“We’re writing this season like it’s the end.” So says How I Met Your Mother co-creator Craig Thomas, and it therefore seems fitting to begin the show’s eighth year with a look back at the show’s legacy thus far: How I Met Your Mother has been, in many ways, the last great multi-camera sitcom. It’s somehow managed to blend the plot intricacies, absurdity and callback humor of Arrested Development with the broad appeal of Friends, and its characters have consistently evolved along the way.
The show’s fan base is divided almost evenly between those eagerly awaiting an answer to who the mother is and those who consider the show’s flashback premise an afterthought, but in this (potentially) last season, the central mystery’s stakes have been raised. It was revealed last season that Ted Mosby will meet his wife at Barney and Robin’s wedding: now three central characters’ past future lives hang in the balance.
The episode opens with that wedding, as an immediately post-wedding Ted tells a stranger about being called in to comfort a panicking Robin. Their brief exchange segues back into the show’s main timeline, where Barney and Quinn are engaged, Marshall and Lily are deliriously exhausted new parents, and Ted is running away with his ex-girlfriend Victoria. Victoria had been all set to wed her longtime German boyfriend Klaus, and Ted is tasked with delivering her jilting note. When he leaves the note in her dressing room, however, he also leaves his car keys.
One Last Job
Barney, meanwhile, is committing to one last major lie for his bride-to-be, albeit one of omission: he’s determined to make sure that Quinn never finds out he dated Robin. Lily and Marshall make short work of that plan, as they almost instantly blurt out his secret in a fit of sleep-deprived semi-consciousness.
Fortunately, Quinn’s new trepidation about Robin is neutralized when it’s revealed that Robin is now dating a hulking pack of abs named Nick. Barney quietly reveals that he’s harboring some feelings for her, however, as he quietly gives her the keys to a storage unit containing everything that might remind him of their time together, still preserved and intact.
No One’s “One”
On his return visit to the church, Ted at last crosses paths with Klaus (guest star Tom Lennon), who is having his own prenuptial crisis. Klaus runs away, absolving Victoria of any wrongdoing. Before parting ways, Klaus offers an explanation: Victoria is wonderful, but she is not “the one” for him – -he doesn’t actually say “the one,” but I don’t dare attempt whatever polysyllabic fake German word he actually uses.
Incidentally, Klaus isn’t the only one who fails to find “the one” in Victoria: future Ted reveals that post-wedding Ted meets his future bride after telling the stranger about wedding Ted’s anecdote about primary Ted — I recognize that that’s a preposterous sentence, but the upshot is that we’re gearing up for a season full of wedding-based promos and a finale that takes place in the town of Farhampton.
For those keeping score, that’s three relationships that we know must end soon, four different Inception-style levels of narration, and — assuming this really is the last season — just a few more months for everything to come together. Whether you obsess over or ignore the central mystery of the mother, it’s genius in at least one sense: there’s no way that these characters can be called static by the end.
(Image courtesy of CBS)