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How I Met Your Mother "Ring Up" Review: So Much for the Half-sister Theory

How I Met Your Mother S08E14: "Ring Up"

Another episode of How I Met Your Mother down. Another theory about the Mother checked off the list. After wasting time early in its eighth season, HIMYM has finally gotten serious about wrapping things up. The last three episodes have given us the long-awaited Barney and Robin engagement, the revelation that the Mother would be playing bass at Barney and Robin’s wedding, and, with "Ring Up," the introduction of Barney’s half-sister.

Yes, the very half-sister that so many HIMYM fans believed would turn out to be Ted’s wife and the mother of the poor kids who've been listening to the same story for the last eight years. In case you need a refresher, here’s how that theory went: Barney’s father, Jerry Whittaker, has two children with the woman he married after leaving Barney’s mother. We met Jerry's son JJ a few seasons ago, and at that time Jerry mentioned that his daughter was away at college. Barney had never met his half-sister, so it was entirely possible that Ted could meet her and fall in love without Barney realizing who Ted was with. On top of all of this, Ted marrying a family member of Barney’s would make Robin and Barney a true aunt and uncle to Ted’s kids.

So how did HIMYM finally introduce Barney’s half-sister? She was mentioned early in "Ring Up," with the note that Barney and Robin saw her over Christmas. I guess we can assume that Barney has resumed visits with Jerry and his family, making it all the more likely that the Whittakers will be at the Stinson-Scherbatsky wedding. Ted showed up at MacLaren’s wearing a leather wrist cuff, instantly earning ridicule from his friends. Despite the lameness of a leather wrist cuff, it did get Ted a date... a date with a girl who was only 20-and-a-half years old. And a huge hipster. And had a fetish for older guys.

At Barney’s urging, Ted agreed to sleep with Carly, the 20-and-a-half-year-old. While Barney had settled on settling down, he was going through a one-night-stand detox and needed Ted to serve as his proxy, to carry on his legacy. It was only after Ted complied and Barney asked to see a picture of Ted’s new hook-up that the truth came out: Ted had slept with Barney’s half-sister. And Barney had not only encouraged him to do so but had declared that, with Ted serving as his proxy, the two shared a bang bond.

After "Ring Up," we know that the Barney’s Half-Sister Theory isn’t going to happen. Yes, Ted did meet Barney’s half-sister, and they did hook up without Barney knowing who Ted was with, but HIMYM made it clear that Ted would not have a future with Carly. True, the writers didn’t have Ted come out and say that Carly wasn’t the mom, but all you have to do is look at what we know about the Mother to prove that the only time Carly and Ted will be at the same wedding is when Barney and Robin get married. Much of what we know about the Mother comes from when Ted dated her roommate, Cindy. Nothing that Ted picked up in the apartment that the Mother and Cindy shared would be of any interest to Carly. The very fact that Carly doesn’t like books means that she and Ted could never bond over T. Coraghessan Boyle, the author of the book that Ted gushed over in Cindy’s apartment.

And finally, Ted’s already told us that the Mother was at the same bar where he got punched out that one St. Patrick’s Day. That happened in the Season 3 episode "No Tomorrow." Was Carly hanging out in bars at fifteen-and-a-half years old? Sorry, Barney’s Half-Sister Truthers—this theory has been debunked.

While watching this episode, I started wondering why HIMYM suddenly flipped the switch and started delivering us the goods. Then I remembered that a ninth season only became a reality just before Christmas. Prior to that, the show’s writers were working under the premise that Season 8 could be the last. Under that belief, they had to start answering some questions and crossing off some theories before they knew whether or not they had an entire ninth season to work with. Thanks to the demands of the show’s production schedule, we’re probably going to get additional answers over the next few episodes, too.

HIMYM is off next week but returns on Feb. 4 with what is most likely the final Robin Sparkles episode. Pretty much every Canadian who's ever been on the show and everyone who's ever played a Canadian on the show will be back. The episode is called "P.S. I Love You," so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays into an episode that fills in more of Robin’s teenage pop-star past.


NOTES & QUOTES


– While Barney was going through one-night-stand withdrawal and pestering ted to sleep with Carly, Robin discovered that her engagement ring was like The Lord of the Rings One Ring, but instead of making Frodo invisible to Ringwraiths, Robin’s engagement ring prevented the male population of New York City from giving her free coffee, helping her out at the bar, or paying her rent. Thanks to Marshall and Lily, Robin realized that it no longer matters that other guys don’t pay attention to her any more. It only matters that Barney does.

– Marshall and Lily had the episode’s weakest story, which focused on how their sex life has changed since Lily had Marvin. Turns out Lily has a thing for loser dropout musicians and Marshall has a thing for suburban moms.

– Ted: “I have a date.” Robin: “With some hand lotion and the internet?” Barney to Robin: “It is possible to love you more.”

– Ted revealing why his date couldn’t come into MacLaren’s: “She twenty… and a half. (Clears throat.) Almost.”

– Ted complaining about his date with Carly: “To me, it all sounded like hipster Mad Libs.”

– Even though Ted had already mentioned that Carly was a rollerblader, I laughed at the sight of the two of them rollerblading away from the food truck.

– I enjoyed Robin’s musical sequence, but it’s hard to live up to her Robin Sparkles history.

– Robin responding to Marshall’s attempt to use Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter to explain the power of her engagement ring: “Can you say that again but not in nerd?” “Yeah, I don’t speak virgin either.”

– Ted to Barney: “My mother’s not one-night-stand material.” Barney: “Yeah, you’re right. It wasn’t night, and we weren't standing.”

– I loved watching Invisible Robin carry those beers around. I grew up watching Charlie Brown specials, and it made you flash back to It’s Magic, Charlie Brown.

– Ted justifying to Barney why the universe would allow him to sleep with Barney’s half-sister: “It’s not like you’ve ever treated women in a way that would deserve karmic retribution.”

– When I was looking up some information about Jerry for this review, I realized that we’ve known that Barney’s half-sister’s name is Carly for awhile now. If you remembered that going into "Ring Up," you were probably ahead of the game.

Comments (41)
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She's exaggerating to make a point!!
Best scene... Really, I laughed a lot.
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It was a very enjoyable episode. I'm really hoping the answers and the progress don't drop off in season 9, though. Don't get lazy, guys!
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These last two episodes were disappointing. For me, last week's reveal of Ted seeing the mother in a flash forward spoiled the show to some degree. I felt that we, the audience, should of had that moment experienced along with Ted in the normal course of events. Instead, they ruined that moment regardless of not revealing the mother herself.

Wouldn't it have been nice to have that episode where Barney meets his sister? I get they probably wanted the Ted meets and sleeps with her bit and have Barney's shocked reaction, but I think having the story of their meeting would have been better. Or have Barney meet her for the first time when Ted introduces his new girl and he discovers who she is. This episode seemed off track, or creatively deflated, by not doing something along those lines. I think they had enough lead time knowing they will get a ninth season to better pace the show than what they might have originally planned, if such is the case, but either way, I can't help think they are sort of cutting corners that may be hurting this show.

I hate shows that cast actors/actresses that are already on other shows at the same time. I currently watch Pretty Little Liars, though probably will be my last season, so I see Ashley Benson as a character from that and had a hard time accepting her as Barney's sister. For me, the casting should have been more unique. As it was, it kept pushing me out of the show's believability and/or originality
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I loved the Barney-Ted-Carly winkfest. I could've watched a whole half hour of that.
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Solid episode, I enjoyed it.

I would not consider myself a die-hard HIMYM fan, I just enjoy it for the comedy and I don't really theorize about who the mother is (to be honest, I really don't care). That being said, I do read these comments so I know what other people are thinking. So when they debunked the half-sister being the mother, my first thought was "huh, I guess some people will be dissapointed, that sux".

Other than that, like I said, solid episode.
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I'm not disappointed Barney's half-sister will not be the mother, but I do think the show was actively setting that up two years ago. The timeline just ended up dragging out too long so they've shifted gears. That's okay, but I do feel like even though I enjoyed this episode, it was definitely one written to debunk a fan theory... and sometimes a show is better off not catering to the fanbase so much.
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I remembered that her name was Carly! :o)
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Okay, so the mother was at the bar when ted decided to be a jerk and yet he was in the econ class he taught a few years ago... that had better have been a masters class or this timeline is no longer making any sort of sense.
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Cindy was in the same class. Wasn't she a masters student?
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She could be a mature student. Maybe she took some years out to work with her band but then decided that she wanted to go to college
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There are plenty of people who go to college later in life--me, for example.
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So glad she isn't the mom. It would have been kind of gross since Ted is like 15 years older than her.
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Is she actually Barney's half sister? Or is she pretty little LYING?
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I'm sad the half-sister theory got debunked, though I kind of thought maybe it would be when we found out he met her at the trainstop. But I feel like I should have realized or at least thought about the possibility that Carly was the half-sis earlier in the ep, but I always figured that she was like 24 or 25 by now. But I just realized that both Barny and Robin's sisters are played by Pretty Little Liars (Lucy Hale played like Katie(?) Robbins sister in like season 2 or 3).
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I was a little bored with this episode. Though it debunked the half-sister theory it didn't really do too much else. PLEASE HIMYM give your wonderful actors some more story lines. You gave us hints of that last week with Lily and Marshall, but if you aren't going to really develop anything with Ted, let the other characters have a turn - namely Lily and Marshall. Why have they become SOOOO background lately?

Although I'll agree seeing Ted impress girls always cracks me up, him on rollarblades had me giggling too (and you know he's not very good at it) and I LOVED Robin's singnig fantasy. I tend to exaggerate just like that too.

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Because Lily is awful... She is just terrible she's become a Flanderization of her former self and when a character is more of a joke than a character its not fun to watch storylines with them.

It really sucks because it means that Jason Seigel is also dragged down by it
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You're calling Lily awful? Youuuuuuuuuuuu... sonofabeach.
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I calls 'em like I sees 'em... She's a joke of a character now
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I know what you mean. I still have hopes for her character, but she defiantly has become a background character. She was so real at the begging of the series even up to season 6. and I love how loyal she is to her friends ( I loved the roof scene the previous weeK that was golden). But bring that back HIMYM show it more, also don't drag Marshall's story down.
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I'm glad that the half sister wasn't the mother, because this was way better, especially with Barney's reactions.
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The one Ring doesn't make you invisible to Ringwraiths, it calls them. Regular people can't see you.
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"I don't speak nerd" covers this, I think.
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Well, apparently, Bill Kuchman here, speaks a little bit. Therefore, we should get our facts straight.
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I'm glad they did not go with the half sister as the mother idea. It was a good moment when Barney realized who it was and was still sort of happy for Ted but disgusted at the same time.

The engagement ring making women invisible to men thing was used on Scrubs also but it was wedding rings then. JD was wondering why he never noticed Kim and it was because she had on an wedding ring. They even had all the girls take off their rings and the entire room was suddenly filled with women and then they vanished when they put them back on.

Marshal and Lily's storyline was really just played for sight gags, no real plot development there. I would have liked a little more for them after Lily's reveal last week that she sometimes felt like she was losing herself to being a mom
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I'm sure not everyone, but a LOT of the people that pointed to "half-sister" theory got too caught up on Ted calling him "Uncle Barney" Unaware that some families / cultures will also assign the terms "aunt" and "uncle" to very close family friends. And when I would tell them, they'd say "nope, nobody does that"

In my case, my parents have had friends since high school that they would still see once a month or more when we were kids. As such, we called them aunt and uncle. I know many families that do the same thing, and they are from all different types of backgrounds (Polish, German, French, etc).
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Holy Crap, Carly was hot... Cudos to Ted!
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They should bring back Robin's sister for the wedding. Maybe have her sister bring her friends over too. A mini "Pretty Little Liars" cameo.
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I hate poking holes in show's stories but how did barney know guess that ted was talking about his sister where he said she was roughly twenty, named Carly and works selling leather wrist cuffs.
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He realized who she was when Ted showed him a picture.
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Yes... But the age, and the name, and the fact that Barney had just seen her at Christmas should have meant this information tipped Mr. Stintson off to her identity long before he saw the picture
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Did Ted ever mention her by name to Barney? I thought he kept saying this girl, this chick etc. etc.
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Well, if they're not close then it's possible. After all, he only learned about her (at most) a couple of years ago... some of that time involving Barney avoiding Jerry and his family.

If they're not a huge part of your life and you've only met them a handful of times then it's hard to make the connection automatically UNLESS you're in a small town.

I don't know about you, but when I lived in the city and I heard about person-X I didn't go through my mind's rolodex each time to think if I possibly knew them. But when I moved back to a small town, I did.
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Yes, but they had just seen her over Christmas, its not as if she is still some mysterious stranger. Had the line at the beginning of the episode reminding us about Barney's Half-Sister, been something along the lines of "We were supposed to see her at Christmas, but she got held up" it still would have reminded the casual watcher that Barney has a half-sister but not have made the hardcore question how he didn't recognize Ted's 20 year old girlfriend as such.
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It wasn't a bad episode and I'm glad the sister theory was put to rest. I like the progress. Also, given Ashley Benson who plays Barney sister, her old guy fetish was a hilarious reminder of all the pedos on "Pretty Little Liars."
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Not a terrible episode and I'm glad Barney's half-sister is not the mother. in fact, i never thought it was a possibility until I heard theories after the fact it was proven she's not. Weird.

I think "P.S. I Love You" is the title of a Robin Sparkle's song. We'll see.
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okay...how did it take till THIS episode to eliminate the half sister theory...if Barneys sister was the mother aka the bass player of the band at the wedding...dont you think BARNEY would have suggested "hey my half sister has a band lets hire her" and not ted running into Rachel Bilson...
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Well they could've played it that Barney had no idea his sister was in a band because they aren't that close. But the band at the wedding thing is what I kept thinking of watching this episode saying, "we'll, if he first sees her while she's playing on stage than this cant possibly be the girl".

But isn't it also possible that Ted looks over at the band for the very first time that night and realizes someone he knows/dated was in a band. Hell, it could even be Zoey for all we know, right? Why not? And Ted being Ted and believing in destiny and what-not realizes he must give this person another chance and bada-bing-bada-boom their married with Kids. Ted&EX-Girlfriend 4-ever.

Or I completely missed a key point to the story and everything I just went on about made absolutely no sense.

Wow, 3 theories in 1 comment. Not bad. ;P
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zoey couldnt have been rachel bilsons room mate considering she was married at the time...chick is someone brand new never seen
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All signs are pointing to a character we've never, ever met before. I loved the "give a random girl a flower" bit that happened, that would of been the perfect story of how two people met. Wasted opportunity there, no idea how they're going to top it.

All we know now is that Ted sees her at the wedding in the band, and then after the wedding he meets her at the train station. so we basically know the how... Just not the who.
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Yeah but the writers are smart enough to throw us off to be surprised by it all at the end. Although I semi saw the whole roof top scene with Barney and robin coming... You can't deny that it was smart writing. I believe we'll be shocked no matter what, but not surprised at all by it. In a good way. Idk lol we'll see
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I think we all saw the rooftop thing coming, but yes it was great writing and executed damn near perfectly.
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