Monday, February 27, 2012

How I Met Your Mother: "Karma"

Quick Review: Wow. I have never been so impressed by an episode in a good, long time.

 Episode Synopsis: Despite the bare facts being revealed about Quinn's exotic profession, Barney realizes he has feelings for the young lady and sets out to win her over. Meanwhile, Lily and Marshall welcome Robin to the suburbs and Ted wonders what to do about Robin's empty room. -tvguide

 Spoilers ahead, so watch the episode before you proceed. Of course, you are free to proceed without viewing the episode, but then don't whine to me about spoilers. Anyway, I've got to get back to smoking some meat.

Best Episode Moment: Marshall and Lily discover that Ted's apartment is now their apartment, and they find a crib in Robin's old room.

Funniest Episode Moment: When they drop the note into the crib.

Worst Episode Moment: Ted and Barney have an important discussion of their problems at the strip club.

Most Terrifying Episode Moment: Marshall and Lily want Robin to stay forever and ever.

Best Character Moment: Ted finally taking steps to becoming a better person.

Best Character Interaction: Ted and Imaginary Robin

Worst Character Interaction: Barney and "Karma" at the strip club. 

Most Obvious Point: The woman Barney falls hard for calls herself Karma when she works as a stripper. 

Best Character Progression: Ted, finally figuring out that living in the apartment is part of what's holding him back.

Best Callback: Quinn not believing that Barney has a gay, Black brother, among other details.

Best Recurring Theme: Robin's journal entries about life in Long Island.

Any hint about The Mother? It's becoming a little more plausible that she'd go for Ted.

Any hint about The Wedding? It's becoming a little more plausible that it's Quinn.

Do we like Ted this episode? Oh, dear God, yes. Yes, this is the Ted we've been missing these past few seasons. I haven't liked Ted this much since The Leap.

Overall Opinion of the Episode: Hope fills me for this series. After feeling very let down by season six despite a few very strong individual episodes, I entered its seventh season with trepidation. I refused to give up on this show, and I expected that this season would continue to disappoint and that I'd have to live with a few decent episodes and maybe one or two really good ones. Overall, I thought that this show would just be treading water until the end. 

Then tonight's episode changed everything, and it's about time. After trying, and failing, to find a suitable hobby to replace Robin, Ted has moved out of the apartment and is actually taking steps to be a better person. I honestly didn't see that ending coming, and I was absolutely floored by what this means for the series. Things are going to be different from now on. Yes, our friends will still call the apartment above MacLarin's home, but it's now Lily and Marshall's home, not Robin's, nor Ted's. Ted's days there are over.

The show now has a fresh start, and I hope that it decides to use it well. I'd love to see Ted getting back to his teaching, or being a hotshot architect designing a building for the New York skyline. Most of all, I want to see Ted grow as a person. He should still retain that awesome, romantic quality that made us root for him all those years ago, but it's time he be older and wiser, and worthy of The Mother.

Speaking of growth, here we see Barney chasing after a girl who keeps turning the tables on him. I love his acceptance that this is universal payback, Karma if you will, and yet he's still not giving up. Quinn is almost too perfect a foil for Barney, and she risks being a Mary Sue if they don't find a way to make her real. I think we'll get that once we discover why she works in a strip club in the first place.

If it works out with Quinn, Nora's role in the story will actually make more sense. Nora tried to pull Barney into being a better person, and for a while he was reaching for that better life. However, his old ways kept dragging him down, and he just couldn't climb that high. She was an unattainable standard. Quinn is straight out of Barney's old life, and she's going to push him out of it. Long story short, it will take a stripper to make Barney into a better man.

I do love the resolution to Lily and Marshall living in the suburbs. It's a clever way to bring them back into the fold, and to force Ted to actually have some growth. The moment when they realize that Ted is gone and the apartment is theirs is one of the sweetest moments of the series. I all but applauded.

Then when the note caused the crib to collapse, I did bust a gut laughing. That was funny, and the kind of joke that the entire episode was building up to. Ted makes a grand gesture, and leaves a death trap in their child's room. That's comedy, and what I want to see more of on this show.

This is the episode I've been waiting to see, and I was afraid it would never happen. For a long while now, I was afraid that the moment Ted actually meets The Mother would be a profoundly disappointing letdown. Now I have restored hope. Perhaps this is just the effects of watching a great episode of a show I love, seeing firsthand that this series still has it in it's seventh year, but I do believe my optimism is warranted. 

It is my hope that this episode will mark the moment when the series found its footing again and returned to greatness. For the first time in a long time, I really can't wait to know what happens next.


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