'How I Met Your Mother' Review: Of Secret Crushes and Settling Down
'How I Met Your Mother' Review: Of Secret Crushes and Settling Down
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
After a lackluster hiatus return last week, all it took was one big, drunken blowout night on the town to get How I Met Your Mother back in the groove. Last night's episode, "Hopeless," had everything I love about the show (callbacks, time jumps, sassy Lily, crazy Barney, no Zoey, and you know, JOKES!) and more. Namely, John Lithgow being hilarious and Michael Trucco being hot. What more could we ask for? Here are the highlights:

Plot Points:

Barney decides he's mad at Jerry for being "stay-at-home Jerome," and busts him out of the suburbs for a crazy night in the city. He gives the gang new identities to make them seem cooler and more interesting. (Robin is a professional scotch taster, Marshall is a womanizing playwright, Lily is Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada and Ted is himself -- but with a long list of topics to avoid.) Jerry starts out his sweet, cautious self, but when Barney says he wants "crazy Jerry" back, Jerry downs several shots in a row, and Crazy Jerry comes back with a vengeance.

Sidenote: Who else noticed that Clark from America's Next Top Model cycle 11 returned as Barney's latest random blond? As if Barney would hit it with the same girl twice, let alone in the span of one season.

Jerry and Barney go out in the streets together and cause some drunken father-son mayhem that ends predictably: "I just puked on the hood of that police car!" Aaaand they're arrested. That's when Jerry reveals he wasn't drunk at all -- Barney was, and Jerry tricked him to please his son. Touched, and finally on board that settling down isn't so bad, Barney helps Jerry bust out of their handcuffs so he can get home in time to take his son J.J. fishing. Along the way Barney has an epiphany: "I'm too far gone. I'm broken." He now wants to meet the right girl and settle down. Or maybe he's "met her already." Is he talking about Robin or Nora?! We'll see...

At the club, Robin runs into her "secret crush," the sickeningly hot Michael Trucco, whom she flirt-mocked in a department store a couple years ago. Neither of them forgot that special moment when she witted his ugly shirt to death. (This is basically my dream way of meeting a guy.) Unfortunately, part of her new identity is that she's "dating Ted," and Ted makes sure Secret Crush knows it. Robin tells Ted about her crush, and then we learn the origin story of his infamous red boots: He bought them at that same department store sale, when he and Robin were dating. Ted realizes Robin was so hot for him that night because she was thinking about her secret crush. To get back at her, Ted pretends to ask Robin to marry him in front of the whole nightclub (romaaantic) and Secret Crush looks ... crushed. But that won't be the last we'll see of him. Ohhh no, it won't.

Lily and Marshall's fake open-marriage argument turns into a real wager to see who can get more numbers at club "Hopeless," and they bet their "usual wager": They'll have sex in the bathroom either way. Lily wins, and they have sex in the bathroom. A happy ending for all! (Except Robin, whose crush got away for now. And Lily, who didn't get to meet her own secret crush, Mila Kunis.)

Best Quotes:

Barney: "And for the awesomenest night of all time, I'm going to need the awesomenest friends of all time! OK, who do I know? Guys ... do any of you know George Clooney?"

Barney: "Wait, you guys, I'm going to tell him. We're also a band!"

Their whole argument about the bars and clubs named "Was," "Okay," "Lame," "Where" and the rest.

Lily: "I brought French cooking to America!" (Mixing up Meryl Streep's roles in The Devil Wears Prada and Julie and Julia.)

Barney: "This is awesome! I finally know what it's like to be embarrassed by my dad!"

Jerry: "Oh, sorry, small town preacher from the Midwest, is there a law against DANCING?" (Calling back to Lithgow's role in Footloose.)

Ted: "Hey, I'm not perfect. I'm an eight. And a half." (Chhhhyeah, Ted.)

Final verdict: Four and a half out of five bright red boots. I loved last night's episode of How I Met Your Mother for so many reasons: First, that opening credits sequence was flat-out delightful. Watch! Watch again!

How do you even top that? Also, the number of callbacks, clever meta-movie jokes, time jumps and, in keeping with the "magician" thread of the episode, "more than meets the eye" reveals about what really happened made it a fun and engaging episode from start to finish. I especially loved Lithgow, who played Drunk Dad to great effect, but whose whiny "I think I'm allergic to this stamp" made me laugh even harder. And for all the antics and fake identities that made their party night fun, there was just the right amount of heart and plot progression: Barney finally realized that settling down has its merits, maybe even in his own life. Ted and Robin addressed their past relationship in a sweet, candid way that we rarely see these days, and Robin might actually have a worthy prospect on the horizon. And Lily and Marshall got back to their old, fun-loving selves (finally!) and just had a good night without any mourning or baby-making-talk. For an episode called "Hopeless," it felt anything but.

What did you think of "Hopeless"? It certainly raised some questions about what's next for Barney, Robin and Ted's romantic lives that we will FINALLY (it seems) see gain real momentum coming into the final episodes of the season. Theories welcome!

(Image courtesy of CBS)