Monday, March 25, 2013

How I Met Your Mother: "The Time Travelers"

Quick Review: This emotional powerhouse is easily the best of the season.

Episode Synopsis: Futuristic doppelgängers of Barney and Ted try to persuade them to attend a Robots vs. Wrestlers competition. Meanwhile, Marshall and Robin engage in a dance-off. -tvguide

Spoilers ahead, and if there's ever a time you listen to me about spoilers, this is it. You don't want a future self to appear and warn you against getting spoiled. Trust me, that conversation can get pretty awkward, and it's never a good idea to get into an argument with your future self. You never know what kind of future gadgets they might bring back to the present, and that just won't be a fair fight. Plus, you might see that you've gone bald in the future, and that will probably just freak you out.

Best Episode Moment: Ted imagines meeting his future wife 45 days early.

Worst Episode Moment: We never get to see Robots versus Wrestlers

Best Twist: This is all happening in Ted's imagination

Best Character Interaction: Ted, Barney, and their future selves sing "For the longest time."

Best Cocktail: The Minnesota Tidal Wave

Worst PSA: "Nobody is saying you need alcohol to have an exciting and memorable night...but in this case you kind of have to be wasted."

Best Trick: The long rambling graffiti story.

Worst Thing to Order in and Irish Bar: Spaghetti and a huge meatball

Biggest Question: What is Carl's last name?

Best Sagat Narration: "But none of those things is the thing I'd do first. You know the thing I'd do first."

Best Callback: Coat Check Girl. (And Barney's Cousin)

Any hint about The Mother? She's currently living on West 115th Street, getting her degree in economics, dating a guy named Louis, and not spending all her time in bars.

Any hint about The Wedding? Barney and Robin will probably be arguing about something as they walk down the aisle.

Do we like Ted this episode? I can't remember the last time I've liked him more. Yes he's sad and lonely, but that's what he's got to go through to be the man he needs to be.

Overall Opinion of the Episode: This show has never done a bottle episode before, and I'd say this one was a success. What better place to set it than MacLarin's, the gang's home away from home. Except that the gang doesn't really consider it home anymore. Lily and Marshall have Marvin, Robin and Barney are engaged, and really, only Ted still considers it home, even though he no longer lives right above it.

What really made this episode work was the combination of silliness and the fact that Ted was the only real person. Barney and all the future versions were in his imagination, and Marshall and Robin's argument was his reliving a memory. This is a lonely Ted, finally alone with himself and his thoughts, and it's exactly where he needs to be.

Ted's been lonely before, but never truly alone. That was his problem, he kept hooking up with anyone who would have him, and it always ended badly. Rather than try to take a break from all of it, he just kept making the same mistakes over again and again, keeping himself in a perpetual loop while everyone else around him moved on. Even Barney. For Ted to move on, he has to actually let himself be lonely and unhappy for a bit, if only to finally realize what's wrong.

One of the episode's best moments is when "Coat Check Girl" re-appears from the season-one episode "Okay, Awesome." Ted remembers hitting it off with her last time and contemplates asking her out. Instead, he's confronted by two possible futures with her, both of them terrible. Since this is all in Ted's mind, it seems like he's understanding that his dating habits are the problem. So he lets her go. (It's not clear if Coat Check Girl is part of the hallucination, but it still shows growth.)

The power of the episode happens in the reveal, when we see that it wasn't just the future Teds and Barneys that were fake, but all of it. It's a proper punch to the gut, one I haven't felt since Lily told Marshall that his dad died.

What Ted does next is one of the show's best moments, and we see a side of Ted we've been missing: the passionate, caring, loving man who will love The Mother with all his heart. His speech to the woman he will meet brought tears to my eyes, especially because it wasn't said by 2013 Ted, this is something that 2030 Ted would say to her. That's future Ted's confession of undying love and devotion. It's from a man who still loves this woman seventeen years down the road, and he always will. That's what makes it so powerful.

I don't know what happened between last week's episode and this one, but they knocked it out of the park big time. The writing hasn't been this good in a long, long time. The banter between all the Teds and Barneys was sharp and hilarious, and Barney's reveal that this moment has already passed Ted by was profound and heartbreaking. The music, particularly the final arrangement when Ted talked to his future wife, was perfect.

This episode didn't make me feel sad, though, it gave me hope. Hope that this show is finally back on track. Hope that Ted will spend the next 45 days becoming someone worth rooting for again. And hope that the moment we've been expecting for eight years is well worth the wait. If tonight's episode is what we can expect, then we're in for something special.


No comments:

Post a Comment