Tonight’s episode of HIMYM, entitled “Garbage Island,” was a little all over the place, with the various story threads not quite connecting. That doesn’t mean that each one didn’t work in its own right or hit solid moments, but it did not live up to some of the more recent episodes of true greatness. The weakest storyline, in my opinion, was Ted’s…but I may be biased because I am still not invested in his relationship with Zoey. Fortunately for me, we got official confirmation that it ultimately does not work out (which we all believed, but it was still good to hear).
On that note, let’s begin with Ted tonight. He and Zoey are a brand new couple and supposedly in that lovey dovey stage (funnily, I really don’t get that vibe at all from them nor do we really get to see it). The most we got was Ted being Ted and launching into his version of how Zoey and him met when ‘Wendy the Waitress’ innocently asked “how is your meat?” Zoey tasks Ted with picking up her final box of stuff from the doorman at her old apartment, and of course Ted runs into The Captain. It was great to see The Captain back in full force, and his creepy shadowing of the face was nice continuity from the Mermaid Theory episode. The other continuity that The Captain utilized was the fact that he considered Ted a “friend” still based on their sailing adventure back when he was married to Zoey. What The Captain does not take into consideration is that Ted could be the lothario who stole his wife—I mean, that guy must have a mustache, right? (Side note: fantasy mustache Ted looks a lot like Mexican wrestler doppleganger Ted). Ted finally tells The Captain that his marriage with Zoey should have ended no matter what because they were never a good fit…then he drops the bomb that he is the “other man” and bolts. Zoey reassures Ted that her marriage was broken long before Ted entered the picture and that he shouldn’t see himself as ‘the bad guy.’
Barney, meanwhile, continues to have feelings for Robin’s awesome co-worker Nora. Being Barney, he tries to keep his feelings to himself and not show any outward signs of human emotion…except that he cannot prevent himself from smiling every time he says her name. Robin knows Barney too well, though, and their chemistry is just as good as ever. I still think it is pretty nice of Robin to try to push Barney into accepting his feelings for her co-worker when we all know how Robin herself was Barney’s most significant relationship to date. That has got to be difficult for her, right? She certainly does not seem to mind, but the key word there is “seem.” I guess time will tell if she actually IS just a little hurt or jealous. Anyways, I enjoyed the various tactics Robin used to convince Barney of his own feelings, from trying to make him jealous that Nora was dating someone else to asking that Barney sleep with her just as a one-time, post-break-up fling (Barney would certainly never turn down an opportunity like that under normal circumstances, so it says a lot that he can’t bring himself to “do it” literally). It was a nice moment when Barney finally arrived at Robin’s apartment to say ‘just give it to me’ and actually meant Nora’s phone number.
Finally, Marshall was struggling to adjust to life back at work in the wake of his father’s passing. Lily was struggling just to get Marshall to sleep with her, or even grab her boobs! This story seemed pretty realistic (well, other than Marshall and Lily literally jumping into a dumpster) in that Marshall would take a new look at his life choices and how he should spend his days. It often takes a tragedy to really shake things up and not take life for granted. We have known from day one of this series that Marshall wanted to be an environmental lawyer but allowed himself to get swept away by corporate law instead. Marshall latches on to environmental issues once again after seeing a documentary and realizing his father will never get to see him reach his original dream. Unfortunately this new obsession begins to take its toll on his marriage, as he focuses all of his energies into this new cause. His efforts even cause MacLaren’s to make Wendy the Waitress lug heavy recycling bags and his presentation at work gets a fellow employee named Meeker fired.
The cutest (i.e. “awwww”) aspect of tonight’s story was its framing device. When the episode opened, future Ted mentioned a trip he took to Hong Kong in 2021 in which he ran into Wendy the Waitress. Wendy has had a nice role over the years popping in and out of key moments in the gang’s life. By the episode’s close, we learn that Meeker arrived at MacLaren’s to chew Marshall out, but bumped into Wendy carrying the recycling bag (also “thanks” to Marshall). In Hong Kong in 2021, Ted sees Wendy and Meeker and finds out that the two had been happily married for a number of years and eventually had three children. As for Ted in 2021? Well, he is most certainly married by that point, but definitely not to Zoey—that did NOT end well.
A few quick lines—not as many laugh-out-loud moments as usual:
- Barney knows EXACTLY how long it has been since people have had sex…he should work at a carnival!
- “You’ve come to rescue me from my capsized marriage” (The Captain to his “friend” Ted).
- The Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of Texas…so, like only 1/8th the size of Canada (Robin’s perspective helps).
- “With great penis, comes great responsibility” (Barney comparing himself to a Mother Theresa-like patron saint of sex).
- “Marshall, right now I don’t give a crap about garbage island” (Lily beyond ready for Marshall to pay attention to her).
- “He holds her package and pretty soon she’s holding his!” (The Captain thinks the doorman is the scoundrel who stole Zoey).
Were you happy to get official confirmation that Zoey is definitely not the mother? Do you like when the show throws in the love story of a side couple, like they did with Wendy and Meeker? They have done this before in different ways, for instance with the ‘ultimate girl next door’ Maggie in the episode “The Window.” I really liked it in this case, especially because Wendy is a character we have known since season one.