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Worldly Distractions: How I Met Your Mother 9.2 - Coming Back





Okay, so we can all agree that Part 1 of the premiere kind of sucked, right? Well, I suppose it's time to get these guys paired off and continue limping to the show's tired, sad finish line, so let's do this.

54 hours before the wedding (wait, they split up in the car only an hour ago? Is this season going to be like 24, an hour per episode? Gross.), Ted gets a bunch of simpering from the front desk clerk over his single status. Huh? What hospitality worker has ever behaved like this in the history of ever? Anyway, they're early for checkout, and the clerk is full of recommendations for Lily and Marshall, but can only recommend TV to Ted. Ha ha, Ted's alone, how funny! Lily tries to make him feel better, but gets a call from Marshall and promptly walks off to coo at him. Opening credits begin.

Lily moans that Marshall missed his flight - I suppose he lost the Great Plane Race - and won't get here that night. Even though there are 54 whole hours to go before the wedding and he could probably drive there in that time. The clerk promptly takes back his brochures, because singles can't have fun ha ha in your face clerk. Lily storms into the bar and demands that the bartender keep her drunk all weekend (or as he calls it, the "Kennedy package").

Barney is incensed at Marshall for missing his plane, and demands he get on another flight leaving in five minutes (wait, when did that flight appear?). Seatmate says she will fight Marshall for the seat, sounding remarkably like Lily last episode. No, Marshall's chances do not look good. But that's okay, he spent all of last episode trying to delete a picture so maybe this time he'll actually have something to do. Barney encourages him to throw Seatmate's carry-on into a restricted area. Marshall protests, and says he'll get to New York honorably, holiday weekend or not. Just then, there's an announcement - a big storm is coming in and all East Coast airports are shutting down. Everyone will have to drive, and hurry to find a car, because they'll be booked fast. So Marshall will be driving there. Ha. I am vindicated. Who's taking bets that he'll have to share with Seatmate, and they'll bond on the way?

Actually, Marshall suggests this to her, and she seems on board - until she throws his carry-on into a restricted area and tells him to have a nice bus ride, with no provocation whatsoever. Wow. I would never treat someone as adorable as Jason Segel that badly. Marshall gets in line at the car rental, where he and Seatmate taunt each other. Faced with staying in Minnesota and missing the wedding, he prays for a miracle - and the universe sends him...a highly efficient ticket agent who looks just like Alan Arkin. (Google proves that it is not, sadly.) Marshall's line speeds up, while Seatmate's is at a standstill. Marshall gets the very last car, and acts like a jerk about it.

Unfortunately, Ted notes that the car stands in direct opposition to all of Marshall's environmentalist values. The car is called the Monstrosity (Ted can't remember its real name), complete with Canyonero-esque jingle. It just about kills him. Marshall almost gives it up, but is mollified - until he's informed that there's no baby seat, and none to rent. Seatmate offers to rent the car and go pick up the baby seat for him. I don't know, I wouldn't trust her, Eriksen. Unfortunately, he does, and even offers her some cash for the baby seat. Sigh. How did this guy get to be a lawyer? Seatmate speeds off, and he is stuck cursing with the baby.

Barney explains to his friends that there is some kind of Stinson curse. We get a flashback to 1807 Moscow (SQUEE MOSCOW I LIVE THERE), where Barnovsky and Jamesikov talk about the joys of being Russian stereotypes as they ride in a fancy carriage.

Side note: I know this is for laughs, but it would actually not be all that strange to have a Russian nobleman of African descent hanging around Moscow - Peter the Great had at least one courtier from West Africa, who became one of Pushkin's ancestors. And hey, Gogol was likely gay, so Jamesikov is two for two. The more you know.

Anyway, Barnovsky and Jamesikov ran over an old Gypsy woman (I'm pretty sure that's racist now - learn some sensitivity, HIMYM writers, and maybe brush up on some writing skills too), who curses them with horniness. The men inexplicably break out electric guitars. Since then, all Stinsons have been unable to keep up a monogamous relationship. Barney explains that the curse was lifted when James met the love of his life, got married and settled down, thus allowing Barney to do the same. Aww, isn't that great - oh wait, James is getting divorced (and Lily's getting wasted).

Yeah, James couldn't give up screwing around, and got dumped as a result. Actually, I'm impressed that a mainstream, not LGBT-focused series is portraying a same-sex divorce. I think the inclination has been to go too far in the other direction, "everything's sunny in Gayland" kind of stuff, so weirdly enough, it's kind of refreshing to see this storyline. Even if it is a minor subplot. Robin's very mad that he kept this from them, which is valid, and that he broke the curse, which is stupid. Lily's annoyed that Robin thinks James and Tom are Barney's only monogamy models, pointing out that there's another couple who have totally been together forever and - Barney walks in, they change the subject.

Barney announces that their wedding day is James' anniversary too, so they'll be anniversary-bros, which is great, because they're the one couple who makes Barney believe in marriage. While Lily mutters under her breath, James tries to explain, but Barney won't let him interrupt. He is about to launch into an ode to committed gay love when Robin distracts him, then offers James her hot Mountie cousin in exchange for complete silence until the wedding's over. James points out that if her marriage depends on someone else's, it must be pretty fragile. Robin has no good answer to this. He ends up agreeing anyway. Barney asks where Tom is, to which James replies that he's having his wisdom teeth out. "On top of a divorce? That's rough," says Lily. Game over.

So James has no choice but to break the news. Barney walks off in a daze. The wedding's ruined, clearly. Robin withdraws her cousin from the negotiation, everyone looks depressed, and wait, Ted was in this scene?

Ted bitches at Lily over her indiscretion, then declares her cut off, which leads to an unfunny gag of the bartender slipping her about a dozen drinks while Ted rips them out of her hand. Seriously, Lily is such a life ruiner. She ruins lives. Meanwhile, Barney's at the front desk. Robin rushes in, assuming that he's looking for a strip club, but Barney insists that's not the case. He needs the key to James' room, where he set up a romantic display complete with erotic cake for his brother and brother-in-law - it was their anniversary, after all. Robin thinks it's really weird (yup), but sweet (yup). Barney teases her about her lack of faith in him. She says he can't possibly blame her, it was a Gypsy curse and all. Yeah, no way this marriage will ever go sour.

Barney says he's sad about the divorce, but of course now that he has Robin he believes in love and blah blah blah make me puke. They proceed to nibble on Candy James' ding-dong (yeah, you read that right), then patch things up with Human James while Ted narrates about believing in people. Eccchh. Let's check in with Stranded Marshall.

By some miracle, Seatmate (whose name is apparently Daphne) has returned, but insists that she picks the music - and Marshall pays for gas. No explanation is given for her change of heart. I guess we'll get that for next episode, in yet another installment of Everyone Gets to the Wedding. Seriously, this is annoying as crap. Get them married, move on to Ted and the Mother. We can live with that.

James walks into the bar only to find Ted. He jokes about the "singles' table", and joins his brother's best man for a drink. They talk about their love lives. The clerk comes by and tells Ted that "she's just around the corner". He means the housekeeper, of course. After James leaves, the camera goes back to Ted doing the crossword - and the Mother sitting next to him. Oh, wait, it's the Mother one year from now, and Future Ted is right there with her. Apparently they're on a little romantic getaway in a place where they met. They engage in some cuteness, marking the first time we've seen Ted interact with her - even if it's in the future. Future Ted comments that one year before, he was sitting at that table. The Mother says she can see it. He tells her he made a promise to himself on that day long ago - he was coming back and bringing the Mother. Or rather, the girl he knew he was going to meet. They actually have really good chemistry, and I have no complaints with the Mother's casting (though I'm sure the Internet could name a few if we gave them space - shh, don't let them know!). Future Ted walks out, and the Mother looks over at the seat where Present Ted is sitting. Honestly, this scene's kind of beautiful. I really like it. Even if the rest of the episode was iffy, this was a nice moment.

We get a tag scene of the clerk apologizing for the slow service and encouraging Ted to "try to" enjoy his stay, because of course his singleness causes him constant pain. Okay, joke, you've played yourself out. The scene goes on way too long, but I guess they needed to kill time. Ted goes to his room, where Barney has stashed all of his erotic stuff intended for James. Cut to credits.

Iffy is a pretty good word to describe this season premiere. It is taking forever to get to this wedding. Rumor has it that the creators intend to continue in this vein. All I can say is if they do it, it is going to be a long, slow, dull season. Marshall hasn't even gotten to Farhampton and we're two episodes in. Ted's kids have probably had their dad committed by now. Enough is enough. Move past the all-important wedding and do something real. Try to die with a little dignity, guys, okay?

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