Last night marked the end of How I Met Your Mother season 6, a season that has taken us through fun and touching highs (Marshall’s storyline with his father, and Robin Sparkles three, y’all!) and painful lows (pretty much anything to do with Zoey). Unfortunately, “Challenge Accepted” ended the chapter on a mostly low note. Here’s why:

1. The return of Zoey. If I had just one word, it would be this: REALLY? Sure, Ted’s almost reconciliation with her laid the groundwork for Barney and Robin to project and finally lay out their own residual feelings for each other, but did we actually have to see Zoey again for that to happen? And did Ted have to close out the season like a total goon for that to happen? No. The answer to both is no. And instead of giving me the ol’ Barney and Robin warm and fuzzies, all that plotline did was remind me what a stinker this entire Zoey story has been. If “new is always better,” then why did they (the gang, and the show) drag out that completely unlikable character fooor sooo looong? Oh, and speaking of dragging, how about that …

2. G-d building metaphor that wouldn’t die? In the immortal words of Regina George, “HIMYM, stop trying to make ‘The Arcadian as a metaphor for Ted and Zoey’s relationship’ happen. It’s NOT going to happen.” But at least it got blown up. Unfortunately, that came at the expense/assistance of …

3. The criminally underused Chi McBride. You don’t bring on a hilarious, well-known actor like Chi McBride (EMERSON COD!) and make his only lines about some lame, no-laughs nickname he gave Ted for no reason. Chi, I hope you get a lot of use out of your new boat this summer. And I hope it was worth it. More worth it than this episode’s …

4. Vomit and diarrhea jokes.
There’s a right (subtle, non-cheap) way to do toilet humor on a primetime sitcom, and there’s a wrong way. Last week’s Parks and Recreation episode, “The Fight,” did it right: Andy’s running vomit cutaway was, I’ll venture to say, the funniest moment of the episode. But as much as I LOVE Jurassic Park, Lily’s velociraptor noises and the gang’s “coming out of both ends” jokes were mostly cringe-worthy. And they didn’t even serve their larger purpose well, because …

5. The pregnancy reveal was too obvious. The minute Marshall was on a puke countdown, I knew it was morning sickness. In this case, I think context ruined the surprise: Lily and Marshall have been trying to have a baby all season long, so before the episode even started, I suspected they’d finally succeed in the finale. While there were elements I enjoyed — Marshall’s solemn final meal, his preparation for the interview, Lily leaving her kindergartners completely alone — the soup premise felt uninspired, at least for this show from which I have come to expect better and bigger surprises. And speaking of disappointing surprises …

6. The big “wedding mystery” got resolved, but not really, and also in a sort of “duh” way. So Barney is the groom, but we don’t know if he’ll marry Nora or Robin. (Those are the only two options, right?) We sort of figured that part out already. And honestly, I’m tired of trying to piece together clues as to whom Barney will marry, and when, and how Ted will meet the mother there, because it’s clear that Bays and Thomas will drag this out as long as they feel like it, possibly for two more seasons or beyond. All the episodes that I liked this season dealt with the more immediate present because we got a break from all the theorizing and guessing with no resolution. None of the hints about the identity of the mother even got lip service in this episode, and it’s clear that next season will focus heavily on Lily’s pregnancy and a potential love triangle between Robin, Barney and Nora, dragging out the juicy parts of the future indefinitely. So the “big reveal” that Barney will finally get hitched feels more like an unattainable oasis on the horizon than an actual surprise.

 But here are three things I did like:

– Dave Foley: Always great. I hope he comes back as Marshall’s new boss next season. Did you know all the seasons of Kids in the Hall are on Instant Netflix? Oh man. ENJOY!
– Robin is my hero: “Neither of you is good at finding ‘the button.’ After some awkward pawing, that building’s going to fake an implosion, say ‘baby, that was great’ and go to sleep.”
– Marshall and Lily’s moment: Even though I saw it coming, I still whispered, “Yaaaay!” when Lily revealed to Marshall that she’s pregnant. Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel played the scene perfectly. His kisses on her forehead were so genuine and sweet. The moment was so special, I guess it doesn’t matter that much that we got there on a path of exploding diarrhea jokes.

What did you think of “Challenge Accepted”? Will you miss How I Met Your Mother over the summer or are you, like me, ready for a break?

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.