'How I Met Your Mother' Season 6, Episode 13 Recap
by Joel Keller, posted Jan 3rd 2011 10:30PM
['How I Met Your Mother' - 'Bad News']
Tonight was a smorgasbord of stimuli for any devoted 'How I Met Your Mother' fan. We got the return of Sandy Rivers, flashbacks to every on-camera embarrassing moment for Robin, an appearance by Marshall's parents, and Barney's real doppelganger -- a fertility specialist, of all things.
But the most compelling part of this episode was the countdown. It actually was a bit distracting, but in a fun way, seeing all the ways that Bays, Thomas and their crew would figure out where to put the next number as we counted down from 50 to 0. And, they made it pretty obvious it was a countdown, as the episode seemed to build towards some sort of climactic ending.
Little did we know what event we were counting down to, though...
When did I suspect that something happened to Marshall's dad? Just like most people did: When he stepped out of MacLaren's to call him with his good fertility results. To that point, nothing in the episode made me at all suspicious that Marvin Eriksen would meet the fate he did; sure, we saw a lot more of Bill Fagerbakke than we've seen in previous episodes, but it fit in the context of the story. Marshall told his dad about all the great things that happened in his life, but was reluctant to tell him that he might be infertile.
For all anyone knew, the countdown was there to signal the moment when Lily tells Marshall that she's pregnant. The universe was aligning, with Barney's doppelganger finally being revealed and both Marshall and Lily finding out that they were fine.
So the ending was definitely a shock. Though, looking back, Lily did foreshadow that something bad was going to happen when she told Marshall that telling her about the fake Barney doppelganger was like having "a black cat walk across my uterus." Little did we know that fate was tempted in a much different way than just giving them problems in the baby-making department.
Of course, now all I want to know is how this affects the usually affable and optimistic Marshall going forward. From the scenes we've seen of Middle-aged Marshall over the years, we know he's become disillusioned; maybe having his dad die on him so suddenly is the beginning of that. "I'm not ready for this," he sobbed to Lily after she told him. The scene was well-played by both Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel; they both conveyed the confusion, sadness and shock anyone would feel at that moment.
The scene made the episode the best of the season, mainly because it was so satisfying up until that point. It didn't pack the biggest laughs of the season, but it held so much for those who were paying attention. What I want to know is: how did the supremely incompetent Sandy Rivers get his own cable show? Ah, no matter: you could ask the same thing about Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann. It's typical of a blowhard like Sandy that he wouldn't remember anchoring alongside Robin; if he remembers her, he obviously slept with her.
But the story served to show us some fun flashbacks of everything embarrassing that happened to Robin in front of the camera, from 'Let's Go to the Mall' to her ill-advised job in Japan to falling in horse poop. It was Bays' and Thomas' way to show us the bumpy road Robin's taken to get to this point in her career, where she seems to be finding a home. And as Old Ted said in his voiceover, Robin will end up doing really well at World News Network, probably because she "steered into the skid" and wore the Robin Sparkles jean jacket Sandy somehow managed to dig up.
More fun stuff:
-- Barney's doppelganger takes a very clinical approach to seeing girl's private parts. Apparently, Barney uses gloves and a light, too, but his purpose is far from clinical.
-- The Best Barneyism of the week was his insistence that Marshall join him in a Laser Tag tournament, choosing him because he expressed slightly less displeasure at the prospect than Ted did. The best part of the Barneyism was telling Marshall to break his infertility news to his dad by first saying he was the Laser Tag champion.
-- "We can't wait to get to Florida! Are you coming, Marshall? Are you coming?" Those were the last words Marshall wanted to hear from his mother as he was "blow-drying his hair."
-- Loved how Barney thought he was even near Lily's privates, even though he had those blinders on. He was shooting random shots with his phone.
-- Continuity check: During her first day at work at WNN, Robin was wearing a skirt. When she came home to tell Ted about it, she was wearing pants. Did you folks notice that?
-- Most clever number representation: the folder that Barney (impersonating the doctor) held saying "9" on the front. When the doctor picked it back up, it was upside-down, showing the number "6." Second most clever: "Motility five!"
-- Sandy's open about his furry fetish, but the fact that he wears a piece is embarrassing to him. Ah, the news biz...
-- More Cobie Smulders in glasses, please. Not even sure why she needs them now that she's a researcher. Did she wear contacts as an anchor?
-- Marhsall's mom is passive-agressive nice. She actualy told Lily she was "losing height. Not weight, but height." Wow.
'How I Met Your Mother' airs Mondays at 8PM ET on CBS.
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