After the debacle that was last week’s episode of How I Met You Mother, I was hesitant to tune back in this week. I am usually all for creative exploration within a genre. However, when that exploration contains “yellow-face” [one source], it makes for a bit of an uneasy journey. There are plenty of other reviews, if you missed that foray into a poor man’s Kill Bill homage. I did not want my first write up of a sitcom that has brought me so much joy in the past, to start on such a disturbingly insensitive note.
Luckily, at 8pm PST onMonday night, I was more than pleasantly surprised. In a spirited return to form, this week’s ep gave me both giggles and feels aplenty.
First of all, the opening was about one of the most adorable moments I’ve seen, thus far. In a nearby future, Ted cozies up to his very pregnant wife and they exchange quips over a poorly timed vacation choice. We all know Ted is a big ole softy and at the beginning and end of this episode, we finally get to see him in action as the protective father/father-to-be. We also finally learn the names of the children to whom he has been narrating for almost 9 years!
Immediately following the future moment of familial closeness, the present day takes us through a few favorite Lilypad and Marshmellow moments. Old jokes are recalled in misty fondness, even as Lily and Marshall are actively avoiding an inevitable fight. There are references to Lily’s out of control shopping habits and ongoing friction with her mother-in-law, as the rule of “Pause” is explained to the audience. Regular HIMYM viewers will remember that Lily and Marshall have a “Pause” rule that can put any argument on hold until they decide to un-pause it and continue. The only time this did not work at all, was when Lily moved to San Francisco in the Season 1 finale.
While Lily wishes to address the issue at hand (once her immediate needs are – ahem – sated) Marshall is trying his very best to avoid the dreaded un-pausing. (Noted moment- Marshall picturing a bug while trying to last longer in bed and then giving the bug giant breasts when the image proved a little too effective.) The heated discussion that does eventually follow leads to a poignant and emotional reveal. This could very well be a turning point in their relationship. It is left very open-ended, with Lily storming out before anything is resolved.
(Not the happiest reunion…)
Meanwhile, Ted, Barney, and Robin linger at the hotel bar, having discovered a new level of drunkenness that Barney has never reached before – to Ted and Robin’s knowledge. In classic HIMYM style, history is once again revised and recreated as we, the viewer, are informed of the various previously known states of Barney’s inebriation. Never before seen moments from the past are shown in montage to illustrate. Ted and Robin can’t pass up the opportunity to finally see the cards that Barney plays so close to his chest.
While I’m personally still a little unclear if there will or will not be a bear at the wedding, we now know what Barney does for a living. After seasons of responding only with “Please…” when asked, it is shown at long last that he has been telling the truth about that all along. PLEASE is an acronym for the position he holds – one that Robin finds most unsettling at first glance. As it turns out, Barney accepted the position with a slow burning plot for vengeance in mind, many, many years ago. As usually happens in what appears to be Barney’s more unsavory dealings, there is a twist that reminds us this bad boy really does have a heart of gold.
(Can’t ya’ feel the goodness in him? )
One of the things I have always loved most about HIMYM is its ability to seamlessly tie in many bizarre factors that seem otherwise unrelated. The continuity turns countless throwaway mentions into significant plot points. This episode reminded me of just how much fun the writers seem to have while doing that.