Last week’s episode of How I Met Your Mother ended on such a momentous note that the past week must have been agonizing for fans. The episode ended with the revelation that the Ted-Robin-Barney triangle would take a turn somewhere in the future and change the course of all of their lives. Of course it won’t be so big that they don’t talk to each other again because Future Ted often refers to both Robin and Barney and the children seem to understand who their ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’ are. But the confusion that took place about what exactly Future Ted meant ate away at a lot of fans.
Last Thursday co-creator Carter Bays spoke with Entertainment Weekly and revealed, “We chose our words carefully as we always do, and it’s all right there. Obviously we’re not telling the whole story right away because there’s still a lot of story left, but I think Robin had always been an integral part in Ted’s life.” He also revealed that the love/friendship/whatever-it-is triangle will take a few episodes to come back as a main point. So, HIMYM fans were able to breathe a sigh of relief that the next episode wasn’t going to be some series-altering episode.
Last night’s episode “The Stinson Missile Crisis” starts with Robin in court-mandated therapy because she assaulted a woman. The title of the episode gives it away that the assault has to deal with Barney, but who didn’t already guess that? Guest star Kal Penn plays the therapist who wants her to talk about her feelings, but she keeps telling a long-winded and details story (a la Future Ted) about the past month. She keeps swearing it all ties together, and of course it will take half an hour to finally do so.
A month prior Barney, who is still wearing the ducky tie, is trying to prove to Nora that he is boyfriend material, which pushes Robin further to the edge. It’s quickly assumed that it was Nora that Robin assaulted, but that’s not the case. Meanwhile, and much to the therapist’s dismay, Robin begins to detail Ted’s over-involvement in Lily and Marshall’s pregnancy.
This episode is a great play on how the audience feels during a typical episode of HIMYM runs. The therapist becomes exasperated by the back-and-forth storyline that takes the roundabout way to the actual point of the story. The meta-referencing is something that sets this episode apart from the typical aimless plot that doesn’t have to do with how Ted met his wife.
Some of the funnier parts are Barney’s subliminal slip-ups that if you’re not listening close enough you’d miss. It’s these small, un-needed but funny jokes that keep the laughter coming. His particular subplot of trying to end all of his “Bimbo Delivery Systems” really shows you how much of an evil genius he truly is.
Ted’s storyline of wanting to be a part of “Team Baby” was more hit-or-miss than the other half of the episode. His over-precaution was spot-on and showed how neurotic Ted really is (the therapist points out Ted could really use some professional help) and Marshall realizing he knows absolutely nothing about female anatomy helped with character development. Somehow, however, Lily’s doctor missed the mark. Her character was vital to the plot, but wasn’t played up to par with the rest of the acting.
In the end the actual assault itself didn’t deserve an entire episode, but rather was a unique way to show an important lesson Robin learned. Unlike other sitcoms that are slapstick funny or can’t manage to subtlety reveal a serious message the writers have managed to find a balance both. That’s exactly the unpredictable formula (never mind the oxymoron) that HIMYM has relied on and kept an exponentially long story fresh.