‘How I Met Your Mother’ recap: Out with the old, in with the new

Posted: May 17, 2011 in articles, episode recaps, how i met your mother, l.a. times show tracker

Oh, “How I Met Your Mother,” you tease. Although the outcome of the Lily-and-Marshall (Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel) story line was pretty obvious and I felt confident that Ted (Josh Radnor) would not get back together with Zoey (Jennifer Morrison), the show really did keep me guessing about Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). The two of them spent most of the episode trying to stop Ted’s and Zoey’s reconciliation, but their journey also led them to reexamine their own relationship. On the cab ride to Brooklyn, they mused over how horrible a couple Ted and Zoey were. “Almost as bad as us,” Barney said. “We were a mess,” Robin replied. She could see why Ted might want to go back to Zoey. “No matter how bad things go”  — a loaded pause — “Ted really did love Zoey there for a minute there, didn’t he?” Ted was clearly a substitute for Barney and Zoey was Robin, but it was still really wonderful to see such a vulnerable moment from Robin. Barney smiled before replying, “Yeah, he did. And she loved him too, didn’t she?” You bet she did.

That might have been one of my favorite Barney-and-Robin scenes. It was a nice acknowledgment of their relationship -– almost a validation -– and featured unusually soft and emotional interplay for the pair. It’s not often we get to see them discussing their feelings so openly (even if they didn’t use their own names) and simply. Remember how complicated it was when they dated? This was simple and lovely. I wish we’d seen more of this and less of the “mess.”

Alas, the foreshadowing didn’t bode well for Robin and Barney, whose new motto is, “New is always better.” When they finally tackled Ted to the ground, Robin tried to persuade him not to go into the coffee shop to meet Zoey. “The future is scary, but you can’t run back to the past because it’s familiar,” she said, but she was looking at Barney, who added, “It’s a mistake.” No, sometimes, it really isn’t, you guys! Get it together, please! But then Barney ran into Nora, who is also part of his past. So does that mean old is better? Or are they doomed if they get back together?

Read the rest of my recap at the L.A. Times Show Tracker blog.

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