This post contains spoilers
Going into tonight’s episode, focusing much on the overarching romantic plot, it was very hard to keep hopes up. Over the course of these last ten episodes, whenever the focus has shifted to this side of the season, it’s been lackluster, and just disjointed in so many ways. However, tonight was one of the best episodes of the season, balancing hilarious moments, with the dramatic and emotional. It had some flaws, but I loved it overall.
Before we get into the whole Robin/Barney side of things, we have to talk about where most of tonight’s comedy came from: Marshall and Ted. It’s been awhile since it’s been the two best friends bonding and hanging out together. So, what better than the two, and Lily, going to a concert tripping out on “sandwiches”? Not only was this one of the greatest continuations of past HIMYM mythology, but one of the funniest returns (especially after the disappointing Slutty Pumpkin conclusion two weeks ago).
To see Ted and Marshall walking around trying to find nachos, high as kites, and basically tripping out was hysterical. No matter how many times they entered the ladies’ restroom line because they thought it was “the line for nachos”, I was laughing out loud. From creepy guitar guy, to even tackling the fact of how old they were getting, it was a tale that tackled the aging epiphany every adult goes through, but making it much funnier.
Where the storyline becomes disappointing is the ending revelation. Yes, it turns out they weren’t walking around the arena for hours, but mere minutes. We get to security footage of Josh Radnor and Jason Segel stomping around like idiots, but given all the laughs the “slowed down” story gave us, it was just a bit disheartening to realize they just paraded like idiots for two minutes. Then again, the unsatisfactory ending doesn’t necessarily tarnish the laugh-filled storyline.
Then, we progress to the Barney/Robin story, which sees the two trying to break up with their respective others on a work related boat party after they cheated in both respects. It wasn’t nearly as successful comedy-speaking, but it had its moments. Where the story truly succeeds is grounding the episode so that the high times storyline didn’t make the entire half hour too fantastical.
With Barney and Robin, it was interesting to see that the two switched positions on and off boat. Barney couldn’t break up with Nora on the boat, while Robin almost had the guts to do so, but it went similarly vice versa when Barney ended up ditching his girlfriend in hopes to fall in love with Robin, and Robin couldn’t dump Kevin in turn.
The only downside of this half of the episode is that it really took some time to get into it. The beginning moved very slow, and it seemed just a bit drawn out before the plot hit the heart it was trying to find. But, when it hits that heart, this is where the episode capitalizes on something much greater.
What the story does help solidify is that there isn’t anymore of this “does he love him, does he love her?” mumbo jumbo. It’s obvious that the two love each other, and for a shining moment, it seems the two will actually be together once more. Barney even has the guts to stand up for the sake of the relationship, and stick to his plan. However, you knew the plan wasn’t going to be completely successful, and when Kevin walks through the door, it’s a bit of a predictable twist.
I may get some flack for this from shippers, but I’m actually glad Kal Penn isn’t gone. Unlike Nora, Kevin has been able to truly establish himself within the group as someone who can share the same chemistry, comedy, and hold his own against the gang’s signature style. At first, the newcomer was a bit rough to believe in, but as the weeks went on, and Penn became more comfortable within his role, something has simply clicked that pegs the actor as a welcome addition to the cast.
Not to mention, with Kevin sticking around, we got one of the most heartbreaking scenes the series has ever given us. Seeing Barney’s split second linger, and the silence cut in was Neil Patrick Harris at his finest. We see the playboy suit-lover almost break down, and my heart sank just as much as his did. And if you didn’t feel kicked enough already, we see Ted move upstairs to find Barney cleaning up rose petals and candles he had made for a romantic gesture towards Robin, as a somber song plays.
What will happen now that Ted knows? Honestly, a very smart investment on the writers part. I don’t think Ted will necessarily tell anyone about what he found, and if he doesn’t, but confronts Barney, I think that’s a great thing in two regards. The two can actually confide in each other, sharing some great connection and bonding moments that honestly have been lacking this entire season. But, if the writers won’t go down that route, it will definitely fulfill Future Ted’s prophecy saying that the past relationship triangle of Ted, Barney, and Robin could never work. Either way, I’m truly excited.
Overall, a fantastic episode of HIMYM tonight. “Tick Tick Tick…” shared a great heart along with plenty of humor. Throw in high times, Sandy Rivers, Neil Patrick Harris at his finest, some special guest goodbyes in the form of Nora, and still managing to keep things interesting, but with a few flaws, you get just an overall exceptional installment into the seventh season.
4.5 out of 5 Stars