'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Mom and Dad': The redemption of Billy Zabka

how-i-met-your-mother-s9-mom-and-dad.jpgAfter a couple of pretty solid, not entirely wedding weekend-focused episodes of "How I Met Your Mother," we returned to all-wedding-hijinx, all-the-time with Monday's (Nov. 18) episode. So let's run down "Mom and Dad" bullet point-style.

The good

- Singing! It would be a badly missed opportunity to get Neil Patrick Harris, Wayne Brady, Ben Vereen and John Lithgow in the same episode and not have them break into song. Barney's and James' dueling fantasies (which give the episode its title) fill the bill nicely.

- Marshall is almost there. The road-trip subplot revolved around Daphne making it to New York in time to see her daughter's Model U.N. speech in the city, and they got there just in time. That means Marshall, barring unforeseen calamity (see below), is just a couple hours away from Farhampton and able to reunite with the gang.

- Zabka-tage! If the show has to fill the idle hours between the big events of the wedding weekend, this kind of light, low-stakes story is a good way to do it -- particularly if there's going to be a callback to the Pineapple Incident. The flashbacks with Zabka recounting how tough it was to be booed everywhere he goes were almost poignant.

The bad

- The non-singing parts of the Loretta-Jerry-Sam story. Barney has always been irrational and blinkered about his parents, but it's a thread that feels played out. The fact that it took several times for him to realize that ruining a marriage the day before his own wedding might not be a good idea raises yet another red flag for him and Robin. Just a couple of episodes back, they promised to stop lone-wolfing and involve one another in their decision-making. That lasted all of a couple hours in show time.

The potentially disturbing

"For an all-too-rare moment that weekend, everything was all right." Future Ted says that at the end of the episode, and while it's a fairly accurate description of what we've seen so far, it also portends more disasters for the wedding party in the remainder of the weekend. Since all the wedding-centric episodes thus far have been about avoiding or dealing with calamity, it looks like we could be in for more of the same.

We know Lily and Marshall are going to have it out. We know Barney and Robin each get cold feet. We know Ted looks pretty dejected at the train station before the Mother enters the frame. The audience deserves to see those play out, even if we don't end up liking where they go. But even though the spilled-ink story was fun, the crisis-as-comedy well is starting to run dry. The show would be served well by tacking away from that for a while.

What did you think of "How I Met Your Mother" this week?
Photo/Video credit: CBS