If you haven’t seen the season premiere of How I Met Your Mother yet, turn around and go back, because this is not a spoiler-free post!
The episode opens up where everyone’s favourite season finale cliff-hanger left off: Ted goes to see Barney’s bride, who turns out to be Robin. As is to be expected, Robin is having a case of cold feet. Honestly, a Barney/Robin wedding is bound to have more than a few bumps and bruises on its way, and though I would have loved for the scene to focus longer on Robin’s supposed crisis, Ted immediately makes the story about him. But the story of the wedding does have to be stretched out for a few more seasons, so we’ll take it slow for now.
Ted takes his story back to the present. Lily and Marshall are happy with their new baby, Barney and Quinn are engaged, Robin’s in denial about her jealousy, and Ted is running off with Victoria.
We’ll focus first on Ted and Victoria. Part of me is very disappointed that Victoria is not the mother, because of all the numerous relationships Ted has been in over the course of the show, Victoria has always been my favourite. But on the other hand, I can’t help but feel contempt for Ted for what he’s doing with Victoria right now. He, more than anyone, understands the sting of being left at the altar; in fact, he goes out of his way to bring it up several times. Yet, he seems to be having surprisingly little trouble putting Klaus through the same pain that he felt when Stella ran away. It really puts a glaring black spot on his character and his morals.
Let’s go back to Marshall and Lily’s apartment for a moment, where Quinn has just asked Robin and Lily to be her bridesmaids. Turns out that Barney never told Quinn about him having dated Robin. It seems hard to believe that of all the time Quinn has spent hanging out with the group, the topic had not once come up. Remember that time Ted was dating Blah-blah and it took the gang less than 20 minutes to spill the beans not only about Ted and Robin but also Barney and Robin? It’s just strange. Even in this episode, as soon as it’s apparent that it’s a secret, it takes sleep-deprived Lily and Marshall just a few minutes to blurt it out.
Speaking of Lily and Marshall! They served as the comic relief in this episode without having any real story line of their own. I worry that Lily and Marshall’s role in the show might now be reduced to nothing more than parenting jokes and cute baby moments. As funny as the vaguely-drug-induced-seeming humor was in this episode, it’s a pretty cheap ploy to resort to for any remaining episodes. Hopefully Lily and Marshall will be restored to full health after a good night’s sleep.
Though Barney’s 52 second wrap-up of the first seven seasons of How I Met Your Mother wasn’t enough to convince Quinn not to break up with Barney, Robin’s out-of-the-blue new boyfriend, Nick, with the chiseled abs seemed to do the trick. Barney and Robin have been playing a game of dating tag (like phone tag, but much more infuriating) since they first broke up. First Robin has a boyfriend, then Barney has a girlfriend, then Robin has a boyfriend, then Barney has a girlfriend, then Robin has a boyfriend. And back and forth until everyone just goes crazy. As we see by the way she cries over a box of stuff from her and Barney’s relationship that she thought was destroyed, it’s clear that Robin is not over Barney, and she’s not okay with him being engaged. It doesn’t make much sense to me why they keep playing this game of cat-and-mouse, when they’ve even agreed before that they want to be together. It’s beginning to become tiring.
Ted has a meaningful conversation with Klaus at the train station. And amidst the German stereotype humor, Ted realizes that Victoria is not his soulmate, and we see Barney and Robin realize that they are each others’ soulmates after all. Of course, it might be asking too much that Barney will dump Quinn, Robin will dump Beefy McAbcrunch, and everyone will live happily ever after by the end of episode 2.
But of course, let’s not forget the appearance of the yellow umbrella, which, at this point, I am so tired of seeing. It’s a clever plot device to help illustrate how very close he is to meeting the mother, but at the same time it’s just too much of a tease, because the story will not end quite so soon.
Overall, it wasn’t a very strong first episode. Ted’s part of the story was mostly forgettable, and I’m left feeling more interested in what happens “a little ways down the road” at the wedding, and becoming less interested in how the story gets there. Everything has become predictable. Everyone keeps making the same mistakes over and over again, and when we already know the ending, it’s just annoying to watch them do it.