seeing Marvin senior talking some sense into Marshall and I hope we’ll get to see what Lily did that night in the next episode. My guess is that she was picked up by the Captain and discussed her future as an art consultant. Maybe there will be some sort of solution like a position in New York and regular business trips to Europe.
    Ghost-Lily warning Marshall was my favourite part of the episode and the one that felt most real. Marshall and Lily seem inseperable but this scene showed that you should take nothing for granted and that relationships require a lot of effort.

    • I don’t think all “Ted/Robin closure moments/episodes” can be lumped together as the same. What he did in the “The Final Page” was much different than tonight. In that one he sort of “gave Barney his blessing.” Barney may have interpreted it as Ted “letting go” of Robin, but that didn’t really happen until now. He may have let her go to Barney, but he still wanted her. And maybe even still wants her, but now he’s trying to put the idea of her out of his mind and let go of even the idea of the two of them. Its a process, and no one moment can ever make someone officially over someone else that quickly. It probably won’t be until either 1) he sees her marry Barney or 2) meets The Mother that he really realizes she’s not for him.

      • I agree. Ted’s “closure” moments came in different stages. He stopped being “in love with” Robin a while ago. He let go of that possibly rekindling, I think, in No Pressure. Since then, I think he’s been more fixated on the idea of Robin, rather than being in love with Robin. I think he’s been afraid to NOT be pursuing her or keeping her somewhere in his heart because she’s “safe” in a sense.

    • That’s true, nothing would kill this episode for me more than if they haven’t truly wrapped up the Ted and Robin story. It should have been done ages ago, but if this truly is the end, I can make my peace with it.

    • Hello there neighbor, you’re not alone. Though I watched the episode 4 o’clock in the morning before hitting the sack.

  16. I need to re-watch again before I’m sure of how I feel, but overall I enjoyed this episode. The Robin floating away as a balloon was a bit much for me, but I guess it could have been worse. It could have been an actual Robin face balloon, which would have been weird.

    The big arc that I’m connecting with is how this is a love story for people with room in their hearts for other loves. It’s interesting because that opens it up to being so much more relatable.

    It’s great to have a story where boy meets girl, they fall in love, and everything is happily ever after. But this story – one where you’re not quite over your ex, or your heart is still broken from a big loss – this is one that more of us can connect with. It’s now a love story for those of us that have found and lost love. And yet it’s still a story about finding the one. I just love that it’s become more real life in that way.

    You guys should maybe do an AMA discussion page? There was a TON of info revealed and some of it was spoilery so I don’t want to get into it on this specific page.

  17. P.S. (I love you)

    Okay the actual PS is that I enjoyed the reference to adult bunk beds. Reminded me of the Twin Beds episode but I think they were specifically referenced in Trilogy Time? The callbacks make me happy :)

  18. What is the last date we know for sure that Marshall & Lily are still married? Could Ted be explaining to his kids why Aunt Lily & Uncle Marshall are getting divorced?

    I’m not even sure if this is possible with some of the flash forwards we have seen, but I would consider it a crazy twist if Barney & Robin somehow made it & Marshall & Lily did not.

  19. I think Solo touched on one of the key points in HIMYM which makes it so great when it really is great. How they structure the story telling. We know that they have a tendency to follow along the same track as the Ramans, once again referring to Rendezvous with Rama :

    And on far-off Earth, Dr. Carlisle Perera had as yet told no one how he had wakened from a restless sleep with the message from his subconscious still echoing in his brain: The Ramans do everything in threes.

    My favourite episodes do have this kind of chord quality, that it’s layered on an A-, B-, C-story that are harmonizing and pushing forward a common theme. One of my absolute favorite episodes is a prime example of this: The Leap.
    And there’s been several examples of this ‘technique’ throughout the years. These episodes have a very thorough emotional impact and stay with you and kind of echo the initial impact every time you see it anew.

    • Funny you mentioned The Leap, because I thought of that episode while watching this one as well. More in terms of Ted and his behavior, though. In The Leap, Lily asks Ted why he’s trying to make architecture work for him, even though it’s killing him. Ted says “It’s…what I’m supposed to do.” And Lily points out how, much like the goat she brought home with that stupid washcloth, he’s hanging on to it for dear life without really knowing why.

      I think the exact same thing could be said in terms of how he relates to Robin and his fixation on her. He’s hanging on to her for dear life and…why? What for? What’s at the end of that road? He’ll never be with her. He knows this. Why put himself through hell for her?

      I think Ted focuses on love without understanding why or what it is he’s investing himself in, just like that goat with the damn washcloth. He’s all focused on it, without actually thinking about what it really means to him.

  20. Great review. And your read on Ted is spot on in my opinion, which is why I think I loved this episode. We are getting back to the heart of the show, in my opinion. I relate to Ted and I’m beginning to believe he will be in a place to meet the mother at the wedding, which I didn’t really think I’d be able to say after the first 5-6 episodes.

    • Thanks! And I agree with you — based on the start of this season, I wouldn’t have said he’s where he needs to be. Now, though, I think he’s on his way. We’re finally seeing how that transformation took place (some of it having happened before the weekend, clearly).

  21. We have seen Lily change overnight. In “UnPause” she wanted to tear Marshall apart. Then during the fight she did exactly what Ted said in “Sunrise” to Jeannette.

    “It’s Love…. And when you love someone you just don’t stop ever. Even when people roll their eyes or Call you crazy even then, especially then. You just don’t… don’t give up because if I could give up. If I could just take the whole worlds advice, and move on and find someone else, That wouldn’t be Love. That would be some other disposable thing that is not worth fighting for.”
    AND NEW DAY
    not just for Ted But, Robin is still thinking. She hinted at it about Barney running away. We know she also says to Ted “I can’t go through with this wedding”.

    We get to see why Lily made her decision to end the Argument with Marshall. I want to see why Robin deal with her Daddy issues. She also hinted at that in this Episode.

  22. Why exactly was Lily’s dream insane? I agree that after Marshall got offered the judgeship, staying in New York is the better choice but before that Rome seemed like a good plan. It was only supposed to be for a year, the job probably pays well and Lily got to follow her dreams. As for Marshall, he wasn’t entirely happy about his current job and he was looking forward to going to Rome.

    • I think the insanity was less about the choice in a vacuum, but rather about that trumping Marshall getting the judgeship. Although, realistically, Marshall being out of work for a year would be pretty bad for him, professionally speaking. Plus he’d be bored silly after the first week. You can only do the tourist stuff do many times before it gets stale.

  23. I’ve got mixed feelings about this episode.

    Barney’s Story: I didn’t really care about this. I feel we’ve been here before. Barney’s teaching someone how to live. Strip clubs…playbook…have you met. Also, they’re constantly trying to make closure with the Playbook. By far the best one, for me, was him burning it for ‘The Robin’ play. I’m glad he passed it on but please let this be the end of Barney letting go of the Playbook.

    But I loved the line “Life is not legendary unless your friends are there to see it.”

    Ted/Robin: Good story. I enjoyed the ex-girlfriends being back. I’m sort of surprised The Slutty Pumpkin beat out Natalie. I know she kicked his ass but they did seem to have a longer and more meaningful relationship then SP. Maybe it was the romance of Ted always waiting for her that made her a top five…..

    Oh, and I do love Jeannette. She’s poorly written but makes me laugh.

    Also, what the heck was up with Robin floating away? I get it’s representing Ted letting go of his balloon but wow. And even though this is Ted finally letting go of Robin, I’m not going to hold my breath on that one.

    Lily/Marshall: Probably my favorite story. Don’t have much to say. I just want to know who picked Lily up and where she went. Glad to see Marvin Sr!

    And finally, the green screening is awful. I work in the film industry and deal with a lot of green screening so it irritates me how poorly done it is. This is probably why I didn’t love Ted’s proposal to the Mother. All I could focus on was how off it looked.

  24. am i the only one who noticed the two guys Barney mentored where exact “dopplegangers” of CB&CT…

    • I actually wondered for a second if that was them. Just a moment.

      • The Umbrella Story a true tale.

        “It’s my ukulele. The show bought me some expensive, tricked-out ukulele shipped from Hawaii and I couldn’t play it. So I asked if I could use my janky one. And we did.”

        It is probably safe to go on her site now that the 200th Episode is over. So we have an interview that she made to Vulture.

        and

        That dream sequence of Barney’s. I hope they explain it. The Strip Club was obviously a Barney dream or hallucination due to his drunken state. Don’t know if any of it was going to be real.

        But those two guys do sound a lot like a pair of producers.

  25. Here’s something interesting I found…

    I can’t establish a link to the article, but, it’s at mstarz.com
    titled ‘How I Met Your Mother Season 9 Spoilers: Series Finale Made Cobie Smulders Cry’

    It doesn’t give anything away, but, it does give cause and reason for more speculation and discussion, at least for the next 2 weeks while we wait for the next new episode.

    • Discuss on the spoilers page of course.

    • That Coby Smulders would cry does give weight to my speculations and thoughts after the previous episode about the rumored twist ending. As I said there, as I extrapolate the meager data I have the most likely is that it turns out the kids aren’t really the kids of Ted and/or the mother, and that there is heartfelt reason for this (some sort of infertility), and that it very possibly also involves someone of the gang, my guess is Barney. No betrayals, cheating or such. Just being there and stepping up to the plate when needed.

      • Not a big deal anymore. It has been on the Spoiler Page for a few years now.

        The End Game has been tightly controlled by the Producers CB and CT and Director Pam Fryman. In on it are one Camera Man from Early Season 2, David Henrie (Luke) and Lyndsy Fonsenca (Penny).

        At the HIMYM Christmas Party and again a week earlier During a Table read some of the Cast asked about it. This time the Producers did tell the secret.

        If you remember in Season 9 we had that short skit of the Kids grown up still sitting on the couch for 8 years. At that time Lyndsy did not remember the details of that shoot. Basically she did the right thing and forgot the information. David did remember the details.

        Both Kids had signed never to reveal the info before the series was over. So if Lyndsy could forget that episode it is probably not too earth shattering (or it is).

        Anyway we still do not know what it is because Cobie and all the cast have cried a lot this season. They all are ending a big chapter of their lives together.

        It is very sad for them all. So it may have just been one of those end game moments that choked her up. By the way they are just now getting to the last Episode preparations in the Cast Room. So they are just now all starting to read their Parts and prepare. They finished the read for Episode 22 Last Week. Now they are on 23 and 24.

      • Well, of course it’s two different things if it made Coby cry because it’s the final of the series, as opposed to it made Coby cry because of the episode content.
        But, as they are still into reads and preps for the last couple of episodes, I have difficult to see that it would be the first case here, it ought to be the second. The first case alternative is what I would expect might occur during the actual production of it.
        And that Lyndsy doesn’t remember the details … well, I don’t remember the details of highly significant episodes of my life 8 years ago. And I did have some heavy shit going down in my life at that period. So I see nothing strange in that a kid 8 years later don’t remember the details of a shoot that will be highly significant to the story. You shouldn’t forget that although the scene might have a high emotional impact on us, it does not necessarily have had that on the kids at the time. They’d be sitting in the glare of spotlights, with a camera-crew, director and the whole shebang. They might very well be filming a scene with high emotional significance without getting the same involvement we as viewer have. Especially since we now have invested close to a decade into this show.

        • Yes, true. See these are the conversations I have missed on the blog lately. We get an Episode Review and comments are done.

          For me the enjoyment of this show is like a Puzzle. I prefer the 500 piece puzzles to say a 100 piece to short or 1,000 piece takes to long and I loose interest.

          This one had just the right amount of information for one show.

          This information may give us a big clue, Dolf. It may be just like you say about Robin and or Barney.

    • I find this piece of information to be extra stressful because it seemed like she cried perhaps more than the others at this specific scene? Maybe they are happy tears? But usually you don’t have to leave the room for happy tears. I’m very distressed about this!

  26. I was personally a bit dissatisfied and all of that most relates to the Ted – Robin resolution.

    I think if this was the moment, which it seemed to be, then it could and should have been handled better. The locket being lost in the river was in a way a metaphor for having to accept defeat in the pursuit of Robin.

    But, that to me is not really how a closure should work. I think it felt forced rather than organic. I agree with Solo’s assessment of Ted, his feelings and his identity, but the way the Ted-Robin thing has been resolved per say makes me look fairly bad. It is him admitting defeat rather than say realising it is not a war ala what Marshall understood in this episode.

    I am still holding out hope that perhaps we see more of Ted having conversations with himself and deciding to face up to the reality of life with Robin being happy with someone else than just accepting it and trying to be ok.

    Having said that though, what this episode has possibly indicated is that Ted and the Mother meet when both are probably at their lowest – having given up on things they held dear, and accepting that they have to move on. But if that is what the writers are going for, then that story of how their relationship blossoms would be a much more interesting one, and also one we will never get to see (I suppose).

    • Good theory and perspective on Ted and Robin. I was never happy with this relationship going back and forth. Again I will say it. Love in the time of Cholera. The book Ted is probably reading at the train station. I think at that moment in the Episode Farhampton Ted was still struggling with this.

      Strange how we had envisioned this Love of Ted’s Life. Like a first love in Episode 1 Season 1 and found out right away that she was not his kids Mother.

      Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have enjoyed sending us down one path and then pulling the proverbial rug out from under our feet.

      Just like this bit of news about the End Game. David Henrie (Luke) was growing up fast and they realized that they had to shoot an ending for the kids on that couch.

      CB and CT have during multiple season been caught doing one thing and then realized that they needed to go a different direction.

      MY PURE SPECULATION

      When you tell a story from 2030 instead of as it goes along, in a way, it can trap you. For instance the Pineapple. Narrator Ted said he never found out and he is the one telling the story. So the only way would be for someone else to tell that part of the story.

      And remember this is Ted on the couch with his kids. I have thought about this recently. How could they tell this story. Well it would have to be someone that walks in on the conversation while Ted is telling the story.

      If it was the Mom, then we would know she is around etc. If it was say a house guest… Robin. Then she could walk in sometime during Narration and interrupt Ted.

      Then we would know Robin is still around at the telling of this story. Same with Lily or Marshall or Barney. So at the end of the series they could do something like that.

      They could also have Narrator Ted say, Remember the Pineapple story. I just remember or that reminded me I do remember etc.

      So also lots of good things can come from telling the story in 2030. Ted can just correct himself. It is not like it is taking 8 years to tell this. I am guessing not more than an hour or two.

      It would be interesting to add up all the times Narrator Ted has actually talked an add up the time. Yes I know the entire show including the acting is from his memory but we cant count all that.

      • Something I didn’t really think about before today is how this episode will impact Ted’s story line of moving to Chicago.

        If he truly is over Robin, it shouldn’t be a problem to stay. Marshall and Lily are now staying in New York, so there’s another reason not to go.

        Marshall doesn’t know he’s going yet, so I bet a conversation with him turns it around. We know Ted loves teaching. Why leave all of that (his job, his friends, etc.) to go work for Hammy D again? He’s running out of body parts to make into buildings.

    • I love that you said this:

      “It is him admitting defeat rather than say realising it is not a war ala what Marshall understood in this episode.”

      That’s how I have felt for a long time, and I think that’s why this episode left me wanting a bit more. I want Ted to be happy that he has finally let go of the wrong person, not all self sacrificing and noble.

      BUT in real life how often does that happen? If I were in the same scenario I probably wouldn’t be too cheerful about the scenario either.

      I guess I am jaded because we’ve had so many Ted is over Robin moments that, like someone else said, they kinda blur together for me. I need to see in following episodes that this time is for real in order to really be on board with it.

      • I’m not convinced we’ve seen the last of the locket. I mean Ted supposedly didn’t really let Robin go until they were on the beach, so I could see him jumping into the water to get it, or Barney is watching and gets it, or somehow someone finds it. I don’t know what will happen but it wouldn’t shock me if there was more to the story.

        In fact, I’d like to see the locket again because it would show Ted isn’t giving up but moving on.

        • Maybe the locket turns up again after the wedding ceremony and Ted gives it to Robin without romantic intentions. She thanks him and says she doesn’t need it anymore since it’s her something old and he should keep it and give it to his future wife as her something new. OR -even better- a similar situation happens between Robin and the Mother.

  27. Carter Bays Tweeted out a photo of his 2006 First draft for now Season 9 Episode 24 Ending to the Series. He also said 21 days until everything wraps.

    Corina is putting together a post or two for over the weekend that will include some of this information.

    On a second note. I know some of you are Big Bang Theory followers/fans. So last nights episode with Sheldon having a second taste of desert from Amy was a bit out of the norm.

    Wow take a drink and that character either looses his pants or loosens his lips. He did initiate that right?

    Seems like Leonard is doing exactly what Ted did around this time in Season 6 and 7. Kind of on hold in the growth department. I wonder how long that series will go on?

  28. The signature “Andrew” forwarded the interesting concept on the spoiler page that the twister at the end might be that Ted is actually dead, and that future Ted is another person reading Ted’s story to the children. I wrote a (looong) comment there with my thoughts on this idea. As nothing in it contains any spoiler info (I myself haven’t read the spoiler post, though I’ve taken part of the comments to the posts) I thought it might be of interest also to other people who do avoid the spoiler page. Therefore I’m re-posting my comment here for that reason.

    So here we go:

    Well, see that was en interesting new thought (maybe Ted fell victim to the Serial Killer), and I can very well see that as a surprise twister at the end. There are though two points which contradicts this theory and that would need a believable explanation. Not impossible, but …
    1. The point with Bob Saget as the future Ted is that they are alike in voice, so Bob is believable as an older Ted. Now, Bob Saget and Josh Radnor are different persons in real life, so … well nothing really prevent Ted and future Ted turning up to be really being two different persons. So maybe doesn’t need explanation after all. I retract on that one. But …
    2. The kids are calling future Ted “dad”. That cannot be left unexplained, and the explanation for that need to be really good.
    3. The idea of future Ted reading the story to the kids are good, but does it hold water? The reading would explain the fact that future Ted says “I” in a lot of cases, but there are points when he clearly is not reading, i.e. when he responds to comments or questions of the kids. He has never in those cases mentioned Ted by name (which he could be expected to do if he himself would not be Ted), which of course is possible. But here the real nut to crack is, can all “I” references in “unscripted” utterances from fake future Ted logically be consistent with him not being Ted.
    4. Ted being Dead can hardly be something that would shock the kids. If another person reads their father’s story to them, they for sure already know he is dead. So the twist revelation has to be something that shocks both us as viewers and the kids, but for different reasons. We as viewers would be shocked because Ted is dead. But what would at the same time be a shocker for the kids? It cannot be “I’m gonna be your step-father”, as the kids already refers to future Ted as “dad”, but … maybe a revelation that the future Fake Ted is going to marry Widow YM.

    If it would turn out that the future Ted actually is another person relating the story of dead Ted, we would in effect have a The 6th Sense moment here. And … since the end game has been set since the very beginning of the show, that is of course possible, it might happen, that on going over the whole series again it would turn out that all that is said by the future fake Ted is consistent with real Ted being dead. (I don’t know how it works practically in the production of the show, do CB & CT have final say on other writers scripts or do they just write their episodes totally independent? From what has been said there’s only two or three other persons in the production unit who have been in on the secret all along. That means that other writer’s have not, and their scripts must in that case be monitored so they do not throw in anything that is inconsistent with the final revelation of Ted being dead. That could most likely be said also be the case with other twist endings, but the Dead Ted explanation do stand and fall with that).

    Another, maybe more realistic, explanation would be that Ted in fact is dying and/or has to go through some kind of 25% chance of survival medical procedure due to a fatal condition. And that is the revelation which shocks the kids. (And us as viewers.)

    In both scenarios though we have to contend with the fact of the ending being one that “inspires hope” (which I believe are words that have been used). That can be interpreted as a statement that there is a situation in need of of hope. And what would better fit the bill than a situation involving a loved ones probable demise? “Inspires hope” does jive with Dying Ted but not with Dead Ted (but again, it could be that the hope inspired is for the Kid and mother will have a good life in spite Ted being dead, maybe the narrator is their step-father to be, and that is the fact that shocks the kids, while the fact that shocks us as an audience is that Ted is dead)

    • Ted’s dead, the Mother’s dead, the kids are dead, Barney and Robin are dead, Marshall and Lily are dead, and Cousin Marvin now roams the wasteland in a super-charged muscle-car, trying to eke out a meager existence fighting the road gangs and helping the occasional group of refugees barricaded inside an oil refinery.

      When all hope is gone….look for: MAD MARVIN. Coming this fall to CBS.

      Seriously, why does everyone assume there’s a “twist” at the end here? I think it’s entirely possible — indeed, likely — that the ending is simply really sweet and heartfelt, and that’s why it makes people cry. I just don’t see the tone of this show suddenly going “dark” by killing off a main character just so they can have a shocking ending. That’s cheap and hacky and wholly unnecessary.

      I think most of the theorizing comes from people trying to anticipate disappointment so as to lessen its impact. No more, no less.

      • And for that matter, to the extent that there IS a plot twist at the end, I don’t think it’ll be something dark like people are dead or divorced or whatever. It’ll be something hopeful or fun and interesting (and maybe a bit wacky), like, the Mother is going to solve poverty by running for president.

      • With a Serial Killer on the loose that no-ones been able to track down, what do you expect?
        But that said, no, the twist of course does not have to involve anyone being dead or dying.
        But that said, I take it as a matter of fact that there is twist, as it been said for ages that the end game is set from the very beginning and it has also been said that the filmed final with the kids involves a chock-reaction.
        However, I don’t think the twist will be a “bad end”, but that i will be one that will actually make us reflect on love and relationships, and that it might (or might not) seem down-beat at first but that the implications upon reflection actually is a positive outlook on life and love.
        And it is in that spirit I have proposed what I feel is the genuinely most likely twist that does fit the bill, and might seem down-beat at first but actually in hindsight turns out to deliver a positive message. Ted is not the father of the kids, and Barney is the donor father.

  29. I must say, with the dreaded day arriving tomorrow, I was thinking that for a show like HIMYM, they have spent very little time talking about Valentine’s Day. Off the top of my head I can only think of 3 episodes that reference it. Desperation Day, Rabbit or Duck, and the Drunk Train. There might be more, but if that is it, that’s only 1/3 of the reasons.

  30. I was in hospital but I got a chance to rewatch an episode last night and without a doubt, this is the saddest episode of the series for all Ted and Robin lovers out there. Of course I realized these two wouldn’t end up together, bit still, this is like the end of an era. And dammit, Josh and Cobie look good together, much better than Cobie look with Neil, this is why Barney and Robin look a little bit ridiculous to me, but there’s nothing we can do about it now.
    Kudos to make-up artists, Lily from 2006 looked like Lily from 2006 and I’ve never realized how much the characters have grown and changed until the authors literally put the old and the present versions of the character in one room. Aside from that, I’ve finally understood why everyone loved Victoria so much, she looked amazing in this episode. Also, how come she was the one who got the locket?
    Finally, the song choice was awful and even a little vulgar. I strongly recommend to listen to “Wings” by Richard Judge (Birdy cover), it fits the Ted and Robin moment perfectly, especially lyrics-wise. Oh, and Josh looked super hot when he watched Robin drift away :)
    The let go part lacked a speech, it felt hasty and abrupt. All in all, a nice episode and a spot-on description of Ted’s feelings for Robin done by authors of this blog, thank you!

  • The Mother