And thus ends a stellar season of HIMYM. Season six was truly a creative resurgence for this show and its characters, offering us some of its funniest episodes to date—Natural History, Blitzgiving, Glitter—and its most poignant moments, from Marshall’s dad dying to Barney’s reunion with his own father. It also gave us Ted’s most obnoxious relationship yet: Zoey. But, fortunately for us, tonight’s season finale “Challenge Accepted” officially brought the end to Zoey. But it also brought many, many new beginnings.
“Challenge Accepted” started with Ted confirming that he and Zoey indeed broke up, at which point there was a collective cry of glee heard round the TV world. But, Ted admits that he ran into her the other day and she may have hinted (or just come right out and said) that she wants to get back together. Noooooo don’t do it, Ted. Barney and Robin are onto Ted’s sketchy secretive behavior and use their collective brainpower—plus a stop at “Sniffle” Lily’s—to figure out where Ted has agreed to meet up with Zoey for coffee. They know how Ted’s rebound brain works…any little thing, from a bad sunburn to mating pandas at the zoo, could flip a switch in Ted and make him want to suddenly reconcile with an ex-girlfriend. They must intercept his play—and the fantastic comedic duo that is Ro-Barn does not disappoint. Thanks to Ranjit’s (ahhh Ranjit!!) awesome driving skills, they arrive in time to tackle Ted mid flower purchase. Ted realizes he doesn’t belong with Zoey and has another woman deliver the flower to her. Only that woman gave it to a different blonde…the mother of Ted’s future children—psych! Oh yeah, you got us real good Ted [please note the sarcasm]. At this point, are your kids even listening to your stories anymore? That’s OK—because I am!
On the Marshall and Lily front, Lily orders their favorite soup from the world’s most disgusting food shack ever. Either this place has an in with the health inspector or…the health inspectors die immediately after eating there and thus cannot report on it. So, it is no surprise that Lily starts puking big time soon after consuming that soup. Except that the moment she started puking and Marshall started making such a big deal about the food poisoning hitting him in exactly three hours time, I knew that Marshall was not going to get food poisoning, but that Lily was finally pregnant. And that was because this episode pretty much was the reverse countdown of “Big News.” Earlier this year, a series of descending numbers counted down to something big in an episode in which Lily and Marshall investigated their fertility. But the surprise was on everyone: the end of the episode came and Marshall learned his dad died. This time, Marshall counted down the hours (during a ridiculously tormenting job interview) for awful sickness to descend upon him, but the countdown came and went with no such bad news. Instead, after a truly miserable few months for Marshall and Lily, they got great news: Lily is pregnant.
It didn’t end there though, folks. As teased (and teased some more) we got yet another brief glimpse at that ‘wedding some time down the road a little’ that Ted first mentioned in the season premiere. Of course we already knew that Ted is best man at this mysterious wedding, and that this is supposedly where he will finally meet the mother. But, tonight we got to see the groom: BARNEY. I think most everyone expected that we would see either Robin or Barney tonight as one half of the about-to-be-married couple. Even so, this was still a very exciting reveal and really sets up some major developments. Plus—we now have ANOTHER MOTHER of all teases—who is Barney’s future wife?! Could it be the intriguing Nora, whom Barney ran into on the street at the end of the episode? Or could it be Robin, who has had her own rough year in the trenches and looked at Barney with longing eyes despite outwardly knowing that the future means moving forward. Or, knowing Barney, this whole wedding could just be some scam to sleep with a girl…ha, maybe the old Barney, but not new Barney. Place your bets!
Amid all the huge reveals this evening, here are just a few comedic gems that will have to last us through the summer:
- “Neither of you is good at pressing or even finding ‘the button.’ After some awkward pawing around, that building’s gunna fake an implosion and say, ‘Baby, that was great’ and go to sleep” (Robin settles Barney and Ted’s argument about which of them is most capable—or not capable—at pushing the button to demolish the Arcadian).
- Lily’s ‘Jurassic Barf!’ Major kudos to the sound effects editors of HIMYM for another classic Lily incident: every time she pukes, Marshall thinks she sounds like a Velociraptor. Hilarious. Reminded me of that episode when the gang tries to quite smoking and they inserted Harvey Fierstein’s voice in for Alyson Hannigan’s.
- I loved that, thinking he was going to come down with serious food poisoning in a few short hours, Marshall used the opportunity to eat one of his favorite fried foods; this way, afterwards, it would work as the ultimate diet tool! After the round-trip it was about to take, that food would certainly enter the no-fly zone. So true Marshall, so true. There is a reason I still cannot eat Potbelly’s sandwiches after five years.
- Lily’s explanation that you have to lie and be vague when you have stomach issues, or else people will imagine fluids exiting your body in all directions. Cue Robin and Barney imitating Lily’s bodily explosions. However, after seeing Bridesmaids this past weekend, HIMYM’s round of food poisoning was child’s play.
- Marshall going to great lengths to prep his body and attire for the eventual food poisoning, from knee pads to a lined briefcase.
- “Ted really can go on about a bitch” (even Lily can get annoyed with Ted’s tales of woe).
- “Ever since Trader Joe’s opened up, Brooklyn is so…whatever” (random pothead on the street to Barney and Robin).
- “Oh sorry, that’s my wife’s water birth…don’t know how that got in there” (slides that poor Marshall’s interviewer shows him).
Toward the end of the episode, Robin gives Ted a great speech to convince him to move on from Zoey. But, even she recognizes that her words are meant for herself and all of them after a tumultuous year. She says that the future might be scary, but you can’t just run back to the past because it is familiar. Well, that diddy of a speech certainly applies to this show’s impressive arc. The writers have set up major life-changing events that impact the entire dynamic: a baby for Lily and Marshall and a one-day wife for Barney. Hopefully this show can continue to live up to Barney’s rule: new is always better. Challenge accepted! Can’t wait to see what the future brings for this legendary show!