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Worldly Distractions: How I Met Your Mother 8.24 - Something New





Here we are. After many seasons and dozens of ups-and-downs, we have arrived at The Big Wedding. Robin and Barney are tying the knot, and tonight Ted will meet the mother. Does anyone actually think we’re going to see her face? I doubt it. Regardless, tonight’s season finale is a night of changes. Join me for one more glimpse at Ted’s single life.

We join Ted as he puts the finishing touches on his monstrosity of a house. Unfortunately, he’s not very good at it, and various bits of decor keep falling over. Robin and Barney are rehearsing their first dance over at his apartment, complete with sparkles, cannons and a chorus line. Lily and Marshall are busy packing up for the big move. Judy Eriksen calls, and Lily is happy to have a chance to confide in her mother-in-law. Unfortunately, Marshall never told her they were moving to Rome – a little tiny omission, really. He makes the throat-slashing motion and says “Don’t mention Rome.†Up with the opening credits.

Lily is understandably pissed off at Marshall, who claims that it wasn’t over the phone news – it was face-to-face news, which makes no sense since they’re going to see her at Christmas, when the year is half-finished. Lily thinks that was actually a pretty good idea, but it’s too late. She hands the phone to Marshall so he can fix the situation. Good luck with that. Judy freaks out at him and demands to see her grandson before they leave. Marshall offers to let her visit for a week, which earns a violent reprisal from Lily. She protests that the place will be packed up, so he suggests going to Minnesota for a week. Uh-uh, Lily can’t leave her job. They reach a compromise – Marshall and Marvin are going to Minnesota. Lily says in a deathly voice, “You are going to take my infant son away from me for a week?â€

Cut to her screeching with glee at MacLaren’s. She tells Ted about all her wonderful kid-free plans for the week, which involve “Teddy Westsideâ€, of course. Ted tells her all about his house. The restoration, at long last, is done. Lily wants to see it, especially since Marshall has already cancelled the wi-fi and cable at their apartment.

To celebrate the end of wedding planning, Barney and Robin are out on a date, where he has gotten their special table by the window – the one where they saw those two bums fighting, or making love, or something. There was a sandwich involved. He’s also found the first cigar brand they smoked together. They pull them out to sniff them when the couple next to them ask that they stop. Robin protests that they weren’t going to smoke, but they say the smell alone is gross. They’re both total jackasses, incidentally, but Robin and Barney put their cigars back like good kids. However, the couple demand that they put the bag away, because the cigars are unappetizing to look at. After the cigars are put away, they then imply that the evening is ruined. Robin wonders if they are their archenemies, but Barney says no – they were always their archenemies, they had just never met. The couple turns out to be rude to everyone, sniffing at the staff and behaving like jerks for no reason. Robin declares that they should ignore them and keep the evening focused on good things, but just then the guy, a “self-diagnosed claustrophobicâ€, takes their window seat. This means war. Rather than celebrate their love, Robin and Barney are out for retribution. Which is much more like them, really.

Lily and Ted head up to Westchester. On the way Lily gets a phone call from her husband, who is in Minnesota getting the crap beaten out of him by his brothers. Just like old times! However, Judy is making threats about keeping them in the country. Uh-oh. Marvin’s a cutie, though. Lily rages at Ted about her mother-in-law crushing her dreams, showing him a picture of Marvin’s blocks spelling out “USA†for proof. To cheer her up, Ted shows her the house. She’s super impressed with Ted’s work, and mentions that it’s a great house for his kids to grow up in. She wanders around praising the place – until she finds the For Sale sign. Yup, old Teddy thinks he’s going to die alone, so he’s selling his dream home. That and he’s moving to Chicago. What what WHAT?!

Barney and Robin plot their revenge, all while stuck at the crappy table next to the swinging kitchen door that no one likes. He notices that the guy is constantly checking out the hostess, meaning that the girlfriend (“Krirstenâ€) is more invested in the relationship. Uh-oh. Don’t do it, Barney and Robin! They’re going to turn out to be, like, your caterers or something. Regardless, the game is on.

Ted explains to Lily why he’s moving to Chicago. It has all the best of Cleveland and New York, and he’s ready for a change. Lily is hugely disappointed that she won’t return to find her best friend in New York, living in his incredible house with his future wife. Ted says he’s tired of looking. The closest he’s ever had to a true love is Marshall. She tells Ted that under no circumstances is he moving away, and Marshall (who has just called) that if he lets Judy keep them in the USA he is permanently banned from “stuffing my ravioliâ€. Once Marshall takes her off speaker, he explains that Judy has changed her tack – now she intends to move to Rome with them and do all their cooking. Uh-oh.

Barney watches the other couple while making up their imagined conversation in stupid faces. “I’m probably saying something in French!†Robin comes back to their table with a solid plan for their destruction. Fortunately Barney wants to go ahead with it, because according to Robin it’s already in action. We turn to the other couple (whose conversation is exactly how Barney imagined it). They each receive a flute of champagne – but hers has a ring in the bottom. Hearkening back to Robin and Ted’s breakup over the champagne error in Season 2’s “Something Blueâ€, they will be destroyed by an accidental proposal. Krirsten accepts, of course, leaving her guy flabbergasted. Robin wiggles her bare hand. Turns out the guy is afraid of commitment after “only seven years†of dating. Barney and Robin clink glasses. Hey, how’s Robin going to get her ring back?

Ted tells Lily he’s leaving the day after the wedding, which she vehemently protests. And then she makes the connection – it’s because of Robin. He’s leaving New York because the love of his life is there, not because she isn’t. Just then Marshall calls. Lily shouts more threats into the phone re: Judy moving with them. Marshall assures her that it’s totally okay, they’re going, but then the phone rings again. It’s the New York State judiciary. Marshall’s hoped-for judgeship is finally open. His dream is coming true – and can’t be deferred for a year. He suggests various ways of telecommuting, including as a hologram or animatronic figure. There’s no way he can do it. The first of many big decisions he will make as judge stands before him.

Reveling in their victory, Barney and Robin smoke cigars in the park. The couple suddenly approach them. They’re really pissed over their fight, had to call their therapist, and came to a decision – they’re getting married! And the guy is taking Krirsten’s last name. Barney and Robin give hollow congratulations, but as the couple walk away, Barney says with awe that they made that happen – and that makes them cool. Robin chimes in that they’ll soon be legen – wait for it – married! Barney loves it. They’re cute. And their about-face is weird, but carry on. They kiss.

We cut to Ted telling Lily that deep down, he is happy for them. It’s better if he leaves so they can all be happy. Lily asks if something happened, which Ted denies, but she manages to coax it out of him. He tells the story of Robin’s something old (the locket incident detailed in last week’s episode), ending where we left off. It’s raining, and the box has no locket in it, and Ted has to leave her with an awkward “See you at the weddingâ€. He explains that despite their long-ago breakup, when Robin says “jumpâ€, he jumps, and it’s not the way to be anymore. He would do anything to get her that locket – and it’s not right to feel that way about Barney’s soon-to-be wife. Suddenly Lily gets this weird look on her face. Ted asks what’s going on. She reveals that she knows where the locket is. HUH?!

She explains. In 2008, shortly before Ted is supposed to marry Stella, Lily finds herself comforting a drunken Robin, who has pretty much the same feelings Ted does now. Turns out her move to Japan (remember that?) is all to get away from Ted’s new marriage. After Robin starts breaking plates, Lily ushers her out of MacLaren’s, and they wind up in the Park. Robin digs up the box and finds the locket. Back at Lily’s place, she explains that the locket belonged to her grandma, who kept it hidden in her butt during WWII – in Winnipeg. (Is it just me, or does every Canadian ever have some kind of family connection in Winnipeg? Just me? Okay.) Nope, she’s joking. But she had hoped to wear the locket when she married Ted. Since that’s not going to happen, she’ll take it to Japan with her. Robin, apparently obsessed with butts when she’s drunk, cannot be trusted around anything precious at the moment, so Lily puts it in a pencil box for safekeeping.

From there, it wound up with Ted during Lily and Marshall’s move. In 2013, the pencil box is on Ted’s desk at his apartment. He comes up with the brilliant idea of giving it to her as a wedding gift, but seems to be a little bit too pleased with himself. Lily advises him to be very careful. Smart lady.

With 56 hours to go, Ted wraps up the locket, puts it in his bag and heads out to give it to the woman he once loved. Barney and Robin hurry with their last-minute preparations. Marshall, about to board his plane in Minnesota, assures Lily that they will be in Italy within a week. “You told her,†his brother says. “No, this is face-to-face news.†Since Marshall’s brother is always calling him “Your honour,†it looks like she’ll have to put Rome on the back burner. Ted and Lily grab their suitcases and head for the wedding site in a taxi. Ranjit greets Barney and Robin, limo waiting to take them away. Ted asks Lily not to tell anyone about Chicago until the wedding’s over, to which she agrees. Since he’s leaving early Monday, he’ll have to leave for New York on Sunday night...taking the train. Okay, I can see where this is going. In the train station, we see a woman with sexy boots and a guitar case lining up to buy a ticket for Farhampton. She places her yellow umbrella’s tip on the ground. Everyone is ready to arrive at their final destination – and the camera cuts to the mother, fully visible through the glass ticket booth and played by Cristin Milioti (you may remember her from 30 Rock as the “baby-act†comedian, Abby, or The Girl in the Broadway production of Once). Holy hell, are you serious? She’s adorable. Up come the opening credits, and we are left with yet another piece of the story filled in.

So, as a season finale? The last few minutes were definitely the strongest. Robin and Barney’s married-couple plot was just...obvious filler, and the Marshall story was kind of same-old same-old, but the Ted-Lily came to a very well-written conclusion. It’s annoying that we missed the wedding so far, but that seems to be a trend – Downton Abbey certainly did it. Honestly, tonight was the perfect microcosm of a very uneven season, even ending in a way that brought How I Met Your Mother’s best qualities to heart, as we have been continually reminded from episode to episode. So, here we come Season 9 – with the full cast and even the Mother! Hang in there, Ted’s kids, you’ll be rescued soon. For now, let’s enjoy a well-earned break and come back looking forward to more.

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