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August 28, 2014

'How I Met Your Mother' Season Finale Recap

by Joel Keller, posted May 16th 2011 11:00PM
'HIMYM' - 'Challenge Accepted'['How I Met Your Mother' - 'Challenge Accepted']

How many times can viewers of 'How I Met Your Mother' be like Charlie Brown?

We keep running up to that football, with promises that it's going to be there for us to kick it to the moon. But then Carter Bays and Craig Thomas make like Lucy and yank it away from us once again, letting us fall flat on our asses in shame.

That's how I felt at the end of tonight's sixth season finale. It's not that I really care about who The One is that Ted has been telling his kids about for so damned long. I just feel that sometimes Bays and Thomas tell us that there are big things coming at the end of each season to make us think that the endings are more surprising, or more definitive, than they really are.

Which is a bit of a pity, because tonight's finale was a pretty funny episode, one of the better ones of the season, especially because Marshall thought he might explode into vomitous convulsions for the entire episode.

Let's take the "revelations" at the episode one at a time...

1. The wedding that Ted was at in the season premiere -- where he supposedly meets "The One" -- is Barney's. Believe it or not, that was not that big of a shocker. He's the best man, and Marshall looked like he was also in the wedding party. We didn't know about Punchy or any of these other circumstances at that point, and Ted doesn't have a ton of friends. So the first guess is that he was at Barney's wedding. It could have been Robin's, because she would have a best man. But more than likely, it's Barney's.

'HIMYM' - 'Challenge Accepted'Unless, of course, it's also Robin's wedding. Just because Barney reconnected with Nora at the end of the episode, it doesn't mean that Nora is the one Barney is marrying. We spent the entire episode with Robin and Barney looking at each other longingly, telling each other in code that, while their relationship was bad for both of them, they did love each other for a time. Then Robin figured out, in her speech to Ted about Zoey, that just because life is scary doesn't mean you revisit the past, no matter how comforting it is. The look on Barney's face indicated that he agreed... somewhat.

Cut to the meeting with Nora. As Barney makes a coffee date with her and tells her that she looks beautiful and that "I thought it was too late for sun dresses," Nora turns and says as she walks off, "It's never too late, Barney." As Barney says "Challenge Accepted!" Cobie Smulders did a great job of conveying that look of "Hey... she might be right!" on her face that we know Robin was feeling at that point.

So "a little while later" (we don't know if that's next year, 2013 or 2019), we see that Barney's getting married. A lot can happen between now and then. It could be Robin, it could be Nora, or it could be someone completely different. Bah.

'HIMYM' - 'Challenge Accepted' 2. Lily wasn't sick because of cat-hair-and-person-mucus-filled soup. She's pregnant! That was bound to happen soon, don't you think? Much of Lily and Marshall's story arc over the last season-plus involved them starting a family, interrupted for a bit by Marshall's dad's death. If she didn't get pregnant soon, there would have been a lot more serious of a storyline -- fertility treatments, adoptions -- in the offing. This was the only way to go.

Though, at the very least, we got the sight of Marshall enjoying his "remaining" three hours of "life" before he became violently ill... especially MacLaren's jalapeno poppers, which will go on the "no fry list" after it makes the round trip through Marshall's body. It also gave us a great visual/audio joke where Lily sounded like a velociraptor every time she puked. And it gave us the opportunity to see how much fun it would be to have Dave Foley be Marshall's boss next season, even though we have no idea if Marshall even got the job or not (I can't imagine, plot-wise, why he wouldn't). More on all of that in a bit.

3. Ted finally stops freaking out over the Arcadian and light bulbs and actually decides to have a successful career. This isn't so much a revelation as it is a sign that Teddy Westside is finally embracing the guy he could be. Once he pressed the button to bring down the Arcadian -- in what looked like a Terry Gilliam animation from an old Monty Python movie -- he knew that his life was going to change. He's now the architect of a huge New York skyscraper, one who's being called "hotshot" by crusty construction foremen -- maybe we'll see more of Chi McBride on the show now that 'Human Target' is cancelled -- and may finally in the position to meet The One... at some point.

'HIMYM' - 'Challenge Accepted'It's especially true now that Ted's broken the pattern of falling back into old relationships because there's nothing on TV, he's got an all-over sunburn or something equally vexing happens. Ted's close to 35 at this point, and he's needed to sack up at some point and act like a man. Heck, even Barney is trending in that direction, as we saw.

What we do know is that The One didn't get that meticulously-picked orchid that was intended for Zoey. For some reason, I was ready to buy the umpteenth "And, kids, that's how I met your mother" from Old Ted this time around, figuring with what is likely the show's last two seasons in sight, that this was a good time to do it. Never mind that it's pretty clear that The One is at Barney's wedding. I figured that was a ruse, and was ready to buy the whole thing, until Old Ted said, "Pysch... that was just some girl."

AUUUGGGHHH!!! WHUMP! I'm flat on my back again, sighing "Good Grief!" while Lucy looms above me making a quip about Millard Filmore. There's no reason for the guys to keep pulling our chains like this. The show is on its tail end, with more seasons behind it than ahead of it. If they freed themselves of the Mother shackles now, the show could sparkle in its remaining time, chronicling Ted's ups and downs with The One and culminating in his wedding. But it seems like we're stuck with another tease for yet another year. Bah again.

More fun stuff:

-- Like I said, other than the frustration, the episode was mostly fun. Lily's run across town to warn Marshall was well-edited, really looking like she was going to make it. Though it wasn't that surprising when Marshall said, "I was about to have my third bowl."

-- The soup place was pretty gross, right? But there are a few places in New York that are even worse.

-- Had to love Marshall's ingenious system for getting through his interview... tile-sliding kneepads, a lined briefcase that can hold puke without leaking, and the wherewithal to ask a chatty senior citizen neighbor, "Can I borrow an adult diaper?"

-- No one follows Lil's advice about just saying you're "under the weather" when you've got the pukes and squirts. If your friends aren't imagining how many of your orifices have liquids shooting out of them, then they're just not good friends, know what I mean?

-- Again, the comedic potential of Dave Foley as Marshall's new boss is tremendous. Sure, he's paunchier than his NewsRadio days, but having him sit behind a desk eating lunch while showing slides of rotting seal carcasses just screams for him to become a recurring character.

-- Marshall and Ted arguing over who will press the button that brings down the Arcadian was a joke that lasted a beat too long. But it gave us the Best Barneyism of the week when he said to Ted, "You'll be legen -- wait for it -- dary... adjacent. Legendary-adjacent." Classic Barney with a twist. Second place goes to his explanation of why his oldest "one rule" is the best, even though "newer is always better."

-- I keep forgetting that Barney has Ranjit on call now. Good for Ranjit, but it makes his appearances a little less special, don't you think?

So, we're on to season seven. Will the show get a second wind and have a memorable seventh and eighth seasons? Season six was more of a mixed bag than I expected, given Bays and Thomas's declaration last summer that they learned from their mistakes from season five, but I do give them credit for improving on that dismal season. There are characters that I want to see again -- namely John Ligthgow as Barney's dad, Jerry -- and there are characters which I wish were never introduced (I like Jennifer Morrison, but Zoey stayed four episodes too long).

This all means that the guys are fully capable of giving us some great episodes in the coming two seasons. I just hope they let us kick the football at some point, even if it is at the very end. We're entitled to that, aren't we?

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

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