For a season that’s taking place over a single weekend, HIMYM is keeping a brisk pace. This latest episode resolves the tension between Robin and Loretta through one of the more bizarre contests the show has ever concocted: a scramble-off challenge (to the death). But amidst the fierce culinary competition, the real conflict is brought to light: that of Barney’s family.
Robin and Loretta are both strong Alpha Women, and until now have seen Barney’s divided affections as a contest. It brings to mind Loretta’s relief at finding out her son’s previous “marriage” was all fake (4×15, “The Stinsons,” faithful viewers!), and it makes perfect sense for both characters. And that’s why the beautiful resolution, when Loretta hugs Robin in a moment of comfort and empathy, felt completely earned. Loretta, with Barney’s help, learns that Robin isn’t a competitor for her son’s affections, but a new member of the family to love; and Robin learns that having a mother-in-law doesn’t mean having an adversary, but another person to lean on. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for schmaltz when it’s done right, and HIMYM perfected that particular formula early on.
It was a big episode for mothers in general, really: Barney’s mother learning to be there when Robin’s mother can’t be, and Ted’s mother tormenting Marshall and Daphne by sending her husband along to “resolve” their conflict. Given how twitterpated Virginia was with Clint originally (5×20, “Home Wreckers.” I can do this all day.), it’s nice to see her shooing him out of the house for a little peace and quiet. And things haven’t been going so well for Clint in the meantime. As an almost-certified conflict resolution counselor, he’s had some trouble starting his own practice, and might have to fall back on his career of coaching the Browns. Marshall and Daphne don’t make it any easier when the only thing they can agree on is how much they dislike Clint, triggering a devastating blood attack in the hapless hippy.
Marshall has been told not to be such a pushover by his friends and family, but it took an enemy (or a “reluctant traveling companion”) to hammer the message home: Marshall needs to take care of Marshall. It’s an unnatural state of mind for the accommodating Minnesotan, but it’s a lesson he needs to take to heart when confronting Lily about his new job. The way he went about it was all wrong, but the end result—Marshall becoming a judge—is the right step for him to take, and he’ll need to move past his guilt if he’s going to make Lily understand this.
But what was Ted doing this whole episode? The same thing he always does, Pinky: tries to make a connection with a girl who isn’t The Mother. Lily’s caustic advice leads him to take Cassie to a lighthouse so breathtaking, even its map is romantic. Sign after sign tells Ted that he’s with the wrong women—who believes children shouldn’t have toys, and whose favorite music is “nothing”—but by this point he’s as exhausted of waiting as some of the show’s fans are (but not me). His efforts bring him to do something he’s only done one other time in his adult life, perhaps making Future Ted “Vomit-Free Since ’12,” and prove once again that love can’t be settled on, no matter how tired you are.
Milioti makes her return as the eponymous Mother, and this time it feels a lot more natural. The show experimented with flash-forwards of the Mother at the beginning of the season, but it seems they’ll be even more extensive than I ever imagined, possibly flashing forward to all the big moments of her and Ted’s relationship. The Mother is closer than ever now, which makes the wait almost unbearable. But if we keep flashing forward to beautiful moments like Ted’s proposal, I think I can make it until the end.
- “Oh. Hell. NO!” Loretta Stinson is always ready to throw down.
- How many lonely jumpers has the Farhampton dealt with over the years
- Words you can’t say around Lily: judge, court, gravel (it’s too close to gavel), and trial.
- “His best friend was a balloon.”
- “Take this normal-sized chick up to the lighthouse and fall in love with her and quit bothering us with your dumb love life stuff!” Lily voices the concerns of every HIMYM-detractor who completely misses the point of this show.
- “You’re slipping, Linus.” “We’re running out of glasses.”
- The Pinewood Derby Regionals in Wheeling, WV sound like they were rough for Barney.
- The Ohio State Board of Holistic Medicine deems Clint unqualified to resolve conflict.
- “Maybe we should have read up on this town before booking our wedding.”
- Barney’s genius continues with the Lambourcuzzi. Watch out, Thomas Edison, because America has a new iconic crazy inventor.
- “I hate this song.” “Give it time.” Marshall hitting the radio to start up The Proclaimers’ “Five Hundred Miles” a la Fonzie was easily my biggest laugh of the night.
- “My name is ‘Mom.’ Don’t you ever call me anything else.”
- The Lighthouse (televisionwithoutpity.com)
- CBS Eyes ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Spinoff From Carter Bays, Craig Thomas & Emily Spivey (m.deadline.com)
- ‘How I Met Your Mother’ ‘The Lighthouse’ Review: A Glimpse Into Ted’s Future (examiner.com)
- How I Met Your Mother – Recap & Review – The Lighthouse (twocentstv.com)
- HIMYM “The Lighthouse” Brings An Egg War, Conflict Resolution, And A Beautiful Proposal (popwrapped.wordpress.com)
- TV: How I Met Your Mother: “The Lighthouse” (avclub.com)
- ‘How I Met Your Mother’ recap: How I [spoiler]ed to your mother (popwatch.ew.com)
- How I Met Your Mother Recap: Ted and The Mother Share an Iconic Moment (tvline.com)
- ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Season 9 Episode 8: ‘The Lighthouse’ (atlantablackstar.com)