How I Met Your Mother

Season 7 Episode 12

Symphony of Illumination

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Dec 05, 2011 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (12)

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out of 10
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  • An emotional rollercoaster

    This episode twists and turns, punching you in the face much like Robin does to Barney at the start in a frankly hilarious scene. From there, things quickly switch tone as not only does Robin find out she's not pregnant, but that she can't have kids. However, with the episode set on the premise of her talking to her kids, telling them Barney's the father, you assume 1) Robin does find a way to have kids and 2) Her and Barney will end up together. The episode then proceeds to flip both these notions on their head. Ted is determined to be Robin's rock and the ending where he just holds her, not needing to know what is troubling her is both heart-breaking and reminds me that Ted and Robin are honestly the best couple in this show, even if it is just as friends. Lily and Marshall clearly love each other, but you rarely see it portrayed with the rawness of the others as its established early on that they're clearly perfect for each other. But the kicker of this episode is the moment when you realise Robin isn't talking to her future kids. They don't exist in any way, shape or form. There is no happy ending for Robin, Barney and their little family and this brings us crashing down to earth with an almighty thud.
  • Wow - definitely one of the best episodes of th e season. (Spoilers ahead.)

    Well, this was a interesting episode for sure.

    Firstly, Marshall stuck on the roof was just hilarious! Everything that happened there was awesome! So many laughs and such a great sotryline!!!

    Robin's pole vaulting story was EPIC!!! 'Meet a nice guy, get married, vault some poles' - one of my favourite quotes of the episode! So hilarious!!!

    But the episode was also really sad too, ewith Robin finding out about not being able to have chidlren. That is really sad and even though she never wanted them, she's still upset.

    Can't wait for the next episode! I wonder what is next in store for us! :)
  • They transplanted 'Lost' to Manhattan Island

    What got me hooked on this show was the episode where Ted dated the girl he dated seven years earlier and I have kept with it ever since, but with every week I am closer to jumping off the bandwagon.

    This season has been trying for me and this episode is another example. These characters are becoming such caricatures of themselves just to keep fan interest. They went from people I would hang out with to now people I would run away from. This show has become such a mindf**k and for no good reason. It shakes around so much, eventually the cap off the bottle will explode, the ratings points will spray onto the floor of oblivion and the HIMYM bottle will finally be recycled.

    Robin addressing her 'kids' seemed plausible, then they could have been adopted, then they disappear, which to me, while innovative, just insults the audience with the most familiar story telling style of the series. Perhaps we have finally seen a major plot in the history of the series, just for it to be a lesser one with a familiar gimmick to twist the viewer just for the sake of twisting. Even the very last syllable of dialogue was a mind bender.

    And who didn't see the kid double crossing Marshall from the first second. That's what the last 10 years of TV have been about, let's all laugh as someone gets screwed over, isn't it funny when it's not us being the victim. Our house is destroyed, well I guess he tricked me. That sure taught me a lesson.

    What would be perfect is the first scene of the following episode being Marshall closing the door after identifying the kid to the police and them dragging him away in handcuffs. I know we're never going back to Cosby style programming but when it's that predictable I always normally hit the forward button because it's not entertaining writing to me.

    Of course, another 21st century writing staple is how horrible it is to be a parent, like Barney's insane friend. Teenagers are always pricks, toddlers never listen, and babies puke all over the place. Maybe I should have worn a condom that night after all. It would have been fine in this episode if every other show didn't do it also. That's also a big part of what made The Middle impossible for me to watch after 30 seconds of the first episode, that and every episode preview that's in an ABC commercial block. Sorry Patricia Heaton.

    HIMYM will have to fish or cut bait soon on these long term plans to keep me watching. This will be the only show in TV history where you won't know it was the series finale until the actual finale because no one at the network wants to play the hand with the mother card in it in regards to promotion. Plus who would want to be with Ted after how he's lost his mind since the beginning of this season.

    Innovation in season two has become silliness this year, please tone them down CBS. No one in real life or normal TV life would react to Robin`s real news like she knew her friends would. If this show had any other name it would have been like the American version of Coupling, the UK import, and lasted just as long, which I believe was a month.

  • It begins happy, then twists around to punch you in the heart. [Spoilers]


    Well, I was basically jumping for joy when I thought Barney and Robin were going to get married and have 2 kids. Robin decking Barney in the face was absolutely hilarious! It was NOT cool that the pregnancy would have been a product of cheating, but I just wanted Barney & Robin happy together --it's not looking like it will be that way, but who knows. People who are against Barney/Robin may be happy about this episode, but I was pretty bummed out when their fake kids disappeared and she cheerlessly said "I'm glad you guys aren't real". It's heart-breaking that Robin will never have kids, but I suppose she never wanted them.

    Seeing Marshall attempt to decorate the house while getting mad at the Scott kid was a pretty funny storyline; his "angry father" faces were hilarious.

    It seems the show is setting up for everyone to move on: Lily and Marshall with their baby and new home, Barney and Ted eventually get married, and Robin becomes a journalist/world-traveler/business-women/bull-fighter (haha!). This is the direction they are leading us, but there's bound to be unexpected twists and turns along the way. We shall see! (:

    The episode was very well done and had some very funny moments, but it did punch me in the heart a little.

  • I was really looking forward to this episode.

    I was so unbelievably excited the first few minutes, and kinda pissed at the end. It all just felt very unnecessary, but the episode was great. It had me hooked right from the start, and I felt so many things through the episode.

    I think that this was good. Everyone was expecting Robin and Barney to marry each other and have babies, and now we know that that's not going to happen. It really makes you want to watch what happens next.

    This was one of the best episodes of the season, but I have some thoughts about Barney. He was way to excited about the baby-thing. If Robin had told him that 6 months ago, he would've freaked out. I just think that the changing of his personality is going to fast and is a little bit much. Otherwise, I love the new Barney! The show needed a change, and this is for the better.
  • Wow. A twist and downer of an episode I was not expecting

    Following the previous episode I was full of excitement with the idea of Robin and Barney having a kid. Once it was revealed she wasn't pregnant, I was a tad put out (although their happy dance was hilarious), and this only increased when it was revealed she can never have kids. The episode was for the most part a downer simply because of the main story line, but I agree with the plot/character twist in almost every way.

    If Robin and Barney were going to have a kid, in terms of the overall story arc of the show, it would be nothing short of a disaster. Barney and Robin are not really in the right place to have kids, let's be honest. Also, with Lily and Marshall expecting, the show would have suddenly lost a lot of its variety (particularly as Ted is after the same thing).

    This episode went to huge lengths to develop Robin's character, and achieved it quite well (at least in my opinion). Reinforcing her wish to not have kids, and her insecurities about not being able to have them very definitely and well. I am secretly (well not so much) pleased she isn't going to have kids. It is a horrible thing for a woman to discover, whether she wants kids or not, and how i met your mother has done its best to show this, adding a bit more depth to the character, plot, and show. The explanation of why Robin is upset about not being able to 'pole-vault' was brilliantly written, as was her explanation to her 'kids'. The episode showed that not everyone ends up with the perfect little family unit that Ted, Lily and Marshall are barrelling towards, but that it also is not the end of the world if events such as what has happened to Robin occur. One thing I am hoping for in the future is a name for the condition Robin has, it will give the events a little more legitimacy.

    There is still hope for Barney and Robin relationship wise, just because she can't have kids doesn't mean she can't get married, but this does add a little tension to a possible future relationship as Barney seems, following the Rebound Girl, to be wanting kids. It will all depend on how he stands after this episode.

    The story line with Marshall and Scott was a little tiresome, mainly as it was quite clearly not much more than filler story, but it had the ability to add a little humour to a not particularly cheerful episode.
  • Great episode way to end the HIMYM episodes of 2011...


    The episode started great with the HIMYM Robin edition giving us what we thought was a glimpse into the future but it brings up some other questions. When Barney and Nora broke up most of assumed that, that meant Barney and Robin where going to end up together or at least I did and I still haven't given up on that theory but this theory was dealt a huge blow last night... with the show heading into break I can say this... I'm excited for it's return in 2012 :) this coming year is going to be legend... wait for it... dary :D

  • The writers finally revealed secrets towards the main story arc...or so we thought...or wait, did they?


    Luring with its appeal, yet delivering only a tease, How I Met Your Mother has unfortunately provided its fans with television blue balls on numerous occasions. Symphony of Illumination, however, was another level of cruelty.

    Regardless, after few declining episodes since the season premiere, this episode quietly elevates the season. The exploration of parenthood from the characters in this episode is intriguing.

    For Barney, "Are you sure you are not just getting fat?" and "Did someone forget to tell your boobs?" were two hilarious *punch* lines to open the episode.

    From there, the episode unravels with a twist. Upon repeated attempts to layer Robin's character, the writers succeeded in the Symphony of Illumination. In one episode, Robin illustrates despair from two extremes, sandwiched with comic relief via the "non-prego" dance.

    The subplot of Marshall and Lily's interactions with the teenager suggest comically lenient parents in the future.

    Finally, no HIMYM holiday episode can be complete unless the main character goes overboard touching. Ted's surprise holiday decorations was genuinely heartwarming and a fitting end to a holiday episode.

    Additionally, the writers managed to sneak a critical development towards the main story arc into this episode. If Robin cannot be pregnant, she cannot be the biological mother. Thankfully, could all the nonsense "Robin is the mother" fans FINALLY put this theory to rest?

    Although one last thought to end this review... if an illumination is the case of this episode, what could stop Ted from pulling a Robin in the series finale?

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    the writers wasted no time. I wasn't ready for Robin to open the show as the narrator talking to her kids -the boy in a suit who looks like Barney and a girl is a spitting image of Robin. It was hard to pay attention to the smaller details on tonight's episode because I was too busy trying to mentally process what had just happened in the open and then throughout the episode. For me this was the best episode since "The Naked Truth."

    I'll get back to Robin and the kids, but let's briefly talk about the other plotlines in this episode.

    Marshall out on Long Island (or Lawnguyland as us who were born and raised there call it) decorating the house for Christmas. Also fun fact, East Meadow is a real town. I actually ran a half marathon there. What up! Marshall and his kid neighbor that took advantage of his naïve Midwestern ways and softness due to impending fatherhood. I would have loved to see Marshall final product including the Symphony of Illumination he was trying to do on the roof.

    Lily was registering for items at We b Babies for her shower with the rest of the gang in tow. Nipple butter and vagina numbing cream – makes me want rethink motherhood one day. yuck! At We b Babies we meet Insane Dwayne who was Barney's former bro turned bedraggled father who married his one night stand that he picked up by only saying the word boner. Classic.

    So Robin. Robin opens the episode telling her kids about the moment she told their father (Barney) she was pregnant. Typical Barney hijinx ensues along with some legendary lines (see below) and physical comedy. We also find out Robin and Kevin haven't had sex yet. We very quickly find out that Robin isn't pregnant which has me confused, but intrigued. Robin then basks in the glow of an empty uterus with alcohol, junk food and watching Teenage Mommies.

    Robin gets called back to the doctor where she finds out she can't have a baby and in true Robin fashion keeps everything to herself, however she imagines the gang's reactions to the news. However Barney, Lily and Ted know something up. Ted as the roommate tries to cheer Robin up, but they fight which made me uncomfortable just watching.

    Robin then goes on to talk as the narrator about how much better her life is since she couldn't have kids which confuses me. Then she says, "if you want to know the truth of it, I'm glad you guys aren't real." and they fade away.mind blown..

  • Very surprising twist in the episode but all is not lost for probable Mrs Robin Stinson.


    I'm sure everyone was pumped up with the cliffhanger in the last fortnight's episode and the sneak peek confirming Barney was the dad also made us robin/barney fans jump to the sky. The way that they started off the episode with "Barney jr" and "Robin jr", you would think they have ruined the wedding where Ted meets the titular mother.

    The other story arc was pretty decent with a few laughs. The moment Marshal climbed the ladder, it was very obvious the kid was upto no good.

    The twist where the kids are imaginary and the news that Robin receives that she cannot have kids is pretty brutal and totally unexpected. Even Barney's uncertainty is very nicely handled. The last Christmas scene with Ted was pretty superb with Highway to Hell playing in the background and a really nice way to end the 2011's batch of How I Met Your Mother episodes. And remember what the older Ted says in the end, 'One thing Robin never was, she was Never Alone'. That's still opens the possibility that she might have kids and probably with some 'legend-daddy' as we hoped before this episode was aired.

  • I have to say, a bummer from last week's episode


    (Spoilers ahead)>

    We left off last week with Robin telling Barney she's pregnant. And we open this week with Robin talking to her kids and her telling Barney she hasn't slept with Kevin, so the baby's his. And it all kind of went downhill from there.

    Robin and Barney go to the doctor and the doctor tells Robin she's not pregnant, and then the doctor tells her later she can never get pregnant, and it turns out her "kids" she's been talking to the whole episode aren't real. She doesn't tell anybody in the gang because she knows how they'd react but Ted sets out to cheer her up anyway. At the very end, old Ted tells us even though she accomplishes a lot, Robin never becomes a mom.

    I thought this episode was a step down from last week because I got excited thinking about seeing Robin as a parent and it's sad in this episode we learn for sure she never will. Especially because Robin always talked about never wanting kids, it would be cool to see her have kids and what kind of mother she would be. And knowing for absolute sure she can't is a bit of a bummer. There is hope that Barney can still have kids with somebody.

    The B plot was pretty standard, Marshall tries to bond with a teenager in their new neighborhood and is duped and trapped on the roof of their new house. But overall, I just think it's sad Robin never gets to have kids.

  • Bittersweet Symphony... spoilers ahead


    The start of the episode was wonderful, Robin freaking out about having children (while telling her future children about it) and Barney being thrilled to be a father. Robin's reaction to Barney's happiness was hilarious. However, when confronted about what it is really like to be a parent, and husband, Barney wants back out, and is unsure as to how it would work. Robin goes to the doctor with Barney, and they discover that she is, in fact, not pregnant, and they do a happy dance. When Robin is discussing this with her future children, she continually apologizes.

    Robin goes back to the doctor the next day, or shortly thereafter, and finds out that she can never have children. She covers, but is disappointed. She never wanted children, but to be told that she never can surprisingly hurts her. With the gang, she covers, and says she can't be on the Canadian pole-vaulting team. Everyone does, to comfort her, what she imagined they would do when (if) she told them that she couldn't have children. Barney tries to tell jokes, Lily cries, Marshall tries to problem solve and Ted goes for comfort.

    When they go back to help Lily register for baby gifts, Robin is somewhat distraught, and Ted assumes she wishes she could go home for Christmas, so he buys her a ticket to join him. She declines, says all that she wants is to be alone, and that is isn't his job to comfort her. He says is it, they have a sweet disagreement about it, and she decides to go for a walk, when we find out that her future children, were never her future children. She gets home and Ted comforts her with a Christmas light display to AC/DC, and his voiceover to his kids mention that she never becomes a mother, but she is a successful reporter and much more.

    The secondary story of Marshall decorating and the kid taking over his house was a bit silly, but somewhat enjoyable. You got a glimpse of their new life, and how Marshall might be as a dad.

    The best part of this episode, to me, was the surprise that Barney and Robin don't have kids. I'm glad. The story was a great story, slightly sad, but not the worst thing ever. I would have been disappointed if Barney had been the father, and she had been pregnant. It would have ruined the surprise of the bride in the wedding that Barney is the groom. Now, we don't know. barney could meet someone new, maybe he works things out with Robin, who knows?! And that is part of the reason we all watch the show... for the surprise. Now... can we get a clue about the mother!!! PLEASE!

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