How I Met Your Mother "Romeward Bound" Review: Haven't We Seen This One Before?

How I Met Your Mother S08E21: "Romeward Bound"

Ho-hum. While How I Met Your Mother Season 8 has given us some of the series’ best moments, it's also suffered from buzzkill episodes at the most unfortunate times. “Romeward Bound” was one such episode, and it really halted the momentum of the show.

Obviously, not every episode of HIMYM can be a mythology-advancing installment. No series can deliver game-changing episode after game-changing episode. When Lost was on the air, fans were constantly driven mad by the table-setting episodes that broke up the action. But HIMYM has served up more than its fair share of table-setting episodes this season, and pretty much the entire middle of Season 8 was lost (no pun intended) to episodes that neither revealed new pieces of the gang’s story nor were very funny.

Before HIMYM took a multi-week break, the show delivered one of its most powerful moments ever at the end of “The Time Travelers.” Ted's Extra 45 Days speech ratcheted up the emotional stakes and even caused fans to question whether the Mother or Ted might be dead in 2030. Granted, it would've been hard to follow that episode with another big piece of the story, but “Romeward Bound” flopped completely.

Stop me if you’ve heard these plotlines at least once in Season 8. Lily questions whether or not she’s made the right life choices. Marshall struggles at his job as a lawyer. Barney does something that causes Robin to question whether he’s really ready for marriage. HIMYM recycled all of those elements in “Romeward Bound,” an episode that must have been pieced together to fill space after HIMYM got a Season 9 pickup.

I can already hear some of you protesting: "But Marshall and Lily decided to move to Rome at the end of the episode! That’s a huge deal! How could that just be a random storyline thrown together to pad out the season? You don’t know what you’re talking about!"

Hold on—let’s talk logic for a moment. In “Romeward Bound,” the Captain informed Lily that he was moving to Rome, Italy, and he wanted her to come with him, so she could be his international art expert. After refusing the offer twice, Lily and Marshall agreed to venture outside of New York City to go to Italy for a year. But that leaves one big problem:  With next season being HIMYM’s last, there’s zero chance that Lily and Marshall won't be in New York to watch Ted finally meet his wife. Yes, the showrunners have promised that Season 9 will “look and feel much different,” but I don't believe for a second that Marshall and Lily will be spending it in Italy. This episode may have ended with the couple deciding to make the jump across the pond, but that’s not going to happen. So everything that happened with them this week is basically moot.

But while Marshall and Lily’s plotline didn’t have any real impact, I do have to question what Barney’s story was hinting at. With his and Robin’s wedding only a few weeks away, Barney is still showing signs that his bachelor ways haven’t completely disappeared. When Liddy, Robin and Barney’s wedding planner, met the group at MacLaren’s and showed up in a giant coat that covered up her “redonkulous” body (Ted’s words, not mine), Barney became obsessed with getting her to take off the outerwear. Ted’s warning to Barney to be careful about how he was acting around Robin was met with harsh words. “You’re not getting married in three weeks, Ted. I am. Robin’s marrying me, not you,” Barney said to his best man. Cold.

And that type of moment is possibly why “Is Barney Wearing a Wedding Ring in HIMYM Flashforwards?” has become a popular game for fans to play. Based on Barney’s behavior and Ted’s cautionary words, should we take this game a bit more seriously? We’ve been promised a wedding this season, but we haven't necessarily been promised a marriage. If you’re a supporter of the "Ted and the Mother Get Divorced and Ted Eventually Marries Robin" theory, "Romeward Bound" probably threw some fuel on your fire.

HIMYM is off next week, but we’ll get the final three episodes over three consecutive weeks after that. It’s go-time now, right?


NOTES & QUOTES

– The Captain (Kyle MacLachlan) got a haircut. I think this changes his potential to be frightening.

– Ted described Liddy’s body as “redonkulous,” a term he only used once before, when describing Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol. Great movie, Ted, but if it’s redonkulous, how would you describe Star Wars?

– Marshall’s black-and-white Italian girlfriend promised to move to Minnesota with him and learn his mother’s ham casserole recipe. Wouldn’t Mrs. Eriksen’s seven-layer dip recipe be more enticing? I mean, it has gummy bears in it.

– Barney describing to Ted why it’s okay for him to look at other women: “It’s like birdwatching. And right now, I’m watching a double-breasted... ROBIN!”

– When Ted tried to ask Liddy out, her redonkulous body stunned him. ”Indiana Jones wouldn’t look at this body. This is a body that would melt a Nazi's face.” Barney: “Aw man, I want my face to melt.”

– “Come on, bro. Don’t bogart all the Funyuns.” The only Italian phrase Marshall knows, yet depending on how he says it, it can mean almost anything.

Comments (83)
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i think the marshall and lily can spare some time for thier friends wedding....
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i agree with what was said about lily and marshall but ive long given up on their storylines so i dont really care about that. But i disagree with what you said about robin and barney because it wasnt another "Robin questions whether barneys ready for marriage" plot, Robin was fine with Barney wanting to see Liddys "Ridonkulous body" and was in fact curious about it herself. I thought their plot had the opposite effect, proving that they are right for eachother, and i loved barneys speech at the end to ted, he needed to hear it. he was lecturing barney on how to treat his fiancee. thats a bit rude like, especially when that fiancee is teds ex. i didnt think it was a complete waste of an episode but im now dreading what happens with lily and marshall cause its gonna be boring and shitty... like all their storylines.
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I agree with your review, after several episodes that I thought actually developed the characters and plotline, this did nothing for me. I don't know what it is about the Lily plot line. I wish they would have developed it better - it went from "I don't know if I made the right choices" to a job literally falling into her lap. I don't know if its the believability factor or just the fact that I just don't like it because it feels way to cartoonish with the captain.

Also what is going on with Robin and Barney. I absolutley hated the fact that she was "okay" with it implied with the last 30 seconds of the episode. This is reverting Barney backwards.... and if this is why/how they will break them up.... Not legendary ...lame.

I have to give Jason Segel mad props though. His Italian sentence had me in stiches, sometimes he really saves episodes for me like that.

Let's hope the next few are as good as the old season 2-4 episodes.
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Love the show so could never hate an episode but this episode frustrated me I really hope after all the recent seasons of setting up Barney and Robin and that wonderful proposal they aren't trying to undo it. It feels like the writers are stuck in a rut with Barney they want to progress his character but are trying to please the people who liked him single too and he seems a bit off, in the past episodes since his engagement we've seen him kinda revert back to his old self but hes always come through with a really sweet message about his feelings for Robin, so this episode feels unfinished I'm hoping it's leading up to just a bump in the road for them and not the beginning of the end as I've never liked her and Ted as a couple even before the idea of her and Barney was around I just wasn't keen. Sorry for the long post needed to vent and my boyfriend doesn't share my interest in talking about the episodes ha ha!
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I am so tired of the Ted and Robin thing. In the very first season it was very clear that Ted was not the guy to rally behind because obviously every relationship he got into would fail until the show ended when he would finally meet the love of his life. If it is the wife, why would I ever root for Robin? For me, that meant hoping for another triumphant love story. Immediately that became Barney and Robin. Somewhere in the first or second season there was a scene between these two where I thought they had the best chemistry. I remember thinking how exciting it would be if these two ever got together since they are both professed lovers of the eternal single life. They are perfect for eachother. All the future exciting things that have been foretold for Robin? Who better to do those things with than Barney? I really hope this show doesn't become the worst cliche and have yet another failed wedding day (do they know how much weddings cost??). If Robin and Ted do eventually end up together somewhere in the future - then what would be the point of his 8 season long story? I started watching this show because I so appreciated the idea of soul mates and long lasting love and marriage. I love how Lily and Marshall show what marriage is like (or should be like) - sticking it out through thick and thin. I don't know if it is in the cards for Barney and Robin but my hope remains eternal because to me they are soul mates and marriage can truly be bliss.
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totally agree!
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It fun.. It's a sit com, too many people try and over-analyze everything.

Like anything else, we need to keep it light. I see the comments here and the near 'conspiracy' theory, but the truth is, when the show is over, all will be revealed and if this is a great show, then it will leave the audience wanting even more.. for proof of that feeling, we all wish for Season 6 of Leverage. :)

This episode was funny, and I can't wait for us to finally meet the mother!!!
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Wait, there's a Ted divorces the mother and eventually marries Robin theory? Where did that come from? Doesn't Bob Saget always call her Aunt Robin in the voiceover? I knew the (bogus, in my opinion) "Ted is dead" or "The Mother is dead" theories would pop up as soon as I saw the end of The Time Travelers (stellar episode, btw--best ever?), but the Robin theory is just fans holding out impossible hope, if you ask me.
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I wonder if Robin will get mad at Barney and leave for a while. Remember when Ted mentioned how she was a bull fighter for a little bit?
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i found barney telling ted of so so so rude and mean! i thought they'd have a fight cuz it was a really bad thing to say
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Yes it was harsh, but this is how I see it. The writers wants Ted to realize Robin is not the girl for him, that she isn't the way he thinks she is cuz that she would never appreciate his grand gestures.
He and Barney are very different and she prefers Barney qualities
while Teds have always kind of een too mushy för her taste. He would never be happy on the long run cuz he needs that type of romance in his life. While Barney sees this and thinks Ted needs to finally realize it and get on with his life. I do agree He could have said it in a ncer way
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One could easily describe the gang in Season 8:

Ted - poor, poor single lonely guy....
Marshall - boring, boring newly dad guy, he has so many responsibilities right now as a dad...
Lily - what have I done with my life????????? Don't talk to me, I have a son, I'm always busy.
Robin - awesome fiancee, she's really awesome
Barney - tries to be as awesome as before, lots of old/recycled jokes
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I'm surprised at most of the the people's reaction to this episode. I absolutely loved it. I didn't care at all that it didn't advance the plot because I was laughing the whole time.
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“Come on, bro. Don’t bogart all the Funyuns.” The only Italian phrase Marshall knows, yet depending on how he says it, it can mean almost anything.

- Hated it. It was fun at first that he said it and said it again to show lilly that he can "speak italian" but after that it was just annoying. The meaning was cute though.

Barney's "I'm marrying her. not you" was a little inappropriate but he just didn't want to hear what Ted wanted to tell him. Probably something about he should be lucky to have Robin and actually appreciate her instead of checking out other "birds".

Most People now feel that way because of Ted's 45-days speech.

Lily and Marshall going to Rome? Yeah well I though that Segel has a new contract for season 9. Maybe the storyline was brought into the show when Segel stated that he would like to leave and do more acting as a "badass". Who knows. Maybe he'll join the Mafia considering how he walked through Little Italy...

But the episode was really bad.
Good thing was when Marshall explained his "lies" to Lily. "I have a lot on my plate right now"... etc.

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Bad episode with almost no laughs for me.But I really likes your theory about Robin not marrying Barney cause they are awful together.
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This was a terrible episode. I'm ready for the season finale already.
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There have been no "series' best" in season 8. It would be a great idea to ship Marshall away to Italy or anywhere where the show won't be. Maybe Segel or whatever his name is only signed up for a few episodes for the final season. Well one can always hope.

The episode was dreadful once again and now I never watch HIMYM without doing something else simultaneously.
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I didn't dislike the episode, but it didn't exactly make me laugh either. I got a weird vibe from Barney and Ted's conversation and I agree with you about the wedding but maybe not marriage thing (not about the Robin and Ted theory though) (wedding ring can be a continuity mistake in flashforwards from early seasons BEFORE they decided Robin and Barney were heading down the aisle too) but somehow, even after what Ted said, and specially after the last scene, I'm more with Barney than with Ted on Robin: He knows her, he knows when and where to push. Of course, he can be a little TOO Barney at times, but I do believe that Robin kind of fits into Barney's way of thinking and living.
Lily and Marshall may move to Rome in the finale after the wedding but they'll be back the following episode, of course they'll be a part of the final season and part of the gang. No doubt about that.
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Just another disappointing episode in Season 8. I don't mind not meeting the mother as long as they deliver good episodes. I don't need to laugh the whole 20 minutes, but come on, isn't there among the producers and the writers anyone brave enough to just say it: the show sucks now let's do something better?
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Still no closer to getting any idea on how they'll run the show next year. The description of the season finale gives me the impression that the wedding won't happen on that episode. Are they going to drag this out over the aforementioned 45 days or let him meet her offscreen and then reveal things backwards?
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Andiamo fratello, non mastroianni da solo tutti i Funyuns!
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I haven't read through all the other comments and I'm sorry if anybody has mentioned this before: I can totally see Lily and Marshall moving to Italy. Especially since the next season is going to be different.
Here is my theory: The season ends with the wedding, Ted meeting the mother and Lily and Marshall leaving shortly after (placing their departure in the time between seasons). The next season is told from the Mother's point of view with each episode revealing the crucial stages of her and Ted meeting and almost meeting in the past (yellow umbrella, etc). and leading to concluding with the wedding AS WELL. After all, this show is called How I Met Your Mother, not How I Met And Then Fell In Love With And Then Married Your Mother.
It's just a guess and you can poke a lot of holes in it. I would love to be surprised and have something totally different happen, though.
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Shouldn't Marshall's Italian class have clashed with 'eating sandwiches'?
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errr, they could go to Italy and come back early. pretty simple.
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For the first time I can't choose a side on the Ted/Barney debacle. Both of them were right: Barney is crearly not acting like someone who's about to get married to the girl he has been in love for years, so Ted is right, he's pushing Robin's limits too far. And is also true that Ted hasn't let go Robin completely, some part of him still thinks that he should be with her, and apparently Barney knows it.
However I don't think this means that the wedding is not happening or that Barney and Robin are getting a divorce, it's just another bump in their road.
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this episode was average, it had it's moments just like any episode but I still liked it. I too thought Barney's comment to Ted was cold. I hope the writers delve more into that next episode, they can't leave something like that in the air.

Also this 'Ted and the Mother Get Divorced and Ted Eventually Marries Robin' Theory, I hate it. I can see why people want this because of their history, but thats just what it is, history, in the past. Robin has moved on with Barney, Ted will move on with 'Enter Name Here' aka The Mother. Plus let's not forget the fact that Robin hates & never wanted kids in the first place, sure Luke and Leia (I kind of hope thats their names) like her and she likes them but as aunt Robin and thats the way it should stay.
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I'm okay if they explore the Barney/Ted comments as long as it doesn't turn into another "Ted still loves Robin" debacle.
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Me too, hopefully in season 9 after Ted meet's the mother it won't pop up again, maybe when the mother finds out about them but only if it shows how much he loves the mother more than Robin.
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It was an okay episode, not the best but definitely not one of the worst either. Lily and Marshall's storyline wasn't abysmal for once, and it will be interesting to see how things play out now that it appears that they will be moving to Rome. For the past 8 years Lily, Marshall, Ted, Barney and Robin have basically ate/slept/shit together, so now we will get to see what life is like for the friends when they are no longer seeing each other 24/7. It started to happen a little bit this year, but next year since Ted will be courting the mother, we may finally get a focus on Ted and his beloved as opposed to the life of him and his friends.

In all honesty Ted had EVERY right to tell Barney he needed to cut back on his behavior, and Barney had EVERY right to tell Ted to mind his business. Barney is acting like a teenage boy, drooling over everything with nice a pair of tits and ass. Ted is just trying to get him to realize that he needs to focus more on Robin, because as much as she acts like everything is okay, she is really just a bomb waiting to explode. But Barney is right too, Ted isn't marrying Robin he is, so Ted needs to back off. Ted had his chance but it didn't work out. If anything Ted needs to let Barney continue to act the way he is and if Robin gets sick of it and calls off the wedding than he has no one to blame but himself. That may be the only way Barney learns.
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very dull episode...
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This was a so-so episode until Ted confronted Barney about how he treats Robin. That gave me chills. It was a big deal. And I loved Marshall's Italian speech and that Lilly knew what he was saying.
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Yeh, that was one of the few times we've seen Barney act serious or seriously annoyed. Seriously, outside of confronting his real father or leaving the room in a huff when they aired his hippie video tape I can't recall Barney ever acting ticked off on the show.

I don't blame him though. But I also don't blame Ted for wanting to have a mini intervention.
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Am I the only one who has a problem with the use of word "Redonk" by Himym.....They first used in 'the trial that changed Marshall's life' as a negative word. Remember Brad saying that Marshall argument is completely 'redonk'. And now they use it as something that is so good that it can't be described in words. Please Writers have some coherency. I personally love HIMYM for their cunning wordplay, but this was bad to say the least.
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Ridonkulous is just slang for ridiculous so there's nothing wrong with the way they used it you can say something is ridiculous as in stupid or you can mean it in a way where it is amazing, without trying to sound patronising words can have more than one meaning.
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HIMYM has always been pretty cutting edge and inventive with making up their own slang. The thing that bugged me is that "redonk" seems played out and lazy. Where is that creativity that built this show?
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Pretty sure it was first used in World's Greatest Couple. It's kind of Brad's catch phrase. Also, like the word it's derived from it can mean both good or bad depending on context and inflection.

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I've heard it used in the past in r/l from years back. OFTEN in the context of ridiculously ridiculous

So I could see them wanting to put in 1 word that is abnormal, funny, and encapsulated a sense of "EPIC" Using that works about as well as any other choice that can fit all 3 criteria.

Honestly, the scene and such just wouldn't be funny if Ted was just saying "She has an epic figure" he needed something quirky in there.
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i;m probably the only person who thinks this, but i thought what ted said made a lot of sense. I;ve never been fully behind Team Swarkles simply because Barney doesn;t seem to have any idea how Robin should be treated. I know Ted and Robin won;t end up together, but I;d be very surprised if Barney ends up with Robin, either.
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I think BOTH of their reactions were justified to a degree (I have a long-winded post a little lower).

I'm OK with Robin + Barney in general, Robin seems to have fully embraced his quirks and behavior this time around. Though I guess it's possible she's "faking it until she's making it" in which case she's a powder keg about to blow up.

But for reasons I elaborate below: both were justified. Ted was trying to help prevent (what he saw) as an impending disaster. And Barney was tired of Ted trying to butt-in and be "the expert" on Robin: a girl he lost a bunch of times and (as shown during his college course) didn't know as well as he thought. Dating is one thing, engagement is another.
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The only thing I particularly liked about the episode is, it didn't go the way I was fearing when I read the DVR's description.

I thought it was going to be like the California exodus from the early season... where Lilly wanted to go and leave Marshall to live her dream-job a little longer. Being selfish. Most likely taking the kid with her.

And then Marshall having to choose whether or not to talk her out of it or to leave his job and go.

So, I was really dreading that's how it would go.

Fortunately, they did it differently. Lilly was tempted but quickly decided not to. But then we find out that Marshall's job is pretty much done... not surprising since the disaster of his "big case." The firm had all but closed down and he was just coming into the office to do nothing. So it was MARSHALL that was trying to force the issue of going.

Of course, I missed the last couple of minutes so I didn't know that they decided to go there for a year until I read this review.
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It seemed like the only reason they made this episode was to show us that Lily and Marshall decided to move to Rom. It's like they're just filling out the season... And throwing away good storytelling. Such a shame...
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I actually thought it was a pretty funny episode. But I WAS "eating a sandwich" at the time...
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lol
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Your comment was funnier than this episode!
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My theory about Rome and the wedding...It is only 3 weeks until the wedding and I'm sure Lily could tell the Captain that she could come until after the wedding and thus the summer hiatus could actually jump forward a year to them getting back and tell some Rome stuff in flashbacks.. As for the wedding well what if there is some last minute stuff between Robin and Ted and it causes the wedding not to happen and while Lily and Marhsall are in Rome Ted, Barney and Robin don't talk for that whole year hardly if at all and when they get back its up to them to bring the gang back together.. I'm not saying its a good story but it is certainly plausible and would allow for this eps Rome plotline to be impossible to happen.
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At first, I thought they were going to do just what you described with Rome and the hiatus and everything, but HIMYM has always been accurate when it comes to storytelling. My guess is they won't jump forward a whole year.
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Even if they left prior, I doubt the Captain would have a problem with them flying back for said wedding. Weddings are a big deal and he's not exactly a stranger to the group, he knows that Lilly is part of a group of really-close friends (even if he can't remember their names).

And as someone else said: moving Internationally is quite a lot of work. He knows she has a husband and a child so he'd probably be OK with her taking a month to get prepped to uproot her whole family.
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On the other hand, he gave her one day to decide whether she was going to uproot her entire family to move across the Atlantic Ocean.
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to be "not" be impossible to happen.
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Both Barney and Ted had a point there...

Ted knows Robin pretty darn well, even though we learned that most of his course's info was wrong (facial expressions, some of her likes / dislikes, etc.) He was trying to be a friend. Even though Robin also appeared to be "into" the ridonculous chick and has fully embraced Barney's eccentricities... Barney shouldn't push it too far. It was like a mini intervention. We've seen Robin keep her true feelings buried inside too much before and it didn't end well. It could be she's pretending to be OK with Barney ogling the blonde when it fact it bothers her.

On the other hand... Barney's right. Robin chose him, Ted had many chances and blew it. As shown at the end of that college course about Robin, he doesn't know everything about her. To add insult to injury, Ted likes to pretend he knows everything about "deep" things (as opposed to Barney knows everything about "shallow" things) and thus Ted tries to correct people, meddle, etc. So I can understand Barney losing it with Ted. It's there relationship, not his.

One COULD say Barney was a hypocrite; he's meddled with Ted's love life A LOT. But with Barney's meddling it was just about some random chick Ted was dating so it was harmless and fun. But now Barney is engaged... and trying to meddle with THAT is like poking a bear.
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The episode was terrible and nothing was funny. I'm getting tired of the Captain's boat lines and Barney-the-eternal-bachelor. I feel like I lost a half hour of my life.
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I enjoyed this episode. I really don't care about the mother storyline and I wish they just forgot about it and let the future be full of possibilities. For once I didn't find Lily and Marhsall boring and it was funny to watch Ted, Barney and Robin waiting for the yoga girl to remove her coat. HIMYM should be more about stuff like that and less about Ted meeting the love of his life.
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"Come on, bro. Don't bogart all the Funions" speech was hilarious.
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I'm surprised you thought so, considering your avatar indicates you're somebody who clearly appreciates good humour. I found this entire episode, including the Funions speech, very much a downer.
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Thankyou... I think. Backhanded compliments will get me every time, stud.
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"The compli-sult." - Britta Perry
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I'm not entirely sure this reviewer is had been watching this show pre-season 8.

"Obviously, not every episode of HIMYM can be a mythology-advancing installment."

!!!!!!! Almost NO episodes have been mythology advancing. I think we only need one hand, maximum two to count the episodes throughout the 8 seasons that are. I haven't seen them all, but websites and articles following the clues / mythology make this apparent.

I think reviewers and audience should not forget that we really, after 8 seasons, know nothing as far as concrete information goes. As was highlighted in the previous episode's comments, the mythology is obviously being made up as it goes along.
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Which is why I thought Stella might have been the one before we even met her... because future-Ted said the whole story was important and how it was all interconnected, even before we learned about Stella.

Obviously that fell through, though I imagine that if they heard that the show was getting cancelled around then they would have ended the show with her.

With Stella, there was a very fine line of plot to follow

Ted liking Robin, Ted breaking up, Ted being devastated, Ted serial-dating, Ted dating skank that results in a tramp stamp, Ted needing said tramp stamp removed, Ted thinking about dating un-seen doctor, friends try to talk him out of it, Ted dates Stella.

There WAS more in that sequence, but it's been a while since those seasons so I forget the rest. But you get my gist.

Here though... it will probably just be retro-actively inserted into past articles (see previous post).
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But the Stella plot was important to the mother mythology. It allowed Ted to get a job working as a professor at the Mother's college. Date a girl (Cindy) at said college who roomed with the mother and later on she would recommend the mother for Barney/Robyn's wedding where Ted would first see the mother and later on MEET her.

That Zoey crap however was random.
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True. But before that happened I was like "a-ha, it's going to be his tattoo remover doctor"

He did repeat the "it's all connected" when we learned about him getting the job and that on his first day he confirmed his mother was in that (wrong) classroom.

Zoe, didn't really go anywhere. So if they want to keep up any kind of chain-of-events I guess his first building (and the after-party) were the chain-of-events and Zoe was just along for the ride. But other than that... I don't see her being important at all other than to have a crazy GF.
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I can't speak for the writers but I think their psuedo-plan was for Stella to turn out to be the "mother" just in case they got cancelled. So was Victoria and others. They know they have to answer the big question someday, so they keep setting up possible "mothers" until they know they are coming back or not. Now that the end is in sight, they don't need the "what ifs".
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Perhaps, perhaps not. It depends on how you look at it.

My guess is we're going to have a series of flashbacks of a LOT of the past-episodes where we find out they almost met. Perhaps at the same event at the same time, perhaps in the same room, passed each other in the street, etc.

Some were probably planned since the episode's airing and unknown to us, some will probably be the writers and such squeezing it in somehow.

The obvious one is the St Patrick's day party where we see him bump into some "random" girl... everyone realized it was important because of how the camera lingered on it. So chances are we'll see that girl is the wife.

So while we have some known / assumed ones (St Patrick's day, first day teaching, yellow umbrella sightings, her feet as she ran across the room) there are probably others.

However... it begs the question if those 'unknown ones' are that embedded on-a-whim really a big part of the mythology. I mean, they could try squeezing it into various bottle episodes or something that had nothing to do with the mythology so that really doesn't make that episode "important" after the fact.
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I still think that next season isn't going to be Ted's courtship with the mother. I think it all leads up to him meeting her at the wedding in the last episode... so until that gem is debunked, I don't think the move to Rome will have any impact. This season can end with the start of the wedding, and next season can be scenes at the pre-ceremony, ceremony and reception with Ted flashing back to other scens to explain to the kids why this little detail or that little joke meant more than it seemed. Just as he's done for the whole show. So after the wedding, they can move to Rome just as Ted meets her ladyship, and without Lily interfering or Marshall killing a vibe, he gets a year to get to fall in love with her (unseen but explained in the last scene or two)and then ted explains they come back from Rome in time for his wedding. And then the baby is born in time to see the Star Wars trilogy and all is right with the timeline.

Mircea Monroe is ridonkulous. Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol is NOT. I have a crush on Paula Patton but even that didn't make it a great movie.

I liked how Ted can do yoga, but nobody in the group mocks him for it. Anyone else and that isn't the case.

And the babe who was Marshall's existential Italian love/wife was ridonkulous too. Cara mia!! Bellisimo indeed!!

I like that Carl is still the bartender, but I miss Wendy the waitress. I hope Charlotte makes at least a cameo or two next season. She met an out of work lawyer one night. She would still need to pay her bills, so either she still works there and we haven't seen her... or they come up with a funnier reason for her to leave suddenly than she threw her back out lugging bottles to the recycling center.
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Maybe Marshall and Lilly move to Italy after the wedding (it takes some time to actually move to another house, specially in another country, doesn't it?) and maybe next season will be about Ted telling his kids AND Lillyand Marshall about how he met the love of his life. That would give Jason Segal less airtime to pursue his movie career... I hope none of this hapens but it sounds plausible...
The Barney/Robin thing seems more complicated, and that last scene with Robin in the coat was weird, like unfinished... but then again the whole episode felt that way
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Not just gummy bears but also funyuns. That seven layered salad is like the love child of Martha Generic and Jesse Pinkman; don't ya know.

Honestly if Liddy was that redonkulous, I'd probably be a Moth flying around a candle light. It'll be the end of me, but what a way to go.

It looks like this season is a lot about Lilly balancing being a mom and trying to for fill her dreams. I think she will try to reach it, get there, and realized that she was happier doing something else. Marshal will eventually get that appointment as a judge, and it will be her escape clause. It however feels like the writers haven't been able to make her stories feel organic and instead it feels more like a formula. This episode fell flat for me because it felt like the entire episode was all about the tick before the boom, but there was no anticipation.

Pretty much Ted gave Barney a warning he should heed. He knows Robin better than almost anyone, even taught a class about it. It's just they both wanted different things at different times. Robin holds things in, whether it be her father's treatment of her, or Barney's abuse of other women, and she holds it in until it gets too much and explodes.
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Mircea Monroe DOES have a redonkulous body.
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This episode was obviously a stop gap to set up a whole bunch of other stories, but having them all thrown into one episode so close to the ending of the second season that is about the wedding where Ted meets the mother for the first time just made this episode completely forgettable.

This episode also showcased just how unimportant Ted has become to the show. Honestly, if this was the first HIMYM episode you ever saw you would have no idea Ted was suppose to be the featured character and this show was suppose to be about how he met his wife.

I don't know why, but I hated everything about this episode. Im also pretty sure if/when I watch it again I will still dislike it. I actually didn't particularly like The Burning Beekeeper or The Autumn of Breakups when I first saw them, but having rewatched them I actually don't mind those episodes. However, I really cannot see that being the case here. There was just nothing about this episode to enjoy. The Liddy joke was just awkward, the Rome story was kind of just there and the Ted/Barney moment was actually pretty moving if it wasn't for the fact Barney was a douche the entire episode and in no way do you want him to marry Robin even though The Last Page was sooo good and Weekend and Barneys turn it around brilliantly at the very last second.

Overall worst episode this season and maybe of the entire series.
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What if Lily and Marshall actually go to Italy? It could happen between the seasons, so that when we return for the last season, we will be a year ahead. I don't know how that plays into Ted and the mother storyline, but it's not a novel thing to do for shows to jump in time like that.
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If one of the sticking points in getting a season 9 was Jason Segel's readiness to move on to bigger things, perhaps he negotiated a reduced presence for next season.

Note for your last note: Marshall and Lily have demonstrated telepathy before.
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I thought this episode was weird, it seemed to end without really resolving Barney's story line. Ted said that Robin might not be as cool with it as Barney thinks, and Barney snapped at Ted (uncalled for, he was kind of a dick in fact), then Barney got home to Robin wearing nothing but a coat. Was there some conclusion in what he said to Ted that I missed?
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No, you're right. I actually said "What?" when the credits rolled because I thought there would be more. It was such a weird way to end the show, very unresolved tension and what seems like a little ill-feeling. I hope this is not ignored and they address it in future episodes.
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I completely agree with both of you. My TV senses are usually pretty good, and that did not feel like a closing scene.

Not only that, I thought it quite likely that Ted would be proved right after Barney's VERY dickish response to his warnings about Robin not being as "cool" as he thinks.

Ted was just trying to help a friend, because he's a great guy, and Barney once again acts like the apparent ass he'll seemingly always be. (I love the guys shenanigans, but let's be real, Barney IS a dick.) Am I the only one who thinks it's insane how much Robin has allowed him to get away with?

I'm with Ted. Robin CAN'T possibly be THIS cool... can she?
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No, she cant, cos Robin sucks!
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Yeah..sure..because girl who doesn´t suck would be totally OK with the fact that her boyfriend is childish horny womenizer who can´t help himself when they aren´t even married yet..
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What happened to the awesome Robin for season 1? I feel like her character completey changed! She was okay in season 2, but after that it's like a totally different character...
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