How I Met Your Mother Recap – The Rehearsal Dinner

Season 9, Episode 12
The Rehearsal Dinner

Saturday, 8PM, 22 hours before the wedding…

Secrets secrets are no fun, secrets secrets hurt someone. Well, that may be true for Judge Marshall and stunned Lily right now, but for Barney and Robin’s rehearsal dinner, it means more crazy plotting by America’s favorite adorable-yet-sociopathic couple. Yes, we have finally made it to the HIMYM episode “The Rehearsal Dinner,” and unfortunately Marshall is off walking somewhere (when he really could have just called for a ride being so close). But fortunately we did get lots of gang time in MacLaren’s flashbacks. And we got even more detailed call-backs as little-by-little Barney gave his bride the ultimate surprise.

La’ser Tag
It all started back when Barney and Robin first got engaged and Robin mentioned her initial desire to have the wedding in the Great White North (i.e. Canada). In a scene reminiscent of the time when the gang went on a joke roll about young Canadian Robin “losing her maple leaf,” the gang threw out one Canadian joke after another. And did you catch the entire lifespan of a couple in the background (literally they had so many jokes, that one couple in the background got engaged, had a baby, saw their child graduate and then died). So yeah, Robin compromised on having the wedding in NY, but she absolutely will not compromise on the rehearsal dinner: NO laser tag. Not even when pronounced the French way.

Meanwhile, gift-master Ted is obsessed with doing something special for Barney and Robin, like maybe taking piano lessons and dressing like Liberace? Did you notice Lily and Marshall’s faces of disgust when Ted explains what a good gift-giver he is? Remember—that flashback happened before Lily and Marshall learned that Ted HAD bought them a wedding gift after all. It’s just too bad that dressing like Liberace is easier than the music lessons (but probably more expensive).

At the present wedding weekend, Barney irritates the crap out of Robin by insisting that he “knows” she is pranking him by only pretending that their rehearsal dinner is real—when in fact it is totally going to be laser tag. No, Robin says, it really is NOT. Meanwhile, Lily freaks out that Ted gave up on his promise to perform like Liberace, but of course really she is mad at Marshall for breaking their promise to move to Italy. That is when Lily finally tells her pals of Marshall’s big judgeship news. But Robin can’t stick around to discuss this further because she gets a call that Barney has been ‘jailed’ in the security office of the local laser tag place for disorderly conduct. That’s OK, because Ted helps Lily feel a little better by letting her in on a little secret…

Oh Canada!
Robin arrives at the Farhampton Laser Tag arena, and all the signs are there for an elaborate rehearsal dinner prank. She just doesn’t know to look for them, and it’s not the prank we expect. But if you go back and re-watch the episode, it’s easy to spot the words “Ice Rink” beneath the laser tag sign. There are also some references to it being so cold in the security office. Plus, Barney’s insistence that she press the button on a toy that says “get the party started.”

After Barney recounts the events that led to this moment, and Robin still fumes over Barney’s horrible surprises that make him untrustworthy, it is finally time to press that button and for Robin to learn that she is one who has been “snowed.” In a moment where ya’ just have to suspend disbelief, the security office proves to be a flimsy set and they are revealed to be in the middle of an ice rink surrounded by their family and friends. Turns out Barney was not expecting a laser tag party; instead he was planning a Canadian party for his bride. We are treated to quite the Canadian festivity: an ice rink with giant maple leaf flag, a fake security guard-figure skater, an autograph of Wayne Gretzky (aha!), and a new special song by Alan Thicke featuring James as half Mountie-half Robin Sparkles. It doesn’t get much better than that—except for maybe Ted dressed as Liberace attempting to figure skate.

You certainly can’t say that Robin and Barney are a boring couple. It kind of makes you afraid of how they will celebrate their anniversaries. But I guess love means never having to say “I’m sorey.”

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How I Met Your Mother Recap – Bedtime Stories

Season 9, Episode 11
Bedtime Stories

Was tonight’s new HIMYM, “Bedtime Stories,” a 100% filler episode with zero plot or character development? Absolutely. But could you call the episode lazy? No way. You see, this was the highly publicized “episode that rhymes” and I have to say—if you are going to give us an episode that doesn’t really accomplish anything, well then going all-out with crazy rhyme is certainly one way to spice things up.

Rather than a regular recap, I will take a page from HIMYM and summarize tonight’s tales with a little rhyme of my own:

On the final bus ride to Long Island, young Marvin cannot rest,
So papa Marshall must tell some rhyming stories and try his very best.

With help from some fellow passenger skeptics, Marshall beings with tale #1,
About Ted Mosby up at bat, with a hot professor looking for fun.

Ted can’t be sure if she wants a date, or just a little work related chat,
But he learns that Barney had nailed her, and Ted doesn’t want seconds from that.

The next story tells of a time in a bakery when Robin takes the cake,
She ran into her now engaged Canadian ex, Simon, and happiness she could not fake.

She stole the cake and ran, feeling so blue she started eating it with her hand,
Her friends gathered to watch her finish and Robin celebrated with a keg stand.

The final tale featured Barney, struggling to conquer yet another lady,
When he messes with other alter-ego players and his antics get shady.

Barney will do anything to be deemed the absolute best player in this little diddy,
So he poisons the High Council of Players to be named The Player of New York City.

Marshall wraps up his stories when he thinks Marvin is finally asleep,
But a flat tire for the bus ruins all and he is practically ready to weep.

An impromptu fireworks show for the stranded travelers will eventually be Marvin’s first memory,
And Marshall decides that he and Marvin should just walk the final five miles, how far could it be?

And there you have it…a rhyming recap for a very experimental episode. Ultimately this entire season is a giant experiment in that it takes place during one wedding weekend. While the debate is still ongoing as to whether or not the gamble of this season will pay off, I still say I am along for the ride and willing to walk to the finish line if need be, all to see what I can only imagine will be an epic conclusion to the story that is How I Met Your Mother. I am pretty sure that in the grand scheme of things this show will not soon be topped by another.

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How I Met Your Mother Recap – Mom and Dad

Season 9, Episode 10
Mom and Dad

Saturday, 3PM, 27 hours before the wedding…

Tonight’s “Mom and Dad” featured some Zabka, some Proclaimers, some Bangity-Bang, some Detective Mosby, even a little Pineapple. Yes, this episode was chock full of HIMYM callbacks. But perhaps the most enjoyable moment for me was the fact that Marshall’s never-ending car ride may be reaching its final destination VERY soon. But really, there was A LOT happening in this episode.

Who’s Your Daddy?
Let’s start with Barney and his intense childlike desire to see his long-separated mom and dad get back together. Long-lost father Jerry and his wife Sheryl arrive at the Inn for the wedding weekend, which means Jerry and Loretta seeing each other after all these years. When they greet each other civilly, Barney immediately becomes obsessed with pulling a Parent Trap. The only problem with his elaborate schemes (other than the fact that they are elaborate schemes) is that James has the same exact wish: for HIS biological dad to get back together with Loretta.

As we learned several seasons ago, James found out that his bio-dad is a reverend. Since Barney and Robin were in sudden need of an officiant, James called in his father to save the wedding. The Barney-James feud to get their own dads to rekindle a relationship with their shared mom Loretta was definitely a highlight of the episode, specifically when it became a fantasy musical sequence a la Leave It to Beaver. Despite a few stalled elevator attempts and a Ranjit-kidnapping of Jerry’s wife, both Barney and James are shocked to discover that Loretta and Reverend Gibbs (i.e. James’ father) actually are a reunited couple!

Over in best man land, Ted is tasked with protecting Barney’s gift to Robin: an autographed photo of Wayne Gretzky! Unfortunately for Ted, while he takes a shower in his room his bottle of calligraphy ink spills all over the photo. Ted finds this odd and smells sabotage. But who? Sounds like a case for Detective Mosby! I give major props to the show (pun intended) for showing us a beat of Detective Mosby still attempting to solve the Pineapple Incident after all these years.

Ted realizes there are three potential suspects, each of whom heard Barney’s request in the bar: Billy Zabka, a hotel employee, and a crazy Canadian cousin. Everyone’s [absurd] story checks out, but then both Lily and Ted piece together the clues at the last minute… It was Zabka all along! Poor Billy was tired of always being labeled the bad guy, even by his own family. Barney making him best man was a turning point…until the title was stripped away and given back to Ted. So Zabka switched the photo in Ted’s room and spilled the ink on the false headshot (of Zabka himself, no less), with the intention of being the hero who was able to secure a replacement autograph. Ted feels for the “real” karate kid and decides to let him be the hero instead of the bad guy for once.

500 Miles
Marshall and Daphne are still on the road, still singing to The Proclaimers. But then Daphne gets angry at Marshall and he thinks he may be to blame. But it wasn’t Marshall flagging down the police to give Daphne a ticket, or leaving her oranges on the roof. Daphne was upset because her daughter told her not to even bother coming to her speech. Marshall won’t have it…so he keeps driving them straight to Daphne’s daughter’s event. Daphne gets to see her daughter and be proud (and like mother, like daughter, it is “drill, baby, drill!”). Daphne and Marshall part ways as friends, and I can only hope this means that Marshall is a short drive away from reuniting with his family: the gang.

Next week promises to be another interesting HIMYM experiment: an entire episode spoken in rhyme.

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How I Met Your Mother Recap – Platonish

Season 9, Episode 9

Saturday, 11 AM, 31 hours before the wedding…

This episode was all over the place, ladies and gentleman. But I am happy to report that all the pieces came together to a nicely done twist ending involving Mother. At first, “Platonish” seemed like it was merely going to re-hash the complicated feelings that exist between Ted and Robin [yet again]. While it did dip into that area, this episode really turned the tables on us and actually showed the defining moment that led to Robin and Barney getting engaged…and it was really thanks to Mother of all people! Not only did we get to see her in an unexpected way, but it was great to see good ole’ MacLaren’s again—not to mention Marshall somewhere other than a car.

The episode began at the Farhampton Inn with a rarely emotional Robin still reeling over the news that her own mother will not be attending her wedding. Barney accepts his own challenge to lift Robin’s spirits. This leads to Lily’s observation that there have been challenges Barney has not conquered before, namely: the diaper and the samosa.

Most of the story then jumps back to an extended flashback to about six months ago [which means fall of 2012 given that it is the spring 2013 wedding weekend]. This was the brief period when Ted, Barney and Robin were all single after break-ups. The gang is hanging out at the bar [YES!] and having a typical good time. The topic du jour is whether a man and a woman can actually have a platonic relationship. Barney claims that answer is always no [Harry would agree], unless it is Robin and Marshall, as those two wouldn’t kiss if their lives depended on it. But they especially think that Robin and Ted still have underlying feelings and their “Private Joke” salutes still linger.

Ted and Marshall attend a Harlem Globetrotters game together and have some bro-banter, but mostly it is just nice to see these buddies together in the same space after all this time! Marshall takes the opportunity to tell Ted that he thinks Ted and Robin still belong together after all this time; it also wouldn’t hurt to win his long-standing $5 bet with Lily. But the most significant thing to happen at the game is Ted getting a phone call, or twenty, from his former a-hole boss, Hammond Druthers. Druthers has been busy making meth in New Mexico designing faulty buildings in Chicago, and now his firm desperately wants the successful Ted Mosby to join the team. Ted turns him down because he still has that glimmer of hope that one day he and Robin could live happily ever after. But clearly this is the open job opportunity that Ted is now imminently headed toward post-wedding, since Robin will be forever off the table.

And we are still not at the main reveal of the episode. On this same evening six months ago, Lily and still-single Robin have some fun putting Barney to the test when they realize that that he only ever accepts his own challenges. Barney willingly accepts the ladies’ increasingly absurd challenges: getting a woman’s number by only speaking “dolphin”; hitting on a girl while wearing a trash bag and not using words with the letter ‘e’; and somehow even convincing one woman that he is an incognito Ryan Gosling. Much like Robin, I fear for the low self-esteem of these women. Finally, a broken Robin and Lily simply send Barney on an errand-challenge to buy some diapers for Marvin and samosas for Robin, oh and pick up a girl.

Just as Barney is making his purchase, he spots his “target” to approach. It is none other than Mother! She quickly proves herself to us and to Barney by once again being very perceptive. She cuts right through Barney’s crap and calls him out on his sadness and lame attempts to avoid his real feelings. The two end up having a (rather creepy for strangers) heartfelt talk. She can tell that he loves someone but messed it up; but would he rather keep playing games, or WIN the game? That is the push that Barney needs to go home (without the diapers and samosas) and immediately write out his final play: The Robin.

So, in a grand twist of fate, Mother is essentially responsible for kick-starting the Barney-Robin engagement, which also frees Ted for their own eventual meeting. And, we now know how Barney met the Mother.

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How I Met Your Mother Recap – The Lighthouse

Season 9, Episode 8
The Lighthouse

Saturday, 9 AM, 33 hours until the wedding…

Eight episodes into this final season and it is finally the next morning! But more importantly, eight years into Ted Mosby’s journey, it is finally the Mother of all proposals!

Let’s start with the least significant story, per the usual: Marshall and Daphne’s never-ending road trip. On the plus side, we get to see Virginia and Clint, in addition to some other fun little road trip call-backs. The angry duo crash at the Mosby home in Ohio [birthplace of Ted Mosby] while the bad storm passes. But, as Clint points out with the help of his guitar and conflict resolution training, there is still a storm brewing among the traveling companions. Marshall and Daphne are determined to get back on the road—after assembling some embarrassing paraphernalia from Ted’s childhood—but Clint is just as determined to help his young friends. He reveals himself as a stowaway in the hummer, but the only thing he can get them to agree on is that his attempts at music make little Marvin take a poop. It is not until Daphne lights a rage fire within Marshall that he really takes the wheel: no more Mr. Nice Marshall. He ditches Clint, cranks up the infamous car ride music, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” and drives forward with a fury.

Over at the Farhampton Inn, things take a rather eggciting emotional turn. What starts as a continuation of the Loretta-Robin feud, and quickly evolves into a cooking showdown, ends with a rather poignant moment. When Robin struts into breakfast in Loretta’s favorite sparkly top (that she won in their poker war), the trash-talking is on. Barney’s attempts to diffuse the situation bomb, while drunk Lily is pretty useless, given that she smashes a glass in rage at any mention of a law word: judge, court, gavel…anything that reminds her of Marshall’s recent confession.

The Robin-Loretta trash-talking spirals into who makes the best scrambled eggs. Loretta is supposedly the Queen of Scrambled Eggs, a title she won back in her easy days as a groupie. Now, we all know that Robin is no domestic goddess, but she claims that her mother’s eggs are the bestest—even in Canadian form with syrup. What makes Robin’s claim even more difficult to swallow is that she mentions her mother. Up until this point, we the audience have never even heard mention of the woman. Even Future Ted explains the very little the gang knows of her: she is terrified of flying; she was once stung by a jelly fish…and uhhh, that’s it. It ultimately turns out that Loretta really is the Queen of Scrambled Eggs. But it also turns out that Robin’s mom really is afraid of flying, and now she also will not attend her daughter’s wedding. When Loretta then learns from Barney that Robin can never have kids, that is all she needs to hear to bury the hatchet with her daughter-in-law. In a bittersweet moment, Robin is comforted by her soon-to-be mom.

And finally, our ever-lonesome Ted has his own adventure on Saturday morning at the inn. Remember the super-romantic lighthouse near the inn, the one that the judging receptionist Curtis refuses to allow singles to visit? Ted is determined to check it out on this beautiful morning, but Lily insists that he is being too picky with women. She encourages him to take crazy Cassie from the rehearsal dinner fiasco, despite the fact that Ted has zero interest in her. Drunk Lily later admits that this was a bad idea. Since down-on-her-luck Cassie sprains her ankle, Ted must carry her up the lighthouse, which leads to a feeling he has only felt once before. Not love, but vomit. You may recall that Ted claimed to be “Vomit Free Since ‘93” before admitting that he once puked on Robin’s doorstep. While this particular trip to the romantic lighthouse is a total bust, not even two years later Ted returns to the lighthouse with Mother. They are truly perfect for one another, and it is a perfect day, which Ted makes more perfect with a sweet and simple proposal that he can barely get out because she is too busy saying “Yes!” And so we have the proposal moment!

Once again, HIMYM succeeds in turning on a dime from silly to sweet. The various stories tonight were pretty disconnected, and I long for the day when the gang is all back together, but the moments between Robin and Loretta and then Ted and Mother really exemplify why we love these characters.

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How I Met Your Mother Recap – No Questions Asked

Season 9, Episode 7
No Questions Asked

Friday, 11:30 PM, 42.5 hours before the wedding…

Tonight’s episode, “No Questions Asked” was some good ole’ fashioned HIMYM fun! Sure, it was mostly filler (once again) but it was the kind of filler episode that HIMYM does best. It brings all the characters together with a unifying theme, and as you enjoy the fun-and-games of their competitive spirit, a strong and meaningful ending sneaks up on you. It was also a nice little nod to Halloween (i.e. ghost stories) without being an actual holiday episode—given that we are living in the wedding weekend.

The entire episode revolves around the fall-out of Daphne sending Lily a text about Marshall accepting a judgeship. According to Daphne, she was just breaking the ice for him. But that leaves Marshall on some pretty thin ice. At the start of the episode, Lily has not yet seen the text, as she is too busy fretting over their haunted room 13.  Yes, Marshall had seen the Farhampton Inn on a cheesy ghost TV show (complete with horrendous reenactments and dubbing) and purposely booked them in the room where Captain Deardruff died with his hook stuck in the wall—either that or he was a hooker who died from syphyllis. Let’s just say that Lily is not pleased.

Lily is even less pleased to have her friends break into her room that night—one by one—scaring her half to death. What she doesn’t know is that Marshall individually called Ted, Barney and Robin (plus six nameless people) to do a “no questions asked” emergency favor: delete the text that Lily received. Over the years, we learned via amusing flashbacks that Marshall had performed numerous odd “no questions asked” favors for his pals, ranging from getting Ted out of a mailbox, picking Barney up from a “lucky charm” hospital visit (not the deuced pants incident) and catching the Night Falcon (i.e. Robin in a spandex unitard) in the night’s most intriguing side note. I also really appreciated that, despite Marshall telling his friends that the lock on Lily’s door is broken, each of them felt compelled to break into Lily’s room in an elaborate spy-like fashion.

When Lily heads downstairs to complain about her room’s many problems, including the room service she didn’t order (which Robin did to sneak in), Ted, Barney and Robin frantically search for the phone. They quickly realize that Lily has the phone on her and rush off to intercept. This brings up the B-story of the night: this week’s Barney-Robin doubts about their impending marriage. At this point, Robin is worried that she and Barney don’t communicate about their plans, but act like lone wolves…like planning for both doves and a gun salute at a wedding. They may be lone wolves, but they vow to be lone wolves who can learn to do things together and, uhhh, kill prey together. Their intricate plotting to get the phone is pretty fool-proof, except Ted already handled it.

Yes, Ted realizes that Lily owes him a “no questions asked” favor from the time he saved her from her kindergartners who went all Lord of the Flies on her. Ted makes Lily smash her phone and reports the done deal to Marshall. It is only then that Marshall decides to step up and just tell his wife about his new job commitment—because he has always told Lily everything and never kept a “no questions asked” secret from her. Lily takes the news about as well as you would expect: a quiet rage starting to simmer. A ghost may not have died in their room, but a murder might still take place there when Marshall arrives.

And so we wait for Marshall to arrive, which MAY be soon. Did it look like he was at the hotel in the next episode? It will finally be morning—the next day—so we get ever closer to the wedding and Marshall and Daphne can certainly cover a lot of territory overnight. Plus, sounds like we get another Mother sighting!

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How I Met Your Mother Recap – Knight Vision

Season 9, Episode 6
Knight Vision

45 hours until the wedding…

Tonight’s new episode, “Knight Vision,” was an improvement over last week’s foray into poker, but it would be hard not to be. We got some amusing moments, but basically we are just biding our time the same way the gang is filling the hours of wedding weekend. Even though we knew going into this season that it was going to be completely different and span the course of one weekend, I was hoping for some more extended flash backs and flash forwards that would take us out of the Farhampton Inn. It is kind of sad having a final season that has so little apartment and MacLaren’s. It would be like Friends never going to Central Perk for their last season. But I digress…

At the Farhampton Inn, it is Friday night drinks for the wedding guests. That means it is time for Ted to target and acquire his wedding weekend hookup. Because Robin and Barney are Robin and Barney, they spent time pre-selecting three potential lady candidates rather than work on their lame vows. According to Barney, the decision of which female to choose equates to choosing the holy grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: “It’s like the holy grail of cups!” While they all agree that Robin’s college roommate Sophia should be top pick—despite having sex noises that sound an awful lot like a 1990s car alarm—Ted is immediately captivated by an outgoing Cassidy. But, as Ted quickly learns from the knight, he “chose poorly.”

Meanwhile in wedding-land, Lily is shocked and pissed off to learn that Robin and Barney had “stole” the story of how Lily and Marshall first met. But we were treated to nice scenes in which Robin and Barney impersonate young Lily and Marshall, and vice versa. Why would “Barn-mallow” and “Robin-pad” have done such a thing? Well, the minister at their selected church [I shall call him Mr. Gilmore] is a scary and traditional man who doesn’t care for wild n’crazy city folk who just want to use his church for the cute factor. I will pause here for a moment to say that I never bought into the reason why Robin and Barney—of all people—would choose to get married at any religious institution, regardless of cuteness. In fact, all those seasons ago (before we knew whose wedding it was) I purposely hypothesized that it wouldn’t be Barney or Robin’s wedding because neither is a church-marriage type of person. I also don’t understand the ugly pink dress we have seen Lily wear on the wedding day—and how Robin could have possibly picked that for her friend—but I will move along now.

In a running gag throughout the night, Ted continues to learn over and over how he did choose poorly in the hook-up department. Cassidy is basically suffering from every female cliché, from recent heartbreak to being fired. Even her parents try to flee, sticking her with Ted. While it certainly seems that Ted has made a mistake, being trapped with a crappy “date” for the weekend ultimately freed him to meet Mother at the end of the weekend. Can we see more of her please? I guess before there can be a wedding, though, Robin and Barney need to find a new officiant. Mr. Gilmore died in a state of shock as Barney and Robin came clean on their messed up history. But it is a history that they love.

Lastly, Marshall is still somewhere in the Midwest with the world’s quietest baby. I do give HIMYM major creativity points for figuring out a way to keep tabs on a baby in a sitcom without having to actually deal with the baby. Even though we can’t (unfortunately) speed up the travel time of this very long road trip, I am hopeful that some action surrounding Marshall and Lily’s job decisions may pick up soon. As Daphne tries to prep Marshall for breaking the news to Lily, they get into a spat over the fact that Daphne is a lobbyist for the oil industry. In a moment of anger, Daphne texts Lily the news that Marshall accepted a judgeship. The episode ends with Marshall’s phone ringing.

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How I Met Your Mother Recap – The Poker Game

Season 9, Episode 5
The Poker Game

As feared, tonight’s episode, “The Poker Game,” was very light on plot. This will likely continue as the trend given the hour-by-hour movement of this final season. However, I am happy to report that we at least got a few Ted-Marshall ‘in the flesh’ scenes thanks to some expertly played flashbacks. I need more of that, a LOT more.

You’re Bluffing
At the Farhampton Inn, Barney’s final bachelor poker game kicks off with its weird assortment of participants. Since Lilly and Robin have always been down to hang with the guys, they play as well. Unfortunately, Robin has grown increasingly irritated with James and his “marriage sucks” jokes, given that he is getting divorced. Barney tells her to speak up and tell him, but because our gang doesn’t always do the mature thing, Robin instead wins James’ wedding band in a round of poker. James claims not to care, but he runs off and tells his mommy. The slinky Mrs. Stinson is none to pleased with her future daughter-in-law and declares war.

This feud leaves Barney in a tough spot [as Chandler Bing would say: Rock, Hard Place, ME] over whether to side with his family (mother & brother) or his bride. Lily says “wife, always wife” but of course Barney tries to avoid the situation. It is not until Barney tries talking with James that he realizes that his brother is getting divorced from acting selfish and not being there for his partner. It is then that Barney decides that he will always have Robin’s back…aaand then goes overboard extreme by thinking this means he also needs to shun his mother and brother. Now Mrs. Stinson blames Robin and the two main ladies in Barney’s life are out for blood.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Ted loves wedding presents. He even has three wedding gifts lined up for Barney and Robin; well, the photo of the gang was one. So why is Lily mad? Because she is still bitter that years ago when she and Marshall got married, they did not receive a gift from their best bud.

This storyline was purely for fun—it didn’t move any of our characters forward—but I loved that it gave us some great detailed callbacks and a chance for Ted and Marshall to share the screen a bit. For years, Marshall had tried dropping hints to Ted that he never gave them a wedding gift—some subtle and some (dressing up like a present at Halloween) not so subtle. Did you appreciate that in the flashbacks to just after Marshall and Lily’s wedding, Marshall’s hair was still partially shaved off from the wedding day hair mishap? Did you also notice the brief shot of Katie Holmes as the Slutty Pumpkin at the Halloween party? Nice touches, HIMYM.

Meanwhile, Ted had been dropping hints of his own all those years. Apparently he DID buy them a gift—a really nice coffeemaker—and he never received a thank you note. Ted and Marshall are the perfect best bros because the year Marshall dressed as a present, Ted dressed as a thank you note. What a perfect package! Too bad neither ‘got the hint.’ On a related note, a gift wrapping station sounds awesome.

It turned out that Lily had been under the impression that their pals Stuart and Claudia (nice to see this dysfunctional couple again) had bought them the coffeemaker, a lie that Stuart let her believe. But cheapskate Stuart is at the inn for the wedding weekend—and it doesn’t look like he is with Claudia anymore—and admits that it was Ted’s gift after all. Somehow, even though it is really Marshall and Lily who owe Ted an apology, Ted decides to make amends with his friends by giving Marshall the greatest gift of all: special delivery of their favorite Chicago pizza from the world’s best non-sanitary pizzeria. And Marshall continues to have a way with words when it comes to describing his favorite foods.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I am ready for the gift of more Mother appearances.

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How I Met Your Mother Recap – The Broken Code

Season 9, Episode 4
The Broken Code

51 Hours Before the Wedding…

Tonight’s new HIMYM, “The Broken Code,” felt a little BROken. Definitely the weakest of the episodes we have had so far this season. While I will give props (literally) to the writers for trying to find new and innovative ways to bring an absent Marshall into the fold, it is just not the same as having him in person…and given that we are moving hour by hour, I feel like I may have to start drinking like Lily and making Marshpillows soon.

The episode did address two main character issues with Robin and Barney. First, the fact that Robin (and Lily for that matter) doesn’t really have any other female friends. Granted, it is sometimes alluded that Lily has other gal pals [see Lily’s teacher friends in the classic episode: Woo Girls] but as we all know, Robin fell out of touch with her bestie Jessica Glitter and ever since has not been a girlie girl. She loves her sports and her cigars, and has such a funky metabolism that she can eat and eat while still losing weight (bitch). Hence, her only girlfriend is Lily, who was not able to throw Robin a proper bachelorette…because inviting Patrice doesn’t exactly make Robin happy.

Lily decides to get serious about helping Robin make a girlfriend before she moves to Rome; and before Robin’s Sunday gossip brunches become her watching Canadian hockey with beer-cereal. I did enjoy Robin’s weak attempts at trying to be a girl, and then her sudden hilarious success with another tough sports-girl. But was I the only one who thought that Lily would spot her “train friend” (i.e. Mother) in the bar and have Robin try to be her friend? That would have been a great “How Robin Met the Mother” story!  Ultimately, Lily scared off Robin’s one new friend out of jealousy, and Robin was happy to have her one psycho bestie.

Meanwhile, Barney went through a little cycle of best men, but what he really struggled with was Ted still having feelings for Robin. Barney seemed to take his confrontation with Ted over the Central Park incident very well…too well, in fact. The boys cried over the wasted Scotch, but all was not actually resolved for the Barnacle and his Best Bro. Barney made Ted jump through wedding planning hoops until Ted finally realized Barney was mad, but not before re-doing the table cards with his travel quill calligraphy set. Barney even made Billy Zabka the temporary Best Man. I will pause here for a moment to comment on the awesomeness of Barney’s groomsmen party: Ted and Marshall (duh), the aforementioned Billy Zabka (Barney’s hero), Tim Gunn (Barney’s tailor), and the always awesome Ranjit.

Marshall—via iPad FaceTime—is needed to lawyer the argument between Ted and Barney: was Ted holding Robin’s hand in the park weird? And more importantly, did it violate the Bro Code? Marshall mediates a therapy session on the beach in which Ted and Barney hold hands to see if it is weird for “just friends” to hold hands. And as a rain shower passes overhead, Ted admits he still sometimes does have feelings for Robin, and Barney admits that he is angry at himself for not being there for Robin that day. Ted swears on the Bro Code itself (now a book avaikable in certain hotels and on most Lufthansa flights) that he will do his best to move on from his feelings, plus he would never do anything to hurt his friends. Barney reinstates his best man just in time for an intense poker game and some Weekend at Bernie’s relaxation.

So, Ted didn’t take the opportunity on the beach to reveal his plans to move to Chicago. And neither bro acknowledged the fact that Barney broke the bro code in hooking up with Robin all those years ago, but oh well. I wish that the scenes for the next episode made me feel like something big will happen, but next week mainly seems like more poker.

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How I Met Your Mother Recap – Last Time in New York

Season 9, Episode 3
Last Time in New York

52 hours before the wedding…

Way back in season two, there was an episode of How I Met Your Mother called “First Time in New York” when Robin’s little sister visited and the gang took her to the Empire State Building. In tonight’s season nine episode, “Last Time in New York,” we did get a glimpse of “Empi” (as our favorite “Fun Fact” architect likes to call the iconic building) but there was no glimpse of a certain little sister (probably because she is busy playing a Pretty Little Liar). Regardless, we got a slew of other funny episode callbacks and a dash of heart courtesy of a Ted-Lily life lecture moment. However, the emotional power of meeting Mother last week was missing and I am anxious for our entire gang to be back together under one roof. My bucket list for this final season includes seeing the fab five all together as much as possible, which sadly may not happen for quite some time.

The episode opens with Barney and Robin still not seeing eye-to-eye over the ring bear(er). I must say, I am definitely becoming more and more intrigued with the notion of a wild animal joining the wedding party. Other than this little disagreement, Barney and Robin are still holding up pretty well. That is, until the shuttle arrives full of zombies, errr old relatives. This sets up an amusing gag for the entire episode, as Barney and Robin attempt to hide (and get it on) while not drawing the attention of their elders by uttering words like “buffet” and names like “Patinkin.” Side note: between Homeland’s season three premiere last night and HIMYM’s Princess Bride references, Mandy got lots of love this week. The best moment of this zombie-pocalypse came courtesy of James, who heroically sacrificed himself to the hordes of relatives so that Barney and Robin could be alone. He is black, gay and getting divorced…so yeah, he is going to “die” first like every brother in a zombie movie.

Meanwhile, downstairs in the bar—where Lily is still getting hooked up with endless drinks thanks to Linus and the Kennedy Package—she discovers Ted’s list of things he wants to do before he moves in order to say goodbye to NYC. There are many gems on this list, but I have to say that Ted wanting to fix graffiti was the best for me, because this totally drives me crazy as well (and by fix, I mean changing “Your a penis” to the grammatically correct “You’re a penis”).

It is through this list that Lily also discovers a little secret that Ted and Marshall have been hiding: they accidentally destroyed her classy-yet-slutty rehearsal dinner dress, not the dry-cleaner. Remember those dueling swords that hung in the old apartment all those years, the same ones that Ted and Marshall used to ‘duel’ for the apartment back in 2005 and ended in a Lily stabbing? Well, Ted and Marshall were inspired by a recent watching of The Princess Bride to play a little Mandy Patinkin and chopped her dress in half. You sonofabeeetch!

We later learned that Lily and Robin also were not immune to the power of Princess Bride, as they too reenacted some awesome dueling, thus breaking Ted’s expensive bottle of Glen McKenna scotch. While Ted may have been temporarily fooled by a nasty concoction of cheap scotch, Hershey’s syrup, ketchup and hand sanitizer, Lily makes it right by buying him a new bottle. But it comes for the price of one definitely-not-last life lecture from Lily to Ted: stop saying goodbye to the good things; instead say goodbye to the crap that happened to him in NYC and think of the celebratory scotch as a new beginning with his buddies. Ted decides to do just that and stop avoiding Barney after his recent Central Park moment with Robin. He heads out to the deck to toast with his bro, but Barney immediately drops the bomb that he saw Ted and Robin in Central Park.

I haven’t mentioned Marshall, and that is because he is unfortunately separate from the gang on his road trip and will be for considerable time, sigh. The show flashed to him and non-sports fan Daphne making their way through every Viking’s nemesis territory: Wisconsin. And of course we got to see him in flashbacks dueling with Ted. But I am going to need WAY more Marshall interaction, like that Princess Bride speech he gave to Ted.

What do you think of this very different final season so far?

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