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Worldly Distractions: How I Met Your Mother 9.17- Sunrise





Well, last week we really did "meet the mother", and are now five episodes out from the grand finale. We're at the finish line, folks. What's next for our fearsome five?

It's Sunday, 5 AM, and we're thirteen hours away from the wedding. Two guys wander down the road, babbling about how unsuccessful they are at love. Suddenly, a mysterious lurching figure approaches. No, it's not a zombie, as one of them obviously remarks, but a very drunken Barney Stinson. He stumbles around, promises to teach them how to live - and horks all over the ground. Opening credits.

Ted recounts the tragic story of his childhood best friend, a balloon, who was accidentally let go when Ted turned away to grab hot dogs. It taught him never to let anything he loved go, because then it's gone forever. We cut to him and Robin, searching the beach for Barney. Robin isn't too concerned, pointing out that he'll eventually wander home - but she does express some worry that he might have bailed on the wedding. Ted assures her that he hasn't, citing his own personal experience. This leads to a conversation about Stella. It turns out Ted talked to her a year a few days ago, in relation to the Locket Incident. Stella points out the million different ways it's weird, and accuses him of trying to destroy the wedding.

Marshall complains about the broken heating in his room, which the front desk blames on the ghost of Captain Deerduff. However, Narrator-Ted points out that there was a ghost in the room - that of Lily, who keeps appearing to Marshall and reminding him of their terrible argument. They get to the San Francisco debacle, which Lily claims should be addressed to 2006 Lily. Surprise surprise, she appears, complete with terrible haircut.

Barney takes his new friends on the "Journey to Awesome", which he maintains must begin at a strip club. The guys wonder if he's a serial killer. However, Barney manages to dig up a "Gentleman's Club" in the middle of nowhere, so they figure he must be all right. Off they go to the Crab Shed.

Robin and Ted discuss Stella, which leads to Robin's ranking of his exes. Number five is Stella, four Zoey (really?!), three the Slutty Pumpkin, two Marshall (that time when they pretended to be together to sell an apartment). Victoria takes the top spot. They laugh about it for a bit, then Robin asks Ted why they broke up. Ted admits it was because of her.

Barney's new friends have apparently never been to a strip club before, and are overwhelmed. Barney recounts the story of Quinn, saying that it so devastated him he can only go to strip clubs once a week. When one of the guys suggests they use their new training on some ladies, Barney slaps him viciously, declaring them not ready.

If they hadn't cast Kal Penn as a minor character a few seasons back, I would have totally approved of bringing in Harold and Kumar instead of these two blank ciphers. Just saying.

Ted explains to Robin that he ended the relationship because Victoria didn't want him to be her friend anymore. Robin is stunned. There's another flashback, in which we learn that Ted contacted Victoria next to find the locket. After giving him a long lecture about derailing people's weddings, Victoria reveals that she does have it - but she's in Germany. She agrees to send it to him, and once Ted begs a little, some German goodies too. However, the package is intercepted and delivered to Ted's "wife" - Jeanette Mosby. Yeah, remember Crazy Jeanette from last season? She's baaaaack!

2006 Lily is thrilled with 2013, spouting outdated references and stunned that Barney is getting married. Marshall steers the Lilys back to the conversation, saying that when they split up seven years ago, it was the saddest moment of his life. The ghost of Marshall's dad, from the corner, voices a strong objection. He also points out that because Lily hurt Marshall, that doesn't mean Marshall gets to hurt her. The argument continues.

To continue on their journey to manhood, Barney gets the guys fitted for their first suits. One of them, Justin, complains that it's "just clothes", which practically kills Barney. He and the suit salesman laugh together, then suit the men up and pull the "Haaave you met Justin/Kyle?" trick. Justin and Kyle are agog.

Robin asks why on earth he gave up Victoria to stay her friend. Ted refuses to tell her, because "You already know the answer". However, he's not going to do anything, because with the wedding hours away, it's just too late. She says great, for the short term, but what happens when the wedding's over? Cue Ted's news about Chicago.

Of course, she's shocked and hurt. Ted tells her that it's simply time to move on - sure, he had a good time in New York, but there were tons of bad times. Um, isn't that the definition of LIVING ANYWHERE EVER, you coward? Anyway, this leads to a discussion of Ted's worst relationships. Robin places Bla-Bla fifth, Boats Boats Boats fourth, Karen third, Zoey second, and Jeanette as the clear winner. I don't know, the way they're doing this really seems weird. It's like a promo for the past eight seasons. "Tune in for the Best of Ted's Girlfriends, right after these messages!"

This brings us back to another flashback, in which Jeanette continues to behave like a creepy stalker and dangles the necklace like some sort of twisted prize.

Marshall fights with the two Lilys and his dad. It's boring. Ghost Lily concedes that, since their dreams can both be fulfilled in New York and they have a baby, maybe it's sensible to stay in the US. Of course, Marshall uses that to claim that he won, completely ignoring his dickish behavior. She tells him to stop lying and leaving her out, or else the marriage will collapse.

Robin and Ted sit on the beach together. She suggests they watch the sun come up. We flash back to Jeannette Crazypants, who tells Ted that he needs to stop being hung up on Robin - it's crazy even by her terms. Ted admits he's still in love with her (well, duh). He maintains that love means becoming totally irrational, which is the worst thing I've heard since Love Story. Jeanette throws the locket into a nearby pond, then suggests they get back together. Ted can only stare in horror. Back in the present, the sun is over the horizon and Robin declares it a new day. They go back to the hotel for some last-minute sleep. Ted helps her up from the sand, but as their hands join, they can't help but linger.

Barney gives the guys a bunch of ridiculous Bro advice, passing the torch to a new generation. Justin and Kyle solemnly swear to care for the Bro Code traditions. They are left with the remains of the Playbook and a new outlook on life.

The real Lily comes back to Marshall's room. He immediately apologizes and tells her they can live wherever they want. Lily tells him that they'll stay in New York. They reconcile.

On the beach, Robin and Ted finally let go - and Robin floats away. Okay, WTF? I'd be fine with just the letting go stuff. But having her actually float away? Are you fucking kidding me? Tell me you did not snort with laughter when you saw this.

Tag scene - Ted and Robin sit on the beach and discuss their first date. Absolutely nothing happens. I actually wonder if they forgot to put this in another part of the episode. There's no joke, no comments, nothing. It feels like a fragment.

This episode was really iffy. The Marshall-Lily plotline needed to be said but was very poorly executed. There was some truly terrible dialogue, and Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan both appeared bored out of their minds. I'm not surprised, they've been rehashing the same tired lines for a whole season now. Ted and Robin's story was all right, but suffered from the tacked-on recap of Ted's relationships, the endless story of the locket, and the pointless rehashing of Ted's continued feelings. The ending started out very well, but collapsed under the ridiculous imagery. Oddly enough, Barney's story comes off the best here. Sure, it was about 90% filler, and seemed rather pointless at the time, but the ending pulled it together. How odd that this collection of superficial maneuvers would turn out to be quite profound. It's no surprise that Barney's always been the most famous character on the show. He let go of his youth tonight, and it worked just fine. Everything else? Pretty much a thumbs down.

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