When How I Met Your Mother promises something, the show always delivers. “The Autumn of Break-Ups” was hinted at near the beginning of the season and it finally comes to the forefront. Everything we’ve expected for the series to move forward towards its ultimate goal happened, plus a little extra something to make this episode special.
It all starts when Marshall and Lily reveal they had an incredibly awkward time with Ted and Victoria. They insist she’s dropping hints that she wants a commitment. Ted believes they’ve only been dating five months, but Marshall and Lily say that if you date someone twice the clock doesn’t restart, you simply un-pause the relationship clock. The show is terrific for many reasons, but the relationship rules it comes up with (the hot/crazy scale, The Platinum Rule, etc.) are an added bonus. They help bring viewers into the group dynamic, and we feel a part of their inner circle.
As Ted continues to focus on his relationship, he goes back to the married couple for advice and realizes that Marshall is becoming a sassier version of Lily. She’s been training him to meddle in relationships, and he is good at it. Lily hasn’t had much to do since she has had the baby, so Marshall has been carrying a lot of their scenes together, which isn’t a bad thing. As much as the world fell in love with Neil Patrick Harris’ Barney, Jason Segel’s Marshall is just as good of a character, if not better. This episode continued the trend of the character being absolutely adorable and saving dull moments of the show and making them stand out.
Speaking of Barney, his plot this week was another one that turned an episode about a serious topic into a comedic one. He finds a new wingman in the form of a dog he names Brover. Robin sees this as a cry for help, and by Barney’s actions, it clearly is. All of Barney’s forced jokes are actually funny though, a rare touch on a comedy show. Usually awkward jokes are supposed to be lame, but Barney pulls them off with grace and has done so since the show’s beginning. His downward spiral worries Robin, who insists her ex-boyfriend come to dinner with her current boyfriend, putting strain on her current relationship. It all comes to a forefront when Barney receives a phone call from the missing dog’s owner saying she’d like him back.
The depth of Barney and Robin’s relationship has always been an interesting facet to the show, and the next few episodes will certainly focus on it, but also both of their relationships with Ted.
Remember last year when Victoria popped up early in the season? When she hinted at the fact that the Ted-Robin-Barney love triangle was far from over? That little fact laid low for nearly a year until finally everything came crashing together. Victoria reveals Robin is the reason she and Ted broke up in the first time and the reason their relationship will eventually die. So, she insists he cannot be friends with Robin (hello, fourth season of Friends plotline). In a heartfelt speech, Ted declares, “I’m not in love with Robin, but she’s like family and I can’t end that.” Thus ends the Victoria Era on HIMYM for good this time. I never was a fan of her, but in the end she did bring together a vital piece of the story.
Finally, we’re on our way towards the denouement of the show. There will be a few bumps along the way, but seeing as this could be the last season, the plot will progress quickly over the next few weeks, probably resulting in a mid-season cliffhanger around the holidays.