Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How I Met Your Mother: "The Broken Code"

Quick Review: This series is always at its best when exploring the relationships between the characters, and this week's episode was no exception.

Episode Synopsis: Barney discovers Ted still harbors feelings for Robin and decides to hit him where it hurts, at the best-man poker game. Meanwhile, Lily comes to realize that she is Robin's only girlfriend. -tvguide

Spoiler alert. Yes, there are spoilers. I would be in violation of the code of the internet if I didn't warn you about spoilers. I'm courteous like that, a big believer in Netiquette. That's why I also don't type in ALL CAPS, because that's another violation. If you're not careful those quickly add up, and then the Elders of the Internet show up at your house. To avoid that happening, please consult the code of the internet, which can be found in many hotels next to the Gideon Bible.

Full Review: Last week Ted and Lily spent the episode together. This week it was time for Ted and Lily to sort things out with Barney and Robin, respectively. This was a solid relationship-building episode, and as I said last week, this season's format allows episodes like this to breathe.

Barney and Ted picked up right where they left off last week, though technically it was a few seconds prior to where they left off last week. While we often see Ted and Barney bicker back and forth, we rarely see them truly at odds. They haven't had this much stress between them since season 3, when Barney slept with Robin. In fact, Robin seems to be the one subject that makes Ted and Barney argue.

While at first it seems that Barney is okay with Ted holding Robin's hand, it quickly becomes apparent that he is really upset. After Ted has enough with Barney's passive aggressiveness, culminating in William Zabka being named Best Man, he and Barney spend the rest of the episode resolving Ted's apparent Bro-Code violation. It's a conflict that can only be resolved Weekend at Bernie's style, with Marshall (as Marsh-pillow) acting as mediator.

Having a full episode to explore this conflict gives Ted and Barney some real bro time, even if it means holding hands on the beach in the rain. We haven't seen these two this heartfelt in a long time, and it's nice for the show to acknowledge that these two are really good friends. I also like how they resolved most of the Robin-induced tension sooner rather than later, as having that hang over everyone's heads would get annoying quickly.

To be fair, we do know that Robin and Ted will have a very serious conversation about whether she should go through with it. We saw the beginning of that conversation last year, and we'll have to see whether Ted keeps his promise to Barney. I predict that's when we'll also learn about the fate of Robin's locket.

I'm starting to appreciate Marshall's separation from the rest of the gang, because it provides the kinds of opportunities for humor that wouldn't be possible otherwise. Whether it's him becoming a video-enabled Bernie on the beach, or a crazy-eyed poker player, Marshall's remote participation in this week's events was fantastic. It was nice to finally have the three guys hanging out together, as we haven't seen much of that in a while.

Meanwhile, Lily and Robin had some girl time, another pairing we haven't seen in a while. These two play off each other quite well, each bringing their own brand of crazy. Lily acting as wingman and then turning possessive was very much in character and fun to watch. I want to see more Lily and Robin moments.

It makes sense that Robin wouldn't have many female friends, though I would like to know what did happen to all the women who used to hang out with Robin, including the girlfriends she was with on the night she met Ted. I can understand that these were probably not serious friendships, but some acknowledgement would be nice.

I can't end without mentioning that amazing poker table. Tim Gunn was fantastic as usual, especially when it's clear he's trying to hustle everyone. William Zabka's presence at the table was icing on the cake, especially with his growled threat to Ted. As we saw last year, Zabke has excellent comic timing, so we better get to see more of him. In fact, the only person missing from that table is Sandy Rivers, but I'm sure that's just a matter of time. (It better be.)

This was another strong entry, and while I always want to see more of The Mother, I was satisfied with these great character moments.

Episode Breakdown

Best Product Placement: The Bro Code, available wherever paperbacks are sold.

Worst Realization: That's not Barney's Great Aunt Ida.

Best "Dibs" Caller: Christopher Brolumbus

Worst Sports Team: The New York Rodgers

Best Sagat Narration: "Okay, there was one slight hitch."


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