By Meryl Gottlieb| firstname.lastname@example.org| @buzzlightmeryl
How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS
Rating: 2.5/ 5
It’s 5 a.m., 13 hours before the wedding and the groom is nowhere to be found.
If you saw last week’s phenomenal 200th episode, then you saw Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) vanish from the hotel, making us all worry he would skip out on the wedding. At first, I was quite angry about that last minute scene. All season long we’ve been reassured of Barney’s love for Robin (Cobie Smulders) and that our favorite player wouldn’t forgo the wedding just so he could continue to play the game. Then he vanished, and I almost lost all hope. Never fear. Our beloved barnacle would never do such a thing.
Instead, Barney rolled out of bed and met two younger guys — Justin (Brian McElhaney) and Kyle (Nick Kocher) — who were walking alongside the road. Yes, this sounds as if it was the start of a horror film but it’s not; it’s the start of How I Met Your Mother’s 201st episode. Barney decides he’s going to teach these self-proclaimed losers how to live — the first thing he ever told Ted (Josh Radnor). He teaches them the wonders of a strip club; gets Tim Gunn to make them suits and informs them of the beauty of having a wingman. Before he leaves, he tells them that something is not truly legendary “unless your friends are there to see it.” Barney stumbles away, leaving them with a stack of Post-it notes titled “The Playbook.”
Yes folks, we were just introduced to Barney’s protégés. Instead of continuing the game himself, he found two people who needed it and would allow it to live on forever. I think this is believable. Barney has invested too much of his life to the game and there’s no way he would have just completely given it up. However, this should not have been done 13 hours before the wedding. They should have done this montage in a flashback; it would have been more believable. Does it really just so happen that a strip club is near the Farhampton Inn, that Tim Gunn can come to Farhampton just like that and that a party is going on not too far away? A flashback would have made more sense.
Also, shoutout to the casting director for finding two guys that look quite similar to the show’s creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. He passed on the Playbook to the fictitious versions of the guys who originally wrote it. (In the second picture, Thomas is on the left and his character counterpart is on the right in the first picture, aka a mirror image for the two pictures). It’s uncanny.
I’m a little annoyed they haven’t proven Robin is 500 percent into this marriage. Barney has shown time and again that he’s serious but we haven’t had a solid confirmation from Robin yet.
Marshall (Jason Segel) hopes to sort out his argument with Lily (Alyson Hannigan) by talking with ghost versions of her. Yes, it was as dumb as it sounds. After a few boring scenes and even a visit from his ghost dad Marvin (Bill Fagerbakke), Marshall realizes he’s mad at 2006 Lily for hurting him but that doesn’t mean he can hurt her now. On top of that, ghost Lily finally sets him straight in the fact that he can’t keep going behind her back or thinking of their marriage as a game or else he will really lose her. Real Lily returns and the two make up after Lily says they won’t be going to Italy; they’re staying in New York.
I don’t agree with this quick conclusion. This was supposed to be one of the couple’s biggest fights, and it blew over fairly quickly. The question of what would happen with Italy hung over all of our heads for 17 episodes and then it was over after the couple spent a few minutes together. First, where did Lily go when she ran away? Second, there should have been a different conclusion. I’m not saying I want them to go to Italy because that would ruin everything. However, I refuse to believe that Marshall only thought of his marriage as a game and that he either won or lost things in the relationship. It’s untrue to his character. Though it’s a good point to make, it’s not applicable to Marshall. I didn’t enjoy any part of this storyline.
Ted and Robin go out to find Barney. Here we learn Robin’s ranking of Ted’s top five best and worst relationships. Best (in ascending order): Stella, Zoe, the Slutty Pumpkin, Marshall when they pretended to date to sell Barney’s apartment and then Victoria. Worst: Blah Blah, Boats Boats Boats, Karen, Zoe (she made both lists) and Jeanette. That’s not the only walk down memory lane we get. We actually see Stella (Sarah Chalke), Victoria (Ashley Williams) and Jeanette (Abby Elliott) as Ted remembers the story of his attempt to get back Robin’s locket. Remember? It’s that storyline everyone thought ended 15 episodes ago. I think it’s a good story and yes it’s applicable to this storyline in this episode, however it makes us revert to something we haven’t thought of in 15 weeks. I’m starting to really feel the issues with having one season take place only in a weekend-long time span.
Ted actually called up Stella and Victoria to ask them about the locket and both mock him for doing this for Robin. Victoria overnights the locket but crazy Jeanette takes it. Ted meets up with Jeanette to retrieve it but she refuses to give it to him at first, saying he shouldn’t be hung up on Robin anymore.
And then we’re hit with another one of the beautiful HIMYM monologues we all know too well. Holding back tears, Ted admits he’s still in love with Robin and love means caring for someone beyond all rationality even if it destroys you. And you don’t stop even when someone calls you crazy. If you stop, then it’s just something disposable and it’s not love. But Jeanette isn’t moved and she tosses the locket over the bridge they had met at.
At the same time they show Ted staring longingly for the ring that was just tossed into a lake, they show the clip of young Ted losing his balloon, a balloon that was his best friend until he let it go. So since then, Ted had firmly believed that if you love something, you never let it go. This will be important in a moment folks; I know it seems like a pointless add-on.
In the present time, Robin doesn’t understand why Ted never ended up with Victoria, but he tells her she does know why: It’s because he loves her. Ted even finally tells her he is moving to Chicago after the wedding. The two decide to sit and wait to watch the sunrise — the namesake for the episode’s title “Sunrise.” The old flames hold hands as they get up and prepare to go back inside. After some lingering, Ted says, “I have to let go,” and he does. Robin then floats away like the balloon he once loved. Ted has finally let Robin go, metaphorically and apparently literally, so hopefully, this is the official wrap-up to the Ted-Robin romance storyline.
On paper, this metaphor worked. In reality, it was awkward to watch. Ted’s dialogue was beautiful and important to his character; however, it just didn’t translate well. Just watch; it’s weird.
After last week’s flawless episode, it wasn’t hard to see what was wrong with this episode. There are only seven episodes left so hopefully it’s all up from here.