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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.



NOTES

– 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?

thekaitling:list:how-i-met-your-mother-what-did-you-think-of-the-broken-code/

 

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 3/31/2014

Season 9 : Episode 24

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