Season 7, Episode 20
HIMYM has been on fire recently, and I am not just referring to Barney’s 8:00 PM “fart walks” or Quinn “crop-dusting” the balcony. Even late into its seventh season, this show can still give us fresh takes of its characters moving swiftly back-n-forth in time and do so within an original framework (gathering every three years to watch the Star Wars trilogy) that is natural for the characters. We have always known our HIMYM boys to be total fan boys of Star Wars—from dressing up in costume for showings to Barney’s stormtrooper in his apartment, which actually played an amusing role tonight in the form of sexual fantasies.
Tonight’s storytelling structure was pretty complex in its time jumping mixed with fantasy—which is a hallmark of its best episodes—but it also makes it a little tougher on me to recap! So here is my attempt…
Quinn has officially moved into Barney’s sterile male apartment, but he is unwilling to even let her coffee mugs displace his own mugs despite the fact that she already gave up the rest of her stuff. Just as the girls, then the guys, give Barney crap for “asserting his male dominance” to his new love, Ted and Marshall realize it is time to “tril-it-out big time.” In other words, it is time to watch the Star Wars trilogy—a tradition college Ted and Marshall started back in 2000 and decided must be done every three years. This led to an excellent trip down memory lane: 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009, the present year…and, hold your horses: 2015!
In addition, it led to some hilarious fantasy sequences of those same exact years. In a very relatable way, these friends have wondered at each trilogy viewing what their lives would be like in the following three years. I absolutely loved their visions of the future at each juncture, based on a mixture of their present-at-the-time personalities and their goals in life. There was Ted, who initially imagined a long-haired version of himself with a hippie rock-chick girlfriend (played by Robin) and eventually transitioned to imagining a 1950s-esque housewife in Robin. Younger Marshall imagined future mustached-Marshall pumping out sophisticated young lads with a super fertile Lady Lily—until 2006 when Lily and Marshall were broken up—but his fantasies were ultimately rectified when the duo got together again. And Barney…well, his future visions always involved ditching a different hot girl, with the only change being that one day the future would bring him women with boobs on the front AND back.
Just a few quotes from the flashbacks/flashforwards (wow, it’s like writing about LOST). But really, the excellent humor was in the over-arching story and the visuals.
- “Right honey?” (Robin asking her imaginary boyfriend, since she has never sacrificed any of her stuff for a guy…watch out Barney).
- Not a quote, but the President Gore headline in 2000 Ted’s vision of 2003.
- “And it still makes sense we all live together in adult bunk beds” (Fantasy-sequence Lily commenting on their imagined living arrangements).
- “I’m KFC baby, you don’t mess with the Colonel’s recipe” (Barney’s future is always the same).
- Trey, the douchy guy Marshall first imagines Lily with and then Ted imagines him with Robin…in his trucker hat.
- “And they never saw her again…” (Barney’s signature line of every future fantasy).
- 2009 Robin hiding in Barney’s stormtrooper outfit when the guys arrive.
I have to give major props to the writers for their attention to detail and the actors for being able to play so many versions of their characters. They were able to take us back to so many distinct years—some before the show even started—and get all the key milestones right. I realize this show does that A LOT, but this episode was jam-packed! 2006 (“for real”) was a great year for Ted (he was with Robin) but horrible for Marshall (Lily had left him for those few months). Then, 2009 (“for real”) was a great year for Marshall (Lily and Marshall were happily married) but Ted had been left at the altar and his architecture firm failed. I appreciated the consistency and also how the present (at whatever timeframe) influenced their visions of the next three-year time mark.
Finally, it wouldn’t be How I Met Your Mother without a real emotional hit at the end (at least, that is how the show has rolled lately!). Tonight, Barney had an awakening about his non-changing future visions and realized he wanted a serious commitment with Quinn. They even broke his coffee mugs and farted like a true couple. But the real punch came in the end as the gang flashed to 2015. Based on his current situation, 2012 Ted had imagined himself a loner and hoarder in 2015. But Marshall thought differently. And it turned out Marshall was right. Ted was doing really well by 2015: he had his baby daughter in his arms to watch the trilogy! Now, I know that we have known since the very first moment of this series that Ted would have a daughter one day (and also a son) but this show is so good at surprising and making us gasp a little, even when we already know some of the details.