Last night’s episode relied heavily on one of the show’s favorite plot devices: flashbacks and flash-fowards. Based on the premise that, starting in 2000, Ted and Marshall have “trilled” it up every three years (i.e. watched the entire Star Wars trilogy in one sitting), the episode flashbacked to four points in the gang’s history, then to the present (2012) before one final flash-forward to 2015. Not only did the story flash to certain time periods, it also showed Ted, Marshall and Barney’s predictions for what their lives would be like every three years (i.e. there were twice the amount of flashes to include the hypothetical ones). Sound confusing? Here’s the breakdown:

2000 (for real): Ted and Marshall in College
The start of the trilogy tradition came whilst avoiding an econ final they had failed to study for. Ted and Marshall are in their classic college-era looks, featuring Ted’s curly black hair and spectacles.

2003: Cool Kids Who Refuse to Grow Up
When they theorize what life will be like in 2003, college Ted and Marshall envision having kick-ass jobs as an architect and successful lawyer while sporting questionable hairstyles (Ted with long, glossy locks and Marshall with his elusive mustache). Lily has maintained her black college bangs and bob and is pregnant. Robin appears as “Rhiannon,” Ted’s awesome “hot in a crunchy, earthy kind of way” girlfriend from England. Also, they all share adult-sized bunk beds and have a band.

2003 (for real): HIMYM Beginnings
Ted fails to play “Hot Cross Buns” on his electric guitar, Marshall has failed to get into law school, nor grow a legitimate mustache, and Lily isn’t pregnant. Barney is now a part of their lives, wearing his trademark suit and shooing out his latest one-night stand.

101700_D0145b.jpg2006: Upper-Class Snobs
In this daydream, Ted and Marshall once again are accomplished in their respective fields, but this time they’re dressed in sophisticated clothes; “Lady Aldrin” is similarly wearing a gown and tiara and Rhiannon is dressed for the opera (which Ted designed), and instead of being British can now speak French. Barney foresees himself looking exactly the same and escorting another conquest out the door (“I’m KFC — you don’t want to mess with the recipe.”)

2006 (for real):
Lily has left Marshall for San Francisco to pursue art, leaving Marshall desperately heartbroken, while Robin and Ted are dreamily dating as love-struck partners. Barney remains the same.

101700_D0683b.jpg2009: The 60’s and the Introduction of Trey
Everyone is for some reason dressed in Mad Men-era ensembles. Ted and Robin are married, but Lily is pregnant and married to Trey, a “douche-y guy in a trucker hat,” in Marshall’s cynical portrayal. Barney at last has something he aspires to: “back boobs, patent pending.”

2009 (for real):
In probably one of the better flashbacks, Ted realizes he has failed on all of his previous goals since 2000: he and Robin aren’t married, he got engaged and then left at the altar and he started an architecture firm that failed after two months. Furthermore, Robin is secretly sleeping with Barney and when Ted and Marshall go to Barney’s to watch the trilogy, Robin is forced to hide in Barney’s stormtrooper suit for the entire 382 minutes.

2012: Ted Will Be Married
At 34, if Ted is not married by 2012, “something is seriously wrong with me” he laughs heartily, joined by Marshall, Barney, and Robin-as-the-stromtrooper.

2012 (for real – present):
It seems Ted’s eternal optimism has finally been defeated as he realizes he is still nowhere close to being married and having kids. Gloomily, he predicts in 2015 he will be a balding hoarder forced to seek companionship via customer service representatives. Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily will be on a boat on the Cape with their 4+ children, Robin will be married to trucker hat Trey with back boobs and Barney… Barney suddenly realizes he doesn’t want to continue his old life of sleeping with strangers – he wants to be with Quinn. He then rushes to tell Quinn she can keep her mugs at his place and they share a heartfelt moment of disclosing where they have been sneaking off to fart (until now).

2015 (for real): Ted Has Finally Met the Mother
Thankfully, Ted’s sad vision is sorely off the mark and it is revealed that he has a newborn daughter (“who looks just like her mother”) in 2015 when the three guys once again gather for the trilogy.

Although the episode was jam-packed with various events in the group’s history, present and future, it still managed to bring back a great HIMYM pastime, as well as offer some tidbits looking ahead (Ted WILL meet the mother soon and it seems Barney and Quinn continue to solidify their relationship, making it more likely she is his bride in the season finale). What did you all think of the elaborate time-flash episode? Was it reassuring to see Ted with proof of the mother in three years time?

(Images courtesy of CBS)

Jenn Lee

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jenn grew up in Ohio before moving to Seoul, Korea, where she attended international school and failed to learn Korean. From there she went on to earn a BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania before settling in Seattle, where she now spends too much time pondering the power of narrative in TV shows and novels. While she loves a good smart comedy (a la Community or Parks and Recreation), her favorite current show is Breaking Bad; all-time mentions include Arrested DevelopmentLost and Friends. When she’s not consuming television or literature, she’s savoring pastries and searching for the city’s ultimate sandwich.