Monday, April 9, 2012

How I Met Your Mother: "Trilogy Time"

Quick Review: Past, present, and future collide in this amazing episode. 

Episode Synopsis: Speculations run wild as Ted, Barney and Marshall imagine what their lives will be like three years down the road. Star Wars is also involved. -tvguide

Spoilers ahead, so watch the episode before you proceed. And while you're at it, you should watch the original Star Wars trilogy if you've never seen it. Because really, you should watch it. Right now. This review isn't going anywhere. It'll still be here, and you'll come back and be all like, "Dude, thanks for telling me to go watch that Star Wars trilogy, it was awesome. And I'll be like, "I told you it was great." And you'll be like, "I know. I just watched it." So, what was I talking about again? Oh, yeah. This episode. It has something to do with Star Wars, so you should definitely watch Star Wars, then watch the episode, and then come back. Sound like a plan? Good. 

Best Episode Moment: College Ted and Marshall's idea of what 2003 will be like.

Best Fart Joke: "Every night at exactly eight p.m., the well-dressed blonde man appears...He steps out of his building, walks exactly seven paces, and smiles." 

Worst Episode Moment: When I realized I'm identifying way too much with 2012 Ted.

Best Character Moment: Barney, when he realizes that he doesn't want to be with some random woman in 2015.

Best Character Interaction: Barney and Quinn let it all come out.

Best Sagat Narration: "We both got a zero."

Best Callback: Ted's dream girlfriend plays Bass Guitar. 

Best Lesson for Children: "Han shot first."

Best Hanging Lantern: "It still makes sense that we all live together."

Scariest Headline: Bush's Third Term

Best Trilogy: Star Wars.

Any hint about The Mother? Looking at the math, she gets pregnant in 2014, which means it's possible Ted meets her in 2012.

Any hint about The Wedding? Odds are good on Quinn being the bride, and it might be right around the corner.

Do we like Ted this episode? He's finally confronting the fact that he's got a problem. Even though he's lost hope, he's actually in a good place to finally become worthy of The Mother.

Overall Opinion of the Episode: This episode is why I haven't lost hope in the show. I think it's appropriate that the episode's theme is not losing hope. Both Ted and Marshall at one time lose faith that the future can get better when their real future looks nothing like they imagined. Marshall's lowest point was in 2006, and Ted's is right now.

I think a lot of us are in Ted's boat, and if it's not about a relationship, it's about where we are in life. I know that ten years ago, I did not imagine this future for myself right now. I feel like I've stalled in many respects. I thought I would be an established writer with several books creeping up the best-seller list and be traveling the world on my book tours. Instead, it feels like I'm treading water.

But the theme of the episode is to not lose hope, and just because the future isn't what you imagined, it doesn't mean it isn't good. Nor does it mean you're hopeless and that you'll stay in your rut forever. A year ago I wasn't nearly as far along with my writing. And while I'm still not a best-seller, I'm making progress and I refuse to lose hope. Yes, these past ten years may not have turned out like I'd hoped, but that doesn't mean the next ten can't be amazing. After all, like 2012 Ted, I can't see the end of the story.

Let's talk about Ted. This show is about him, since he's the one telling it, and this week we see him go all the way from 2000 to 2015. We see a fifteen year span in three-year increments, and it gives us a chance to explore what's been going on with Ted since college. We also see Ted being slowly but surely frustrated by the way his future just isn't lining up with where he thought he'd be. Taken in brief segments, it's not nearly as annoying as it was watching him go through season after season of this.

Some blame falls on the writers for having to keep Ted treading water all these years and turning him into an annoying, unsympathetic character. Perhaps finally having Ted confront his demons is their way of explaining what went wrong, and perhaps their way of course-correcting. If Ted becomes a great character again, then it will be easy to forgive the times he drove us all nuts.

It's nice to see that we're almost done with the story, and Ted is at the point when all seems lost, but he's finally starting to figure it out. It's the last trilogy time before everything falls into place for him. I'm still rooting for him, and these past few episodes of personal growth have brought back an affection for the character I haven't had since season 4.

Using the Star Wars Trilogy as a framing device was brilliant. It not only allowed for a ton of great Star Wars gags, but it gave very clear milestones that allowed the story to credibly flash back and forward. I liked being able to revisit some earlier moments in the series and see them from a different perspective, but I especially liked finally getting an answer to a question that had bugged me.

Why hadn't Marshall gone to law school immediately after college? If they graduated in 2000, he should have been a lawyer by 2003, 2004 tops. Instead, he didn't get into law school until 2004. While we still don't get the whole story, we know that apparently he wasn't able to get into law school at first and had to manage a Structure store.

I absolutely loved what Ted and Marshall imagined for their future, because it was always from their perspective at the time. College Ted and Marshall could only see it in terms of college, which is why Lily's hair was still goth in 2003. (Nice touch, by the way.) Then in 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012 we see the future predictions be more a reflection of where they were at that time.

Finally,  we get a glimpse into 2015 and know everything is going to be all right, and it'll be sooner than we think. We see Ted the Dad, properly indoctrinating his daughter with Star Wars. I liked seeing that moment, because it's more than just a happy ending, it's a promise from the show's writers that this is going somewhere good, and if we just hang on a little bit longer, we'll like where we end up. I'm prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt on this.

I also really enjoyed Barney and Quinn tonight as they negotiate becoming a real couple. Barney's declaration that he sees a future with Quinn in it showed clear growth, as was their finally being able to let it all out, figuratively and literally. For me, the mugs didn't make them a real couple. Farting in front of each other did.

I loved this episode and can't wait to see where our friend Ted is going. May he finally figure it all out, may he soon meet The Mother, and may the Force be with him. (Come on, like I was going to pass that one up.)


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