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June 30, 2015

'How I Met Your Mother' Season 6, Episode 23 Recap

by Joel Keller, posted May 10th 2011 12:00AM
'HIMYM' - 'Landmarks'['How I Met Your Mother' - 'Landmarks']

You know how there are times when you know an event is coming on a show, but you sit back, and enjoy the ride anyway? This wasn't one of those times.

Talk about an anticlimax... we all knew that what happened at the end of this episode was going to happen at some point this season, we just didn't know when and how. But what we ended up with this week is an episode that does what we expected in the most predictable and pedestrian way possible

So what we were left with, except for a few fleeting funny moments, was an episode that had none of the fun, or the emotional gravity, that Bays and Thomas did a nice job of inserting back into the show this season, leaving next week's season finale to pick up the slack for the show's fans.

At this point, even the show's most ardent defenders will probably have to say that we saw a bit too much of Jennifer Morrison as Zoey this season. She was in about three episodes too many, because by the time Zoey and Ted said that they loved each other, we weren't buying it.

It could have been because we knew that the break-up was going to be ugly, and we were pretty sure that that hideous Arcadian was going to be the reason why they broke up. But, as I've said before, of all the long-term girlfriends Ted has had on the show -- the land-speed record almost-marriage with Stella included -- Zoey has felt the least emotionally real. Maybe we're all just sick of Ted's search and want him to meet The One, or it could be that the relationships themselves have become less idealized over time -- something that tends to happen as you move into your mid-30s and are still single.

But all I did was spend this episode waiting for the moment when Ted and Zoey break up over the fact that cockamouse-infested dump of a hotel. No amount of 'HIMYM'-patented flashbacks made the inevitable ending any less boring to watch.

Did any of you think that, even though Ted began the episode in Zoey's camp that he was going to say anything but "no" when asked if he thought the Arcadian was a landmark? Not only was Barney's job on the line, but Ted knew in his heart that the building had to go. And did any of you think that he and Zoey were going to survive the episode? No matter how many scenarios Robin ran -- I did like the poison dart-from-a-ninja-sent-by-The-Captain scenario, though -- a break-up was going to be at the end of it all.

Because the episode was dominated by Ted/Zoey, there wasn't a whole heck of a lot of room for anyone else to come through with funny lines. For instance, when Zoey threw Ted's words back to him that the lion on the front of the building should be preserved, the gang huddled together to find a solution. Everyone except Lily thought that the best solution was their old fallback: open a bar. This time it was courtroom themed, though I'm surprised the phrase "pass the bar" never came up.

That was one of the few funny moments that stuck for me. The other was Robin conveying the message from Barney to the gang about his diabolical plot to lick all the hot wings left in the bar if they don't come over to his side. Barney's mouthing and pantomimes as Robin read his note across the room were the Best Barneyism of the week.

The third funny moment had to do with the ever-funny Bob Odenkirk, who plays GNB bigwig Arthur. Just watching him yell at the little Scottie he got to replace his beloved dog, who went to his ex in his divorce, was almost enough to redeem the episode. Almost. It just made me miss watching him as Saul Goodman on 'Breaking Bad.'

More fun stuff:
-- Marshall's ode to Lilly's "diabolical" brain was a bit of an overextended joke, but was another standout in a weak episode.

-- In most episodes, Marshall's rhymes would also work pretty well, but here they didn't, mainly because they went one rhyme too far.

-- There was a good minute or two where I thought that Barney posing as the architect of "The Arcadshian" (as he pronounced it) was not Ted's dream but one of Barney's desperate attempts to sway his friend. But then Ted's mom appeared wearing a nightie and holding what looked like a spinning dreidel, and then I knew it was a dream.

--Ted does give a good line to Zoey right before she stormed off: "Sometimes things have to fall apart to make way for better things." Sign of what's to come?

-- Good Robin greeting line: "So, what's up, turds?"

'How I Met Your Mother' airs Mondays at 8PM ET on CBS.

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