We returned after almost an entire month off from Ted Mosby and company with the best episode of the eighth season. While the commercials made it seem like it was going to be a stand-alone episode where Barney goes on his womanizing shenanigans with a new “bro,” this episode had a lot of aspects that reminded me why I used to love this show so much.
The episode separates our group into two story-lines. First, Marshall and Lily are spending time with Ted telling him how Victoria has been dropping hints that she wants a commitment from Ted. Once Ted realizes they’re right, he proposes to her. If this wasn’t what you would expect from Ted to begin with, it’s definitely one of the themes explored during the episode. Ted is very quick to react, even when it’s something as big as proposing to someone, but he doesn’t put the all-around thought in the process.
Meanwhile, Barney has picked up a new wing-man in a dog he befriends and soon after names Brover. When Robin sees this, she becomes deeply concerned that his breakup with Quinn has hit him harder than she initially thought. Her boyfriend, Nick, agrees to have dinner with Robin and Barney to help him out, but during dinner Barney finds out Brover’s owner is claiming him back. Barney takes the news hard and Robin leaves dinner to be there for Barney when he says goodbye to the best wing-man he’s ever had.
What made this episode feel like it was one of the earlier HIMYM episodes was the commentary on relationships through the characters, excluding Marshall and Lily of course. Victoria will only accept Ted’s proposal if he agrees to never see Robin again (ahem, sounds like a Ross-Rachel-Emily moment, huh?). One of my complaints about the episode is how quickly it’s resolved. This is a dilemma that HIMYM could’ve played with for an episode or two, but after Ted thinks about it with Marshall and Lily for a scene, he’s made up his mind.
On the other hand, the dilemma that Nick is dealing with involving Robin and her close, male friends is just as engaging (if we would spend any time with Nick instead of making him a cartoon boyfriend with his own ridiculous cooking show). She’s always going to try and be there for Ted and Barney, two guys whom she has dated before. Right now, it seems to me that Nick is the most understanding guy (albeit naive) on the show, while Victoria was the most realistic. She forced Ted to choose because if she accepted his proposal, she knew she couldn’t have any doubts, which Robin presented.
While I didn’t particularly care for the way the episode portrayed Ted’s decision with a sneaky bait-and-switch from Robin to Victoria, the message was still spot-on. Just like Ross in Friends, Ted wasn’t able to let go of being Robin’s friend. When it came down to it, even though he doubts Robin could ever fall in love with him, he simply couldn’t vision his life without her in it.