After hitting a season high point in the 200th episode of “How I Met Your Mother,” the show pivoted to a very different kind of story for episode 201.
Different, yes, but Monday’s (Feb. 3) episode “Sunrise” is still among the better episodes the show has put forth this season, and definitely in the top tier of ones that don’t feature the Mother on screen. It managed a slew of guest appearances without overwhelming the primary characters’ stories, brought Marshall to his senses about his dirty play in his fight with Lily and brought some closure — at long, long last — to Ted and Robin.
What it really did, though, was signal that “How I Met Your Mother” is really, truly ready to start the run to its series finale. Ted and Robin’s story may have ended with the rather obvious visual cue of Robin floating into the sky after Ted “lets go,”* but their conversation was long overdue and refreshingly grown-up.
(*While the Bangles’ “Eternal Flame” plays, no less. Subtle that scene was not.)
Ted has finally realized the difference between letting go and giving up. There’s little doubt he loves Robin, but in contrast to the speech he gives Jeanette (Abby Elliott, still playing crazy) — which is as stubbornly, foolishly idealistic as any Ted Mosby speech has ever been — he seems at peace (again, finally, but better late than never, I guess) with Robin marrying Barney and his imminent departure for Chicago. It’s a nice moment for Ted and Josh Radnor.
Likewise, Marshall’s conversations with Ghost Lily, 2006 Ghost Lily and his dad make him realize just how much of a low blow he delivered in his fight by bringing up San Francisco. We have ample evidence that the Eriksens remain rock-solid well into the future, so this fight couldn’t drag on through the end of the series. Marshall understanding that lawyering his wife is the wrong approach will serve the marriage better in the long run.
And watching a still-wasted Barney impart his life lessons to two unsuspecting strangers feels like a good coda for that version of the character. The Bro Code and the Playbook may live on, but this Barney Stinson has realized there are other ways to be legendary (though it’s easy to imagine him trying to impart all his knowledge to little Marvin and Ted’s son Luke someday).
Odds and ends from “Sunrise”:
- What do you think of Robin’s ranking of Ted’s exes? Her Top 5 (excluding herself) isn’t bad, but I’d put Karen as No. 1 or 2 on the worst list.
- As mentioned above, the cameos by Sarah Chalke, Ashley Williams and Abby Elliott worked nicely without taking over the episode. Frankly, I was expecting a little more from the Stella appearance than a phone call, but her (and the others’) message about Ted walking into a minefield with Robin did not go unheard. Almost, but not quite.
- Ted: “It’s been a really long week.” Yeah, it seems like this weekend alone is going on for months, doesn’t it?
- “HIMYM” is taking the next two weeks off during the Winter Olympics and will begin its final run of episodes starting Feb. 24.
What did you think of “How I Met Your Mother” this week? Do you think Ted has really, finally let go this time?