Season 9, Episode 17
Sunday 5 AM, 13 hours before wedding
I was bummed that I was not able to blog last week’s triumphant 200th episode, “How Your Mother Met Me.” Unfortunately I was out of town and had to play catch-up with my TV. It was everything we—the long-time fans—wanted and more. Seeing the Mother’s back story, from heartbreak to humor, weave in and out of our gang’s moments further cemented just how perfectly Ted and the Mother fit together. It also continued to prove what an excellent job HIMYM did at casting this critical role.
Tonight’s episode, “Sunrise,” brought us to the wee hours just before daylight on the big wedding day, as Ted and Robin set out to locate a missing drunken Barney. It also showed us Barney passing along his bro-wisdom to a new generation and the reconciliation between Marshall and Lily. The theme of ‘letting go’ rang true for each character as a new (and final) day dawned.
Barney and Some Bros
Ted discovered that a very hammered Barney was missing when we last saw them all crawl into bed. It turns out Barney was out stumbling down the roads of Farhampton, looking to pass along his Playbook wisdom to a new set of bros. He found two dudes, not unlike the innocent young Ted from back in their early days, and proceeded to tell them exactly what he told his original bro, “Boys, today is your lucky day. Because today I am going to teach you how to…live.” Except he barfed where that ellipsis is. These guys were a tad fearful of a zombie-like Barney, but went along for the adventure. From a visit to Farhampton’s finest strip club, The Crab Shed, to an emergency suit fitting with Tim Gunn, these boys received Barney’s ultimate gift: advice for how to live an legendary life. We have seen Barney make his peace with leaving behind singledom before, but one particular line that he uttered before stumbling away really rang true: “Whatever you do in this life, it’s not legendary unless your friends are there to see it.” Pure and genuine words from Barney’s heart as he enters a new chapter of his life.
Ghosts of Lily Past
We witnessed an interesting, very HIMYM-esque resolution to the Marshall-Lily fight. As Marshall struggled to sleep in his Captain Deardruff haunted room, he realized that it was actually haunted by his wife: both present day and 2006 San Francisco Lily. Of course the initial paranormal encounter included a fun conversaion between past and present Lily, specifically what the future was like and what kind of ho-bag would marry Barney (ahem, Robin). But things got more real when Marshall’s deceased father, Marvin Sr., also paid a visit and helped his son realize that a marriage is not about winning, losing, or drudging up past hurt. Just as Marshall realized the error of his ways, actual Lily returned and agreed that staying in NYC for Marshall’s judgeship was best for their family. I guess Marshall’s dream of a ghostly threesome with two versions of his wife never happened. And my dream of an episode of House Hunters International featuring Marshall and Lily in Rome, complaining about a small kitchen, will never happen as well. I am happy that these two have made up, but still not sure how I feel about the decision. There was never going to be a perfect answer. Both got the opportunity of a lifetime, but in the end it had to be their family’s lifetime.
Lists and a Locket
Ted and Robin spend one last bit of time together, supposedly looking for Barney, but really having one last goodbye. On their beach stroll, the subject of Ted’s exes come up and we learn just how many Ted has recently spoken with, all in an effort to find Robin’s missing locket. First there was Ted’s visit to Stella in L.A., then a call to Victoria in Germany. Victoria did have the locket and mailed it to Ted, which was unfortunately intercepted by crazy Jeanette. Yes, Ted has quite a romantic history; and we learned that Robin even made top five lists for best and worst.
Ted’s top five WORST girlfriends (as ranked by Robin):
#5 Blah Blah
#4 Boats! Boats! Boats!
Ted’s top five BEST girlfriends (as ranked by Robin):
#4 Zooey (yes, she made both lists)
#3 The Slutty Pumpkin
#2 Marshall (the time they pretended to be a gay couple to sell a condo)
#1 Victoria, the perfect baker
Robin asks Ted what drove him and Victoria apart the final time, especially considering that she walked out on her wedding for him. Ted finally reveals the answer: Robin. He refused to stop being friends with Robin when Victoria had asked. And he explains that there can’t be any top fives, because it was only ever Robin who mattered to him. Robin is shocked, and seems genuinely sad that her friend has sacrificed and hurt so much because of their own complicated relationship over the years. But Ted explains that it won’t be weird for much longer…and drops the bomb that he is moving to Chicago.
We have now seen the Robin-Ted ‘letting go’ moment multiple times in the build-up to this wedding. I am not sure we needed to see it yet again, although set against the beach at a moment when emotions of change and new life run high did make it extra poignant. I could have skipped the ‘Robin floating away like a balloon’ motif. We get it… he is letting her go. Ted just doesn’t know quite yet that his true love is literally around the corner…or on the other side of his hotel room balcony.