How I Met Your Mother-Coming Back-Cristin Milioti

How I Met Your Mother is back, but church bells aren’t ringing just yet. The final season will countdown to the hopefully happy ending of Barney and Robin’s wedding weekend. “The Locket” and “Coming Back” gave us a glimpse at the first two hours of festivities. What should be a life changing season could be a great goodbye or an exacerbated exit.

The Players:

  • Director: Pamela Fryman
  • Writers: Carter Bays and Craig Thomas
  • Cast: Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Cristin Milioti, Bob Saget, Lyndsy Fonseca, David Henrie, Sherri Shepherd, Wayne Brady, Marshall Manesh, Michael James Bell, Wayne Temple, Susie Plakson, Alex Scott, Rudy Villagrana, Roger Bart, Robert Belushi, Mary Gallagher, John C. Moskoff, Anisha Adusumilli, Irene Rosen

Episode Title: “The Locket/Coming Back”

Marshall gets kicked off a plane, while Ted annoys Lily and Barney. Also, Robin tracks some family ties. Next, Lily keeps a full glass while Marshall fights to get to New York as Robin keeps a sibling secret from Barney.

The Good:

  •  Som’ Bitches: Before Ted finally meets The Mother the rest of the gang will each take a turn acquainting themselves with her. Lily’s the first to make friends, possibly because The Mother’s a dark-haired clone of Mrs. Eriksen. The chocolate, peanut butter and caramel cookies The Mother named som’ bitches—one of Lily’s favorite catchphrases—wasn’t the only clue. She wasn’t afraid to wrestle a woman she just met and she can match wits with the best of them.  The best part was how perfect she is for Ted. Like her future betrothed, she believes glove compartments were made for driving gloves and enjoys pointless detours for ordinary landmarks. Of course her shaming nickname for Ted’s cautious driving (“Lady Tedwina Slowsby”) is so fantastic we wish the show would last long enough to see her use it.
  • Canuckin’ Nuts: In what we can assume is the first of many problems for Barney and Robin, there was almost a familial flag on the nuptials. Like Barney, we blocked out the revelation that he’s part Canadian, though someone should have been paying attention because they share a cousin. During their quest to figure out if their bloodlines already crossed, Barney and Robin’s shudder-filled attempts to kiss their way through the creepy was almost as good as Ranjit lording the truth over their heads. The news that Robin’s family adopted him saved the weekend. It’ll be interesting to see how many legitimate crises they’ll throw the couple’s way. The incest card can only be played but so many times.
  • Options: If you’ve never struggled with the constantly changing Facebook timeline, congratulations, that makes you and you. Marshall’s attempt to delete an incriminating photo about his new judge job from his mother’s wall via cell phone felt all too real. We know how fussy flight attendants are about shouting and using phones during takeoff so of course he got the boot. What we really loved were the knot of fervent helpers that formed to try and get rid of the picture before Lily learned the truth. We’re guessing they came to give Marshall a quick fix and stayed when they realized the enormity of the task. Luckily, Little Marvin’s magic fingers saved the day.
  • The Kennedy Package: The whole pay-a-bartender-to-keep-your-glass-full thing has been done to death, but nobody does it like Lily. Suffering through a wedding weekend without her husband caused her to break out the Benjamins for the Kennedy package: a drink from Linus the bartender whenever her glass was empty. Her anger over not being Barney’s role model couple was amusing and her sloppy confession of James’s relationship status was classic Drunk Lily. Still, neither was half as funny as hearing Lilys sensuous and hilarious, “Thank you Linus,” every time he replenished her beverage.
  • Love is Awesome: Thanks to a curse from an old gypsy woman in 1807, the Stinson men were destined to be “hornier,” until Barney’s brother James (played by the impeccably dressed Wayne Brady) married his husband Tom. And then cheated on him a bunch and got divorced. His success made Barney comfortable with the idea of settling down, so naturally Robin tried to hide the news for fear of what it might do to Barney’s confidence. James asks her the question the rest of us were wondering, “Do you really think what you and Barney have is that fragile?” Her answer was unsettling. “I don’t want to find out.” Quickly it unravels, and the freakout Robin was expecting was replaced by Barney’s rush to clear out the anniversary surprise he planned for James and Tom. It’s a little soon in the season to start relaying on nerves for plot points but it worked.
  • Monstrosity: Marshall and Barney’s argument over whether getting to Farhampton the rude New York way or the shucksidoodle Minnesota way was an awesome anchor for his journey. We’re filing away Barney’s tip on throwing an opponent’s bag into a restricted area away. We couldn’t help but wonder if Marshall’s fight with Sherri Shepherdhad more to do with Jason Segel’s reluctance to return for season nine. This detour to the festivities is a good cover for whatever kept him from filming with everyone else. Good thing the guest stars were decent distractions. 
  • A Year and Two Days: The stigma of being the sad sack single guy is wearing on Teddy Westside. Who hasn’t rolled their eyes at the phony concern from others regarding our lack of partner? Perhaps that’s why Ted deserved a glimpse into his sappy future? We could have done without the flash forward music, but the intention was clear. These two work together. Hopefully, this season will be full of appropriately placed peeks at Ted’s life with The Mother. That’s the stuff we want to see.

The So-So:

  • The Wild Card: By the end of “The Locket” viewers were reminded of Robin’s fruitless search for her “Something Old” locket and Ted’s hope to find it and win her back. Picking up where we left off, Ted is secretly searching for the necklace, going as far as to California to search through Stella’s storage locker for it. We get that the writers couldn’t just drop the story, but we’re wondering about the turnaround from Ted/Robin to Ted/The Mother. 

The Quotable:

  • King Joffrey’s parents were brother and sister and he was a fair and wise ruler.”—Barney
  • Daphne: “You let this guy beat you?” Val: “Ma’am, it’s not a race.”  Herm: “That right there is why you lost!”

Overall:

“The Locket” gave everyone the moments with The Mother they tuned in for. “Coming Back” toyed with flashbacks and lept forward—two of How I Met Your Mother’s favorite devices. We didn’t have a lot of hope for the season when the wedding outline was announced over the summer. But tonight gave us hope for the show’s swan song. As long they find a proper balance, this might be a dream series finale.

Rating: 8/10

How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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What did you think of tonight’s premiere?