Season 7, Episode 16
The Drunk Train
Last week, my relationship with HIMYM—and I am sure yours as well—hit a rough patch. That episode was, in a word, awful. But, I am going to chalk it up to a horribly off week. Because tonight my love affair with HIMYM was in full bloom. Not that my love ever went away—I will stand by this show to the end—but it was great to have the wonderful mix of bittersweet storytelling and hilarious jokes back! It was Valentine’s Day for our gang, and cupid seemed destined to bring some folks together and tear others apart.
Come on Ride the Train
This was the kind of bros night that we have missed for a long while. It was classic Ted-Barney scheming to pick up women, and Barney couldn’t be prouder that his protégé Ted was all about the latest idea: ride the last train out to Long Island with all the desperate-to-score drunk people and it’s like shooting fish in a barrel [thanks for the tip Marshall & Lily]! In true HIMYM fashion, the guys came up with plenty of hilarious names for this venture, from “The Little Engine with Wood” and “I think I can…get laid” to “The Whorient Express.”
However, Barney and Ted quickly realized that there was a flaw in their plan when all the drunk girls splashed drinks in their faces and yelled, “what, you think you’re better than me?!” Barney put his MIT-educated brain through the paces in solving this complicated equation of variables like spray tans and the hairspray coefficient. Kudos to the writers for actually making me wonder, much like Ted, where DID Barney go to college. Is it odd that I might actually believe he went to MIT? Anyways, leave it to Ted’s superior crossword puzzle skills to eventually solve the mystery: they needed to be drunk too! Badda bing, badda boom!
That seemed to do the trick, except Ted began to notice that Barney was acting a little off—and dare we say not in the mood to seal to deal? This could only be the result of Barney actually falling for a girl named Quinn (played by the awesome Becki Newton) that he had met the other night while serving as Ted’s dutiful wingman. Quinn was definitely up to Barney’s level—a girl who could cut through all of Barney’s crap and “legendary” pick up lines. Of course Barney nailed her, but now he is behaving as he often does when he truly likes someone [see: Robin, Nora], which is to first act like he could care less about her, then to complain about her. Just wait til Barney finds out that Quinn is also known to her strip club patrons as Karma—and Barney of all people should know that, since he is a regular! My only slight complaint is that Quinn/Karma seems like a total reset of the Nora situation, where Barney meets a girl who calls him out on his sleazy moves and then he chases her because she seems indifferent and/or irritated with him. Nevertheless, I am excited by the prospect that Karma might actually be “karma” for the ultimate womanizer to find love at his strip club.
On the couples front, Valentine’s Day was quite eventful…and emotional. As we all know, Marshall and Lily love having couple friends and take special delight when one of their good friends is in a committed relationship…are you free, are you free, are you free next Saturday? They waste no time in arranging a weekend getaway to Vermont with Robin and Kevin—and I for one am surprised that Robin goes along so willingly. As Marshall and Lily start their married bickering on how it is important to not keep score in a relationship, Dr. Kevin is ready to prescribe some serious meds…for him and Robin to get through the weekend. But not even Robin anticipates how serious a prescription when Kevin gets down on one knee with a ring and proposes. To Robin’s credit—and as a sure sign of her increased willingness to commit—she does not immediately freak (or least not on the outside like when she chanted a million “No’s” to Ted back in Season 2). Instead, she simply tells Kevin that she needs time to think and he is cool with that.
But what Robin later admits to an excited Lily and Marshall is that she also knows she must tell Kevin about her no-children diagnosis (but I guess she doesn’t feel the need to tell Kevin about how she cheated with Barney?). The medical news, of course, is news to Lily and Marshall as well, since Robin had kept it a secret these past few months. Kevin takes the news extremely well and could not be more supportive. But after the weekend, Robin really has to impress upon him that there will be no children—not adopted, not a surrogate—and she can never “even the score” to make up for what he would be giving up for her. Ted finds Robin smoking and crying on the roof after Kevin’s departure and he learns the whole story. When Robin wonders who could ever give up a dream of children for her, of all people Ted says “I could. I love you.” And there you have it folks: How I Met Your Mother is all one big dream. Just kidding…clearly we know Ted has kids some day (after all this, he better). But even knowing this, HIMYM still has the ability to punch us right in the gut with these emotionally charged moments and leave us wanting and wondering…
While this ending makes it seem like the episode was rather somber—well particularly for a down-again Robin—there were actually tons of laughs had by all:
- All of the “Top 10 things said by Marshall of Lily on their wedding night” jokes, including: “It’s hard for the little guy to perform under pressure”; “Wow, it was small but I think I felt something”; and “Stop laughing at it, Lily.”
- 10K Fun Run (with wheelbarrows) for Enormous Penis Syndrome (EPS). The problem is lack of awareness.
- I’m Not a Gullible Dumbass Disorder (rival disorder to EPS).
- Just Screaming…an experimental play Lily once dragged Marshall to. Ummm what about the amazingly bad experimental play that Lily herself was in?
- “Last week, I went out with a girl whose favorite band was Glee” (Ted not having much dating luck).
- “This ain’t my first word search!” (Ted, of course)
- “My great aunt’s going to sing, so that’s happening” (Kevin, regarding his family’s shockingly fast wedding planning).
- “I hope it’s a soupy deuce” (The flash forward to a few months down the road when Lily and Marshall are literally keeping score of whose turn it is to get up with the crying baby).
All in all, season seven is truly shaping up to be the “Season of Robin.” I feel like she gets closer to finding her future self with every serious relationship. Ted was the first guy she really committed to. Barney was someone she really loved. Don was someone she was ready to move in with and alter her independence. And finally Kevin she genuinely would have married. I say the next guy for Robin has got to be the one! If there is a next guy…