Season 8, Episode 20
The Time Travelers
This was quite the odd episode, even by How I Met Your Mother standards. HIMYM always plays with time—heck, the narrator is Future Ted from the year 2030. But tonight’s latest installment, “The Time Travelers,” toyed with time more than usual by introducing us to so many future versions of Ted, Barney, and even “Coat Check Girl” that I am not entirely sure I kept everything straight…and I am not entirely sure it worked.
It all begins with a lonely Ted sitting at MacLaren’s, thinking about just how alone he is in April of 2013. Enter his trusty friends and their antics. Barney tries desperately to convince Ted go to Robots vs. Wrestlers Legends…because it will be truly legendary. You all remember Robots vs. Wrestlers, right? It did become an annual tradition for the gang. Anyways, things quickly get time-warpy when “20 Years from Now Barney” and “20 Years from Now Ted” join them at the booth to further help entice 2013 Ted into experiencing this magical night. But then “20 Hours from Now Ted” doesn’t have as nice things to say about an evening that gives him a severe hangover (and we know Ted is not a fan of puking… “Vomit free since ’93!”). By far, the highlight of this scene was watching “20 Years from Now Ted” mess with 2013 Ted about his future marital status.
Meanwhile, Marshall, Lily and Robin entertain themselves with a little spat over a specialty cocktail called the Minnesota Tidal Wave invented by, guess who, Marshall. Unbeknownst to the gang. Carl [insert last name] the Bartender named the delicious concoction The Robin Scherbatksy, since she ordered it so much. Marshall does not take this news well—he was practically Zuckerberged, people. He wants to settle the score with a dance-off with Sparkles, bitches. Lily admonishes this idea, due to Marshall’s dancer hip issues of course. Thus sparks a bathroom wall write-off until, finally, Lily lets the dance-off happen.
If all of this sounds weird, it gets even stranger. Because in the middle of girlie cocktails, writing on bathroom walls, many future Barneys and Teds, and a dance off, the lovable Coat Check Girl (a.k.a. Emma from GLEE) from season one’s “Okay Awesome” paid a visit to MacLarens. Side note: “Okay Awesome” is a truly amazing episode of this show and made me want to be friends with this gang way back in the beginning. As Ted contemplates breaking his lonely streak and approaching Coat Check Girl, even her future selves convince him otherwise because things wouldn’t end well.
After all of this craziness, we learned it was just that: craziness. Of course it was easy to see this coming given all the delusions and bizarre behavior. The only thing I didn’t see coming was how somber the ending would actually feel. While the many future selves and dance-off antics were merely swimming in the head of a lonely Ted, I didn’t expect to see Ted that sad. Real Future Ted (in 2030) tells his kids that in April of 2013 his friends were busy with their lives and he was all alone—and if he had been given the chance to go back and talk to himself that night, he would have run straight to the door of the Mother. Because he meets her in 45 days…and that is not soon enough.
The episode ended on a sweet, heartfelt and rather emotional note, with Ted telling the Mother what he would have told her if he could have magically shown up at her door a few months before they met. But, the rest of the episode just didn’t do it for me and didn’t add anything to the show. Other than a couple of decent remarks and call-backs, most of it felt flat and awkward. Plus, HIMYM has done way better with ‘time travel’ themes.
I will say that the final closing scene was brilliant. If you missed it, go back and watch three Teds and three Barneys from various stages of the future perfectly harmonize For the Longest Time.
Like Ted, we have waited ‘for the longest time’ to meet the Mother. There are 45 days left. And that makes me a little sad the journey is coming to the end.