The eighth, and possibly last, season of How I Met Your Mother started off a little ways down the road at the wedding the romantic comedy has been teasing for two years now. Last season we finally discovered Barney and Robin were in fact going to get married. And as for how Ted met his children’s mother? It’s at the wedding.
So of course “Farhampton” jumps from the Barney/Robin wedding back to the current timeline to explain what happened the night Ted and his former flame Victoria ran away together on the day she was supposed to get married to some other guy.
While the Ted/Victoria drama is occurring, the other part of the episode focuses on Lily, Marshall, Robin, Barney and his fiancé Quinn. They never leave the Eriksens’ apartment (which used to be Ted’s, of course). Lily and Marshall were reduced to zombies as a simple plot device. The show used to do a great job at balancing all of the character’s stories, but as time went on certain characters had to be sacrificed in certain episodes to make it work. It’s a shame, but not that big of a hindrance in the grand scheme of things.
Robin and Barney weren’t supposed to be such an important relationship, but it has turned into an important factor of the show. This episode, for as much as it dealt with Ted, really revealed the heart and soul of Robin and Barney’s relationship. Though he’s engaged to Quinn—which obviously won’t last—the torment of knowing how perfect the two are together sincerely haunts Barney. The same goes for Robin. In recent seasons I’ve not only tuned in to see Ted’s story progress, but also watch the relationship between these two unfold.
The show does a great job of balancing the comedy and romance. This episode was all about heart, but it did provide those quirky moments the show has become known for. This time, like most times, it had to do with Barney. His retelling of the HIMYM story in under a minute was not only hilarious, it was a great refresher of what had happened in the previous seasons.
While that half of the story provided some laughs as well as touching moments, the other half was really the emotional core of the premiere. Knowing Victoria won’t stick around makes the storyline seem a little forced. Bringing the character back at the end of last season was worrisome and just seemed like one last-ditch effort to throw a wrench in Ted’s love life. Luckily the premiere episode does a great job of letting its viewers know that Victoria won’t be a wrench, but a catalyst in Ted’s final pursuit of a fiancé.
The episode references some great moments in the show’s history, namely surrounding the Stella Era. With Victoria running away from a wedding, Ted wants to make it proper. She has to leave a note to explain why. There’s a series of gimmicky scenes, but it pays off in the end.
As much as the show has strayed away from being about who Ted actually marries, the ending gives us one of the biggest payoffs in the show’s history. As Ted stands on a train platform in Farhampton talking to Victoria’s fiancé he realizes that he will find the love of his life at some point. He just has to keep waiting because he’ll never know when or where it will happen. The camera pans as Ted reveals, “unfortunately the when of it was still a little ways down the road…” and we see Ted sitting at the platform after Robin and Barney’s wedding. Standing there, unbeknownst to him, is a guitar-playing woman holding a yellow umbrella.
Whether this season is going to be the last remains to be seen. It’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs, but luckily this season begins on a high note.