Does anyone else feel like those date and time title cards at the start of How I Met Your Mother are doing more harm than good by ticking by far too slowly? We can hardly believe that it’s still only 11pm. On the Friday. This is the weekend that won’t end.
We’re still torn on this new format. We’re not sure if it’s the best thing the writers have ever done, or the worst. Yes, it gives particular aspects of the story time to breathe – Robin and Barney’s incompatibility and their increasing bouts of cold feet, Ted’s quietly mounting desperation, Marshall’s guilt over the judgeship – but the one thing we were hoping it would allow us more time with isn’t being utilized at all. Is anyone else wondering where the Mother is in all of this? We’re seven episodes in and she’s only made two appearances. Weren’t we supposed to be spending this season learning more about her? Seeing her meet Ted’s friends? Finding out just why they’re perfect together? This is beginning to feel like the writers are just trying to distract us so that they don’t have to go to the trouble of figuring out what Ted’s perfect woman is actually like. We suppose that’s one way to avoid disappointing anyone…
And yet this episode was not the worst of them. Reserving much of the running time for genuinely entertaining ‘no questions asked’ flashbacks (hence, the episode’s title) and acknowledging that much of the plot was bat-shit insane played in the episode’s favor, not leaving much time for us to notice the weaker moments and not allowing our resentment of the inanity to build too high. The slight nod to Halloween – the ghost story – was largely unnecessary, but did serve to get all of the leads interacting, which is a good thing. But we can’t help but feel that, had the writers not insisted on separating Marshall from the rest of the gang, they wouldn’t have to work so hard to keep him involved now. Next week should prove, without any need for drastic plot-contortions, to be quite Marshall and Lily heavy. The revelation about Marshall’s new job should see to that.
The highlight of the episode was another fantastic desk clerk, Hamish, acting the nighttime counterpart to Curtis (star of “Coming Back”). And a special mention must go to one of the first laugh-out-loud moments we’ve experienced watching HIMYM in quite some time – the introduction of Barney’s doves, Kurt Coobain and Courtney Dove. Yes. – K
“Can’t your guys just fire blanks?”
“At a wedding? Yeah. That’s romantic.” – Barney, Robin