The final countdown begins. T-Minus 55 hours till the legen-you-no-longer-need-to-wait-for it-dary wedding of Barney Stinson and Robin Scherbatsky. T-Minus what I am guessing is 58 hours (or so) till Ted Mosby finally meets the woman he’s going to marry. Here we go…
When it was first announced that the ninth and final season of How I Met Your Mother would take place over the course of Barney and Robin’s wedding, I groaned. Really?? How can you tell a GOOD story with a strong dramatic impetus, yet drag it out over 22 episodes? And if we really are covering the 58 (or so) hours until Ted meets the mother, each episode will cover about 2.6 hours of a day…and THAT’S if they never sleep. While the premiere put some of my fears about this structure to rest, it’s going to be a fine line for the show to tread between creating drama out of NOTHING and having episodes with real stakes. Craig Thomas and Carter Bays have certainly thrown down the gauntlet for themselves in this final season, and I, for one, can’t wait to see them try to navigate it.
But you’re not here to read about my fears about the upcoming season, are you? You want to discuss the episode! So…let’s get to it.
As the premiere starts, our gang is all making their way to the Farhampton Inn for the wedding weekend: Marshall and Marvin from Minnesota, Robin and Barney in a limo with our favorite Driver Ranjiit, and Lily and Ted roadtripping. Let’s break down each individual journey, shall we?
Lil and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
I’m all about a fun and leisurely road trip, but I’m with Lily on this one. A drive out to a friend’s wedding is NOT the time to stop at every cheesy landmark you want to see. I would have demanded to be dropped off at a train station too. Lily and Ted’s road trip DID however give me my new favorite insult: “You’re a 21st Century toilet!!”
As we discover, Lily boarding the LIRR is incredibly fortuitous. She is the first of the gang to have a meaningful interaction with Ted’s future bride (as I would assume Robin and Barney HAVE met her because she’s in their wedding band, but I doubt they sat down and had a meaningful conversation with her).
Let’s get this out-of-the-way: Cristin Milioti is PERFECT as The Mother. After 8 seasons of build-up, casting the Mother was a tall order, but from the moment Cristin turned around to console a distraught Lily, I was sold. Of COURSE this is her. She’s perfect for Ted in every way. She’s instantly relatable. But what REALLY works about the mother is that while she clearly has a quirky sense of humor, she manages to not be the manic pixie dream girl stereotype that is so often shoved down our throats these days. Plus anyone who makes cookies that sound as delicious as sumbitch cookies do, is pretty fantastic in my book.
The Mother didn’t just unknowingly pass Lily’s “Front Porch” test, she aced it with flying colors. Cristin and Alyson had an instant rapport that was believable and you just KNOW that Lily and the Mother will be the best of friends. I can’t wait for Lily to see her again at the wedding. Also I find it incredibly fitting that Lily meets the mother first, because as we all know, if Lily doesn’t think the girl is good enough for Ted, the relationship is ultimately doomed.
Also Lily’s reaction when the sumbitches ran out? #GPOY
The Barney and Robin “Are we cousins?” freak out is exactly the kind of creating drama out of nothing moment I referred to in the intro. It was just silly and false drama. I’m sure there will be many freak outs and cold feet moments as we get closer and closer to the wedding (and I fear more of them are going to come from Robin, but we’ll get to that later) but this one didn’t feel genuine at all. Though it did provide a hilarious shout out to Game of Thrones because of COURSE Barney, the guy who thinks Johnny is the real Karate Kid, would find that twit Joffrey to be a fair and wise ruler.
One moment to note in the cousins conversation IS the fact that Barney said “and even if we did have kids…”. WE know that Robin is unable to have kids…but does Barney? I wouldn’t necessarily see Barney as someone overly eager to start a family, but by him saying “if we did” makes me think that he’s at least thought about it…and that Robin hasn’t told him that biological children won’t be an option. Now THAT, my friends, is a story that is ripe for genuine drama.
I also enjoyed Barney and Robin’s “wild card” conversation, as that is another situation that rings true for anyone planning an event. My sister is currently planning her wedding, and unpredictability of some people that she HAS to invite has been a definite factor in her planning of the day. I look forward to seeing exactly how all the wild cards play out at the wedding, because let’s face it….the guest list is essentially ALL wild cards it seems. Also here’s a good life lesson (to borrow from the episode “Subway Wars”): if you don’t know who the wild card at the wedding is, it’s you.
Barney and Robin’s car trip ends with this incredibly sweet exchange between them:
Barney: Our Wedding is going to be legendary!
Robin: No wait for it?
Barney: I don’t have to wait for it anymore. I’ve got you.
That exchange, coupled with one at the end of the episode (I PROMISE I’m getting to it), solidifies my theory that Barney Stinson, playboy and anti-marriage King, is NOT the one we have to worry about freaking out here.
Planes, Trains and Monstrosities
Fact: I have had the exact same conversation with my own mother about how to delete something from Facebook. On multiple occasions. That have led to tears and shouting. This is why parents shouldn’t be allowed to Facebook. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to talk someone through how to do something on a computer when you can’t see what they are seeing (which gives me a new appreciation for tech support people who handle things over the phone). So Marshall’s increasing furor with his mother with her was truly hysterical. I completely understood his panic over Lily finding out about his acceptance of a judgeship over Facebook. That’s NOT the way for your wife to find out. I do hope he tells her soon though, because the longer he waits, the bigger chance of it coming out accidentally and then all of a sudden Marshall and Lily become the wild cards who ruin the wedding.
Marshall has always been the innocent of the group. He’s the perpetually nice guy with good midwestern values. He trusts people and always believes in the good. But I thought his interactions with Daphne regarding the rental car situation stretched Marshall’s gullible nature to the very limits of believability. Come on, Marshall! You’re a New Yorker! Be a little ruthless! You have a wedding to get to!
That being said, I did quite enjoy Marshall’s interactions with Daphne and I was very glad that Marshall’s trust in her coming back for him was well placed. I don’t know how many episodes Sherri Shepherd is booked for, but I foresee a Planes, Trains, and Automobiles type adventure ahead of them. As long as Marshall gets to the wedding soon because they episodes are truly the best when all of the gang is together. Plus Lily may die of alcohol poisoning if Marshall doesn’t get there soon…
Meanwhile in Farhampton…
The entire gang sans Marshall but plus Barney’s brother James has arrived at the inn and like all good wedding guests do, they have each brought baggage to the wedding. Lily, distraught that Marshall may not make it to the wedding, has requested “The Kennedy Treatment” from Linus the Bartender. Basically, it will be his job to make sure she is never without a drink in her hand…and for what it looked like to be only a hundred bucks. WHAT?? To quote my dear friend Shannon Renee, “I need a Linus.” I hope they carry out this gag for the rest of the season, even after Marshall makes it there.
Meanwhile Ted is getting grief from the hotel clerk Curtis (oh hey Roger Bart) about being a single at a romantic inn, which definitely does not help Ted’s already fragile mental state. There is NOTHING worse than someone pitying you because you are single, right?? But the biggest bombshell comes from James: he’s getting divorced, which sets Robin off. After all, James’s marriage was the one that made Barney believe in marriage (Lily: “HELLO! I’M RIGHT HERE) so Robin assumes that Barney find out about it ending would cause HIM to freak out. She spends most of the episode trying to keep Barney from finding out because she thinks that he would not want to go through the wedding. Naturally, a drunken Lily (“Thank you, Linus.”) blurts it out and Barney runs off distressed.
But it turns out he’s not distressed about his own wedding. Because it was James’ anniversary that weekend, he had decorated his hotel suite in an over-the-top declaration of their love, down to an erotic cake replica of them. So Barney was desperately trying to take it all down before James saw (by the way did anyone else get flashes of Barney cleaning up Robin’s room after she rejected him in “Tick, Tick, Tick”? For someone who says he is anti-romance, Barney sure enjoys romantic gestures.) A relieved Robin asks Barney if he is upset about James’ divorce and if it affects how he feels about love and the “Stinson Curse”. A confident Barney replies, “I don’t need them to believe in love anymore, I’ve got you for that now.”
Guys. Barney is not the one we have to worry about when it comes to this wedding. It’s Robin. As James sagely put it, if she is this worried about Barney’s state of mind or the fragility of their relationship that she thinks that he would end things with her over James’ divorce…then why is she marrying him in the first place? I’m very concerned about Robin. The cracks are only just starting to show. Sure she was able to gloss over it, thanks to her desire to nibble James’ cake and marzipan ding-dong, but she shouldn’t be showing this much insecurity this close to the wedding. I’m getting serious Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride vibes here. It’s like she’ll go running the second she breaks eye contact with Barney walking down the aisle.
I’ve avoided it long enough. We have to talk about Ted, the locket, and whether or not he makes a final play for Robin. I find this storyline upsetting, mainly in Ted’s inability to FULLY let Robin go. True, Robin has never completely shut the door on him…we saw as much in the episode last season where they dig around in Central Park looking for the locket. But it remains frustrating that Ted is potentially standing in the way of 2 of his best friends being happy. Robin has turned down Ted repeatedly in the later seasons, but she said YES to Barney when he proposed. That should be enough for him to move on, because he is facing the potential to ruin not only Barney and Robin’s relationship, but his friendship with BOTH of them. Since Ted talks about Barney and Robin in the future, one can assume that everything is resolved between them. But at the moment…I fear for all of them. As I have said, I fear Robin is the shakier place as far as going through with the wedding…and Ted giving her the locket could be the one big gesture that throws everything off course. My biggest question is that what does Ted think he is going to accomplish with all of this? There is no way that he thinks that the act of getting her the locket is placed purely in the friendship category. I fear that he is doing it to prove that he is the better man for her than Barney. And that…well like I said…that’s upsetting. Especially when I have staunchly defended Ted’s past actions. You’re making it harder and harder for me to give you the benefit of the doubt, buddy.
And obviously what makes the whole going back to the Ted/Robin dynamic frustrating is the fact that the woman of his dreams is a mere HOURS away from him. Ugh. Hang in there Teddy Westside. She’s just around the corner…literally.
I may have flailed about when that line was uttered, even though it had NOTHING to do with the Mother, per se. Perfect use of the double entendre.
NO I DID NOT WEEP AT THIS SCENE, I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.
Once again HIMYM smacked me right in the feels with contrasting sad present day Ted with happy and in love Ted. This scene was absolute perfection and if this is how they are going to utilize having Cristin as a full-time cast member, then I am ALL IN with it. It was SO rewarding to see Ted and the Mother together and to see just how in love they are and how she’s everything that Ted could have ever wanted (and the same for her). Josh and Cristin have a lovely chemistry as well and I can’t wait to see it grow over the course of the season.
Thanks to those eagle-eyed fangirls on Tumblr, we know that a year later The Mother isn’t wearing an engagement ring. And it IS canon that Ted’s daughter is born at some point in 2015. Could Ted be bringing the Mother back to the place he met her to propose to her? AND will we get to SEE it happen??? I could certainly see that happening in the finale where they could intercut the proposal with their first meeting. If that happens, you may as well call the coroner, cause I will be DEAD.
Odds and Ends
– HIMYM has always been aces in regards to calling back previous gags. Featured in this episode: Lily’s obsession with Marshall’s calves and “It’s for the Bride”.
– Earlier this week it was announced that Bryan Cranston would be reprising his role as Ted’s old boss, so the line-up of returning characters grows bigger. One name that is notably missing, especially now that we know Ted flew out to California, is Sarah Chalke’s Stella. Hmmmmm.
– Do you need further proof that the Mother is perfect? I’ll see your sumbitches and raise you a LADY TEDWINA SLOWSBY.
– I’ll just leave this here:
– How CUTE is Baby Marvin, you guys?
Next week the relatives start pouring in! Who will be the next to meet the Mother? Tune in next week to find out!