HIMYM can be a master at taking one theme and integrating it across the various storylines and characters in unique variations. While not as “laugh at loud funny” as last week’s episode (at least for me) I thought tonight’s episode was superb at bringing together the notions of unfinished business and the struggle to move on.
The episode began innocently enough—Ted teaching a class and suddenly stopping in his tracks, taking us back to a few days earlier. Barney, of course, has his eye on some girls at the bar and Marshall wants to have some fun as a wingman for once (and for Marshall, that includes walking up to girls and clarifying, “Hi, I’m the wingman!”). And this brings me to how HIMYM is steps ahead of a standard sitcom: What could have been a generic filler storyline about how Barney eventually gets a “yes” from women he seduces and how Marshall wants his shot at being a wingman end up working on a deeper level when they use these same tactics to tap into Ted’s unfinished dream of designing an NYC skyscraper. Yes, Barney unleashes his tried and true moves on wooing Ted to taking the job as architect for GNB’s skyscraper project from years ago. Despite catching on to Barney and Marshall’s moves, Ted ultimately does fall for it when he realizes he does want to take a risk to be able to leave his mark on the NYC skyline. Also, Barney ponies up and does the unthinkable–he treats Ted to dinner.
Meanwhile, Robin is still having trouble moving on from her unfinished business—her relationship with Don. I have always been a fan of Robin’s character and the way her and Lily are completely believable as BFFs that compliment one another’s personalities—Robin as the fiercely independent and Lily as the mother hen of the group. When Robin sees Don’s news program and struggles to find closure, Lily naturally steps into her stern motherly role to help Robin move past her heartbreak. Lily does this by asking one simple question: “Where’s the poop?” You see, just like a pet dog’s behavior, Lily knows that even when Robin walks into a room with a smile and says things are OK, she knows that somewhere the doggie has taken a “dump” and hidden it. I for one really liked this analogy, and I also thought Robin was hysterical as deranged stalker ex-girlfriend Robin leaving messages (not actual poop) for Don. It does make sense Robin would pretend things are OK, but ultimately even she realizes she never had the closure she so desperately needed.
As all of our McLaren friends learned, deleting one thing from your life (or phone) may be difficult, but it is often necessary to move on to the next thing. On that note, before I can move on from this episode, I close with some of my favorite lines and moments:
- Barney’s philosophy that dinner requires more intimacy than sleeping with a girl. Ya know, in Barney’s case, it really does!
- More than co-workers: Bro-workers
- Marshall knows how to explain the GNB project to Ted—a Star Wars analogy (the death star is going to get built anyways…)
- The many, many messages Robin left Don, including this announcement: “This just in—is what I’m gunna say when I’m stabbing you!”
- I for one noticed Ted’s vest when he first walked in wearing it. I think he pulls it off! They are no red cowboy boots, though.
- Barney telling Ted exactly how he will succumb to his architectural advances, and Ted crying out: I am not that kind of architect!
- Marshall’s band. I hope we see more of that one day.