How I Met Your Mother "The Broken Code" Review: Trouble in Brohampton

By Kaitlin Thomas

Oct 08, 2013

How I Met Your Mother S09E04: "The Broken Code"

How I Met Your Mother, Y U make me be mean to U? 

"The Broken Code" was another example of how this show can start off an episode on the right foot, and end up completely dropping the ball. The confrontation between Barney and Ted about Ted's feelings for Robin could have been an emotional moment—and it should have been as soon as Ted told Barney about his impending move to Chicago—but instead, it was played for laughs as Barney tortured Ted by making him do a bunch of unnecessary and stupid chores for the wedding. Okay, I laughed at the calligraphy stuff, because Douchey Ted remains one of my favorite things about this show, but I take major issue with what the show did with the rest of that storyline.

Ted had to deal with his feelings for Robin at some point, and it was nice to see that Barney wasn't going to just accept Ted's very blatant lie about still having feelings for her. However, the resolution—that things between Ted and Robin might always be a little weird but he was totally going to do everything in his power to move on and deal with it—was complete bullshit. It was wrapped up in the span of an hour (in the show's time) while Robin tried to make female friends in a boring B-plot. 

The fact of the matter is that Barney just accepting Ted's oath and moving on very quickly was not acceptable for the Barney Stinson of HIMYM Season 9. This Barney is a real person with actual feelings, and he deserves better. He might still be the goofy character who makes Ted take care of a couple dozen doves and rewrite table place cards over and over as punishment for lying, and he might be the man who digresses into fake history lessons about Broses and Christopher Brolumbus, but he's a human being with real emotions. Messing with Ted was just a way for Barney to pretend he doesn't have feelings. Yes, Barney finally admitted that he should have been the one to help Robin look for her locket, but he has every right to be pissed that his best friend not only has feelings for the woman he's about to marry, but has been lying to him this whole time. And the way the show played it off as Barney being angry with himself and sort of taking it out on Ted felt like the wrong move. Ted avoided him for a week because of those feelings, so to just brush them under the rug and say, "Feelings, am I right?" doesn't work for me.

This rift between Barney and Ted was a story that needed to be told, but HIMYM's writers wrote themselves into a corner when they made Ted's feelings for Robin such a prevalent plot point and then decided that the entire final season would take place over the course of one weekend. There was definite potential in a storyline about a fractured friendship between the two guys, but it was thrown out the window when the show was forced to quickly deal with it once it didn't fit the season-long format. Having a few episodes in which Ted and Barney were on the outs would have made the growth of their relationship, and Ted's role as Barney's best man, a more emotionally resonant storyline. As it stands, it felt hollow and insincere. 

Now, I acknowledge that Ted is a human being too, and that he also has feelings and can't just shut them off like he's a character on The Vampire Diaries. But he also thinks he's moving to Chicago to start over—and to get a fresh start away from the happily married couple—yet that didn't come in to play once during the entire beach scene. Lily remains the only person who knows about the impending move, and that just doesn't sit well. 

And speaking of Lily, her subplot with Robin about the latter not having any female friends, wasn't much better than the Ted and Barney storyline, but I'm a Robin, so I might be a bit biased. It was funny to see what we all know to be true: Robin would prefer to spend her Saturdays watching hockey from her couch instead of having brunch with Lily, but Lily becoming a psycho once Robin bonded over hockey with another fwoman was neither funny nor heartfelt. It felt kind of obvious and boring, two things that TV should never be.

I really do not like hating on How I Met Your Mother. I've been a fan of the show since it first premiered and I've stuck by it through everything. I'm an avid supporter and lover of everything Neil Patrick Harris does. I've defended the show to people who've completely written it off, but "The Broken Code" really challenged my devotion. The rushed storylines—coupled with Marshall's absence from the group—made this the second week in a row where I felt let-down after an episode. "The Broken Code" didn't even have a sweet Ted and Lily storyline to cancel out the poor writing; it was an obvious case of the show needing to tie up loose ends but not having adequate time to do it. I hope the series works out these issues soon and that we'll eventually get the emotionally satisfying ending we all want and deserve. Because after nine years we kind of deserve to be happy too.


– Marshpillow 2.0—Now with Skype! I'm glad that Marshall factored into this week's storyline more than he did in the last two outings, but it still feels like something is missing with him being so far away from everyone else. That being said, I did enjoy the Weekend at Bernies references. And maybe the Neil Patrick Harris in swimming trunks. What of it?

– Tim Gunn and Billy Zabka cameos: I appreciated the callbacks, but I have to wonder how much Zabka will play into future episodes since he's pissed about losing his best man spot to Ted once again.

– Has there ever been crappier rain on a TV show? 

– Two weeks in a row with no Mother. This makes complete sense, story-wise, but that doesn't mean I don't miss her.

– E-lawyered!

– "Who needs a lady hug?"

– "Slut alert."

– Are you a Robin or a Lily?



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  • tamaracassill Oct 09, 2013

    I didnt really like it either. Marshall was funny. loved it
    Lily and Robin - no, it wasnt funny ( since when is Robin SO bitchy? and pls that Patrice joke is not funny anymore ) At least there wasnt another Robin/Barney Story.. they arent that funny I think
    Ted and Barney? Oh.. Look that Story with Robin not having babies was so good, sad, realistic... this story? Joke after Joke and I was just sitting there thinking: Is this ever going to be serious? I mean it is a serious topic. Ted is in love with his best friends girlfriend... and he is moving to Chicago. Nooo lets make 30 jokes and then talk about it in 2sek. not good

  • JT_Kirk Oct 09, 2013

    Sorry Kaitlin, I have no idea where you get the idea that Barney Stinson is a real person with actual feelings, that character died eons ago and was replaced with a crummy cardboard cutout that spewed misogynistic nonsense and was one-dimensional and phony in every way, was inconsistent and inconsiderate and was rewarded for it at every turn for no reason. He's become a magical elf who simply drives plots and sells ties and books.

    Honestly, the last few years of HIMYM have been clumsy and annoying and woefully uneven, and this season is no different unfortunately.

    That was some seriously crappy rain. I especially love the sunlight glinting off the obviously SoCal waves in the background.

    My vote goes to Tim Gunn, I don't know why.

  • No1Slayerette Oct 09, 2013

    I think you're forgetting that HIMYM is primarily a comedy Kaitlin. For so much focus to be placed on Ted's feelings towards Robin in this final season just doesn't make sense because of the genre. Did I want a more emotionally satisfying ending to the storyline? Of course, but I think we need to be patient. We've still got twenty episodes, and this episode didn't really feel like a resolution to me - just a duct-tape solution to ensure Ted and Barney can continue to remain on friendly terms for the much of the remainder of the season. I've no doubt Ted's feelings aren't finished being discussed though.

    While not the greatest storyline, I didn't mind watching Robin being totally against making new female friends. And it was actually funny too:

    'Slut alert.'
    'That's my 14 year-old daughter!'

  • tdm260 Oct 09, 2013

    I agree. Aside from the fact that this is a comedy, this is how Barney ALWAYS handles things. He doesn't like emotional confrontation so of course he's going to deny and try to ignore everything until he can't do it anymore. He did the same thing when Ted and Robin were sleeping together as roommates. It wasn't until he was backed into a corner and out of crazy ideas that Barney finally started speaking to Ted about his feelings to Robin. Barney was very in character this episode. Not sure why everyone has such a problem with it.

    And I also loved the Robin and Lily story. It's one thing to make friends, but it takes effort to maintain them, and Robin just doesn't care about having female friends that much.

  • tamaracassill Oct 09, 2013

    Yeah it is Barney, but come on Kaitlin is right. We can and have to accept more now. Look how they dealt with Robin not having babies - so good and sad and real. I wanna see that - no matter if its a Comedy Show or not!

  • tdm260 Oct 10, 2013

    But the situation hasn't been resolved. There's still Chicago and the locket to deal with. Had those things been apart of the conversation then yes, this would have been a completely different episode. As it stands now, this was about Ted and Barney's friendship and nothing else. Barney needed reassurance that his friend would never cross that line and when it came down to them actually admitting their feelings: Barney saying I saw you, Ted admitting he was there, Barney later admitting to his own guilt, asking if Ted still has feelings for her, and Ted admitting it. All of those lines were completely serious. There was humor weaved throughout, but they were serious where it counted and you could see the hurt and anger on Barney's face clear as day.

  • luv70s Oct 09, 2013

    I wish Ted said something like this.
    "Barney we held hands, that is all and by the way Robin was the one to hold MY hand, so maybe you should go talk to her about that one!" That would've been an easy transition for the writers and a story plot. Then we'd HAVE to see the Barney/Robin confrontation.

    Speaking of Robin...I dont like how bitchy she has become these last two seasons.

    I agree with the author though. I'd rather they focus on the Ted/Barney/Robin drama now than later. If it carried over for a couple of episodes, I'd be ok with that. Its just they let it go so quickly.

    As for the Mother, why would the band leader stay at the same hotel or interact with the wedding party the friday before the wedding? They move to Saturday after next week's episode so we should see lots of YM soon.

  • tdm260 Oct 09, 2013

    I don't think it's over though. The fact that Robin wasn't involved in this discussion at all tells me that much. There's also the whole locket thing and they still don't know about Chicago. I think that making peace with Barney and making him understand that Ted's not purposely being a dick, is important. Barney has always been a better best friend than Ted gives him credit for and the fact that Barney didn't completely lash out just highlights this even more. (unlike Ted who flipped a shit on Barney multiple times).

  • DrSpongejr Oct 09, 2013

    I actually liked it. The Barney and Ted conflict that you described would have just been distracting, and seeing a quick resolution (or so it seems) seemed appropriate for the situation, and hopefully there's some residual tension still remaining that will make the situation interesting. The drama in the episode made it a lot more interesting than a lot of the episodes which have been bland, and even the Lily and Robin story had meaning unlike a lot of weeks. Obviously, I'm in the minority here.

  • tdm260 Oct 09, 2013

    I agree 100%. I thought the situation was handled really well actually. This review makes it seem like they didn't discuss Ted's feelnigs at all, but they did. And Barney was very in character throughout the episode. Barney hates emotional confrontation and that's never going to change. Yes, he's gotten better, but this is the guy who was destroying TV's in the alley everytime Ted and/or Robin would discuss their "friends with benefits" situation and decided to clean their entire apartment for them. It was only after Barney was backed into a corner and failed to make them stop using other means, that he finally admitted to Ted what was wrong. That took him DAYS. The fact that he spoke up and actually called Ted out a few times this episode shows growth.

  • hbf716 Oct 09, 2013

    I thought this show was called How I Met Your Mother not How I Pine Over Robin For 9 Seasons - boring - lame - move on!

  • wingsabre Oct 09, 2013

    This episode embodies my concern with having this entire season be about the wedding weekend. It took Lilly several weeks to get over an offensive PB&J; joke by Barney (Yes Alyson Hannigan was off on maternity leave, but it's cannon). Ted and Barney resolving an 8 year old problem in one hour just does disservice to the characters.

  • Misao_83 Oct 08, 2013

    I´m tired of the weekend formula, I prey the writters to end this in two or three episodes....the only thing that makes me happy is that there is no mother at all, I don´t like her interactions with Ted or Lily (I know most of you love her, but I can´t), I know that we are going to see a lot of her in this season, and I hope that I like her at some point, but I don´t want to see her untill the end of the weading.

  • giraffee Oct 08, 2013

    I enjoyed this episode, but then, I'm not going into it with unrealistic high expectations. It made me laugh, a number of different times. Ted and Barney holding hands on the beach! Marshall freezing... wait for it.... and for some reason, people yelling at Patrice is always funny.
    I can't think of a single tv show where every episode has been gold. This wasn't one of the best ones, but it still did its job in entertaining me. That's all I ask, seeing as we know there will be some 5 star episodes coming up. That's what HIMYM does.

  • tdm260 Oct 09, 2013

    I loved this episode, I thought it was the best one we've had in a while. I don't understand why this review was so negative. It had some called backs to past episodes and I thought everyone was pretty in character.

  • azazzlenic Oct 08, 2013

    Crazy Lily always seems a little off... But I think with such a short timespan that they have to make a plot into, they're running out of plots

  • ionee24 Oct 09, 2013

    To me, psycho Lily was a mix between shopaholic Lily from a few seasons ago and crazy for cookies Lily from the train back when she met The Mother.

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