Last week I predicted that the next episode of How I Met Your Mother would be one of the most important episodes not only of this season, but of the entire series. The Ted-Robin-Barney triangle has already been hinted as a catalyst for this season and “Tick, Tick, Tick…” was a giant step on every level. The opening narration describes that there are certain moments that last forever and that this episode will contain two of them. We’ve all been there: sometimes you’re ecstatic that such a glorious moment never seems to end. Other times it feels like you can’t breathe and your heart stops beating. We’ve all had both experiences, and the group is no exception to the phenomenon.
Let’s start with Ted, Marshall and Lily’s plot. During the episode it seemed that it would be a throwaway, slapstick plot because the other story was so heavy. The trio gets tickets for a Palooze featuring bands from the ‘90s. The episode marks the return of using ‘eating sandwiches’ as a euphemism for smoking marijuana. Since Lily is pregnant she can’t enjoy the meaty hoagies that Ted buys, and Marshall claims that since he is becoming a father it’s time to stop.
But come on, we all know that Marshall is rearing to go, and once they get to the concert and light up, I mean ‘eat a sandwich,’ they start to freak because it was laced with something else. Things take a hilarious turn for the worse when Lily wants nachos. So there we have it: the rest of the episode is the two man-children attempting to buy a pregnant lady nachos. If this plot was on any other show it would be irritating, but HIMYM manages to make the silliness work, but considering what the main plot of this episode was, it felt unnecessary, and we could have seen more Robin and Barney.
So, what the heck happened after the ex-couple kissed in last week’s closing seconds? They slept together, they cheated on Kevin and Nora and now everything is messed up.
For some reason the two are going on some sort of double date the next day on a boat for a party thrown by Robin’s coworker. Sure, HIMYM, way to write in a coincidence. Robin’s uncomfortable because the guy she cheated on is going on a double date with the guy she cheated with and the girl the guy cheated on will also be there. Got it? That coincidence, as farfetched in timing as it was, is forgivable because of what happens next.
Robin and Barney must face the dilemma of anybody who has cheated: telling their significant others. The writers manage to throw some humor in the downbeat episode, particularly the scene where the band sings directly to the cheaters. It’s been done before, but HIMYM does scenes like this the best.
The episode is wonderful for a number of reasons. Neil Patrick Harris takes his acting to another level in the third act of the episode while the writers finally are going back to a serialized plot. We’ve had the chance to laugh out loud and choke back tears throughout the six and a half seasons and with “Tick, Tick, Tick…” it seems like we’re on the track back to balancing the two emotions extremely well.