The romantic adventures of Ted Mosby have been a bit frustrating for several years now, even if they are the reason we're all still here. But even knowing that How I Met Your Mother would eventually need to wrap up Ted's lingering feelings for Robin so he could move on and fall in love with the Mother didn't make the tough, bitter, eye-roll-inducing episode that was "Sunrise" any easier to swallow. I understand why the show's writers thought they needed to hammer home how deep Ted's love is for Robin, to the point of near exhaustion (so we'll be able to see that his love for the Mother is even deeper), but enough is enough already. Understanding why something's happening doesn't necessarily mean it's working, or that we should agree with it.
If this episode had aired a year or two ago, I think I would've reacted much differently. As it stands, in the backstretch of Season 9 and just hours before Robin and Barney's wedding, it made me want to punch some puppies. The nighttime beach stroll was too ridiculous for my liking, especially because the reason the two of them were out there was that Barney had disappeared. And knowing that the series had to address Ted's feelings so the story could move forward made watching the whole ordeal even worse. But hey, at least it's over, which means we can finally look forward to the wedding and Ted's impending meeting of the Mother. Plus, Robin now knows that Ted is planning to move to Chicago once the festivities are over.
On one hand, this is a good thing, because Robin deserved to know the truth. Even if she isn't in love with Ted, they're still very close friends. But on the other hand, I can't stop thinking about how I would feel if a close friend told me they were moving to a different city because of me. (And no, Ted didn't say those exact words, but that's exactly what's happening.) Would I be sad? Would I be angry? Would I be able to just let it happen? Ted is running scared because Robin is marrying Barney and he thinks it's a chance to start over in a new city, and while his departure for Chicago certainly isn't the worst possible thing that could happen, I do think it's cheapened things somehow. I feel like it's an obvious way to make us feel bad for Ted, when I don't really want to. Especially because, according to my calculations, now that Robin knows, the only person who's still in the dark is the one Ted who probably should've told first: Marshall.
But Marshall was fighting his own battle with the past in his own storyline this week. After Lily stormed out—we still don't know where she went, but she returned early in the morning—Marshall had some serious conversations with Ghost Lily, 2006 Ghost Lily, and the ghost of his late father. I really respect what How I Met Your Mother was trying to do in showing us that Marshall and Lily aren't necessarily the world's most perfect couple, and that if Marshall continues to make decisions without consulting her, or if he keeps referring to their relationship as a series of wins and losses, he'll eventually ruin his marriage. But—and this is a big but—I wish this had been a real conversation between Marshall and Lily, and not one that Marshall only imagined in his head. Because now their fight is over and neither one of them has really talked about it. 2006 Ghost Lily didn't really add anything to the episode, and even though it was great to see Marvin return for a quick cameo, I'm a little suspicious that the writers almost swept the fight under the rug because they didn't know how else to deal with it. At the very least, I hope we'll find out where Lily went after she left the inn, and what made her change her mind about their move to Italy.
And speaking of not knowing how to deal with things, I'm a bit unsure of how to deal with Barney's last night out as a single man. I really liked the idea of Barney passing along everything he considers to be "wisdom" to two young men, the same way he used to impart that wisdom to Ted so many years ago. I even liked that he passed along the Playbook, which was written on napkins. But I actually thought we'd already said goodbye to this Barney, so I guess I just don't know that we needed to revisit him. Although it IS completely believable that a man like Barney would feel the need to do such things, and I really can't fault him for wanting to tell people to play laser tag.
Ultimately, while I agree with everything that happened in "Sunrise" on a basic level—all of these storylines needed to happen before the series ended—the execution of nearly every single one of them felt lacking. Ted needed to deal with Robin, but the scene with Floating Robin was so ridiculous that I laughed instead of feeling any emotional attachment to him finally letting her go. I'd also completely forgotten about the locket, but I did enjoy seeing so many familiar faces return. Marshall's B-story was lacking simply because we knew he wasn't actually having an adult discussion with his wife, but that's what made it possible for Marvin to drop by. And Barney, well, I'm just glad he's putting all of that stuff behind him. I hope that with these roadblocks finally out of the way, How I Met Your Mother will be able to continue without any further bumps in the road. Because with only two more months' worth of new episodes, the series can't really afford any more missteps.
– Ted's Best Girlfriends: 5) Stella, 4) Zoe, 3) the Slutty Pumpkin, 2) Marshall when he and Ted pretended to be a couple, and 1) Victoria. (It's very telling that Robin didn't include herself in this list.)
– Ted's Worst Girlfriends: 5) Blah Blah, 4) Boats Boats Boats, 3) Karen, 2) Zoe, and 1) Jeanette.
– Seriously, though: Floating Robin? We all got the analogy, but the actual scene was soooo bad.
– This episode was full of familiar faces. Who was your favorite? I'm going with Marshall's dad.
– Where do you think Lily went? And why do you think she came back ready to put the fight behind her?
AIRED ON 3/31/2014
Season 9 : Episode 24