Episode Synopsis: Ted hits the dating jackpot when he gets to choose among three women as a companion for the wedding weekend, while Robin and Barney don't see eye to eye with the minister, and Marshall discovers some interesting information about his traveling companion, Daphne. -tvguide
Spoiler alert, so you'll probably want to see the episode before taking the dangerous journey below. You never know what you might face. You might have decapitating blades, perilous drops, and an invisible bridge. That's not something you want to face unprepared, even if James Bond is your father and you shot first. Of course, I can't stop you. You are free to make your choice.
Full Review: Despite a few minor quibbles, which I'll get to, this was another solid episode. They packed quite a few storylines into these twenty-two minutes, and they all paid off. Everyone had something to do, and we're starting to see the larger narrative take shape.
Let's start with the theme of the episode, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. If you haven't seen the movie, you have chosen poorly. It's one of the all-time great movies of the 80's, and you don't know what you're missing. You also won't know why there's a Knight Templar following Ted around mocking his poor decision-making skills. It's an iconic scene, you can find it on Youtube, and no, I won't give you a link. I'm too upset with you right now.
While normally Ted getting stuck with a sad-sack wedding guest would be an annoying plot, it served two good purposes. First, it keeps Ted from hooking up with anyone else before meeting The Mother. I haven't been a fan of Ted's string of conquests in this series that's supposed to be a love story about how this man meets the woman of his dreams. I feel it's prevented him from being a more fully developed character. Thankfully, we're done with that part of Ted, and we can focus on all his other, long-forgotten qualities that make him charming.
I do wish that Ted had decided on his own not to sleep with anyone at the wedding, though. The point of last season was for Ted to want the 'Real Thing,' and I would have preferred that he draw that line in the sand himself, not have it drawn for him. I still really want to like Ted, but him being a good guy by default isn't the best way to go about it.
This leads to my one minor quibble with the episode: for the third week in a row, The Mother is a no-show. Cristin Milioti is main cast now, so why not use her in a flash-forward of what would have happened had Ted hooked up that weekend? A short scene of Ted arm-in-arm with that woman, walking right by The Mother, would have cemented the fact that despite seeming like poor choices at the time, he did choose wisely.
The second benefit of the Ted/Cassie plot was the constant presence of the Knight Templar. I'm a fan of running gags done well. (We're still awaiting that final slap.) The Knight's running commentary on Ted's choices was funny, particularly "You tipped...poorly." The joke paid off well, and I'm a fan of any Indiana Jones tribute.
What really worked this episode were the retconned flashbacks. We know the story of how Lily and Marshall met, and having Robin and Barney steal the story was fantastic. Especially since we got to see Robin and Barney re-enact that fateful meeting, complete with Lily's goth hair. it was a cute moment, which led to the episode's best payoff.
As revenge, Lily then steals Robin and Barney's story, and we go back to the show's first episode, when Ted met Robin. Only this time it's Marshall playing "Haaave you met Ted?" and Lily is dressed as Robin. It's both a funny re-telling, and a nice way to come full circle. The show began with Ted meeting Robin, Robin is the reason Ted meets The Mother, so it makes sense to revisit that moment one more time.
We also got to see Robin and Barney kill their Officiant with their declarations of love, which made for a funny scene and a cute moment between the two of them. naturally, this makes their wedding more difficult. I predict that Ted will work to ensure that the person performing the ceremony is appropriately awesome, or awesomely inappropriate. I'm just sure Ted's somehow involved.
As I'd hoped, Marshall's story involved finding a way to break the news to Lily that he's now a judge. Sheri Sheppard continues to prove herself a great foil for Marshall, this week working with him on how to have that all-important conversation. Her voice coming out of Lily's mouth was perfect, not to mention her critiques of how Marshall needs to have the conversation.
Of course, the final revelation that Daphne is a Big oil Lobbyist, and that she spilled the beans to Lily about Marshall's job, was the perfect way to end the episode. This season has given us a few good cliffhangers already, but Marshall staring at the phone has so far been the best.
Next week promises to be a fantastic argument across time zones, and I can't wait. Hopefully we'll get to see more of The Mother as well.
Best Sacriligious Moment: The Prayer Five
Worst Reason to Choose a Church: "Cute coming out the wazoo."
Best Punchline: "She chose...Westley. I've been dying to say that one all night"
Worst Reaction: "What the damn hell?"
Best Sagat Narration: "So maybe, in a way, I chose wisely. Although it sure as heck didn't feel like it at the time."