How I Met Your Mother: The Time Travelers, Review

'You have to watch it.' 'No, you don't' 'Shut up, future me.' 'No, you shut up, slightly less future me.' 'Wait, what?'

Sometimes time travel is used well in storylines. Sometimes it’s used poorly. And sometimes it is thrown in there because the writers had nothing else that week.

At the top of this week’s latest HIMYM episode, I thought it was being used as a throw in. Then, towards the middle, I thought it was STILL BEING USED AS A THROW IN—and used poorly at that. It continued, and I remained even more convinced of its terrible use. Then, at the very, very, very end I realized it was used absolutely… brilliantly.

Four and a half stars, HIMYM writers, for excellent writing this week. I still begrudge you the rest of that half because god, I just want him to meet the mother.

Yes, I will say that every time I write about this show.

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The episode begins with Barney begging Ted to go to Robots versus Wrestlers. This semi-annual event is a weird cage match between robots and wrestlers that the gang usually goes to. Ted refuses to accompany Barney to this year’s. Then a bunch of future Teds and Barneys show up and try to convince Ted to go (or not go). Weirdness ensues.

Marshall and Robin meanwhile get into a throw down regarding who should have a drink named after them (or inspired by them) at the bar. Marshall wants to settle it with a dance off. Lily doesn’t let him. Apparently, Marshall has injured his dance hip one too many times. Instead, he and Robin engage in a weird war of one-uppance where she traps him in the women’s bathroom, and he ends up looking like a creeper.

Random, I know. But stay with me as I stayed with the episode, and it will be worth it.

Then, OUT OF NOWHERE, coat-check girl (a character from a few seasons back) shows up at the bar. Ted wonders of all that gin joints in all the world why she walked into this one…blah blah blah. It seems poised for Ted to go off on one of his Fate Crusades. Future versions of Barney and Ted chime in telling him why he should. Why he shouldn’t. This could be it! This isn’t it! Ted’s head spins in the babble, as do any viewer’s.

THEN two future versions of Coat Check girl show up and take Ted aside. One is cool, collected and bored. The other is a hot mess who is in sweats, tears, and emotionally eating. They explain to Ted, this could end up one of two ways—either she gets sick of him (the cool version), or he gets sick of her (the emotional wreck version). He asks why is this the only way? She says, isn’t that always how his dating life ends up?

Pause for a serious moment. Okay, that’s done.

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THEN Marshall and Robin finally get to have their dance off! Lily gives him permission by PLAYING HIS SONG ON THE JUKEBOX!

Yes! You think: here is a tailor made HIMYM moment for zanies, complete with moving lights, choreography, and maybe a line of backup dancers.

You will be disappointed, as was I, when Marshall and Robin only travel to the corner by the jukebox and make lame, white people dance moves at each other.

The focus moves back to Ted and Barney and then…the writers pull the rug out under our feet! It is revealed all these storylines, from time traveling, to Marshall and Robin’s dance off, are all just Ted’s imagination! Ted has just been sitting in the bar, one lone ticket to robots and wrestlers in front of him. Lily and Marshall are with baby Marvin. Robin and Barney are home planning their wedding.

Ted is drinking. In MacClaren’s. Alone.

Ugh. And I thought this show could not get more depressing. In that moment, it did.

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But then the writers make a fabulous save by having Ted leave the bar to a) not go to Marshall and Lily’s to visit about the baby, b) not go to Robin and Barney’s to hear them argue about wedding plans, but c) run to the future mother’s apartment and make a long speech about how in 45 days, they’re going to meet and fall in love, but why waste 45 days, let’s be in love now!

If you are asking—does Ted already know the mother????? The answer is….no.

Turns out that was another of Ted’s fantasies. In truth, he just walks off down the sidewalk. Alone.

Yes, ok, it got sad again, but still, what a pull off! Just when you think the zaniness can’t get any zanier, those clever HIMYM scribblers get all serious! And it’s clear a nice, intense build-up to the mother is happening. Also…is there going to be trouble brewing for Robin and Barney? In an almost throw away line, Ted mentions “listening to Robin and Barney having one of their fights.”

Does that mean there is trouble on the horizon for Barnbin? Robney?

Ok, their names clearly do not combine well. I’ll just go back to saying Robin and Barney.

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Hopefully, their wedding will NOT end up in disaster. Hopefully, they will get married. Hopefully, they will continue to bicker and banter into a happily ever after, too cool for school future.

Also, Ted has GOT to meet the mother this season. He just HAS TO. After the intense ending of this episode, for pity’s sake, they just have to throw the guy something. Also, the loyal viewers who continue to watch this show and cheer Ted on…after 8 seasons. 8 seasons. 8 seasons going on 9 seasons. And yes, I am still thinking of Ted’s poor kids, who, by the end of this story, have probably already moved out to college. I mean, seriously. At this point, the man has got to be telling this to an empty couch.

Nice gig for Bob Saget though, huh? Who knew from the pilot he would be in for 8 plus years of voiceover work?