Season Nine, Episode Five
From the first scene of Marshall describing the mouth-watering pizza to Daphne while they continue their road trip, to the end scene where Robin and Loretta declare all out war against each other, “The Poker Game” was a great half hour for How I Met Your Mother. It’s the sort of quick-cut, flashback-heavy episode that never leaves you without a smile on your face.
We’re still 48 hours away from the wedding and Lily is foaming at the mouth from Ted’s plan to give Barney and Robin not one, not two, but three wedding gifts! All because Ted never gave a wedding gift to Marshall and Lily, no matter how many hints Marshall dropped to Ted in the past. When Marshall finally confronts Ted, he claims he gave them a great wedding gift: a coffeemaker, one-tier-down model of his favorite coffeehouse. The argument gets flipped upside-down when Ted accuses Marshall and Lily of never sending them a thank you note for his wedding gift.
Meanwhile, Robin gets sick of James making fun of the marriage and takes it into her own hands when Barney refuses to stand up for her. She ends up winning James’ wedding ring in a hand of poker, but this causes Mama Stinson to step in to defend her son, resulting in her losing her sequin dress to another poker hand. After a brief tug-of-war with Barney in-between Robin and his family, he completely cuts off James and his mom, saying his family means nothing to him since he now has Robin. The kicker is that he throws Robin under the bus saying this all came from her. It’s not the funnier half of the episode, but it sure sets up a nice future-encounter between the two most important women in Barney’s life.
Back to the mystery of who sent Marshall and Lily the coffee maker, the culprit happens to be Stuart, who has become a real sleaze-bag (but in a funny way). Ted finally makes everything right by delivering Marshall’s favorite Chicago pizza pie right to their car.
While this is another episode we don’t see Cristin Milioti, it contains all the silly jokes we love about How I Met Your Mother. It’s another throw-away episode, but it’s a better episode than last week. I do expect a more serious episode in the very near future, one that might focus on Ted and Robin as the wedding inches closer and closer. But for now, I’m going to go grab myself a pizza!
Last but not least:
- Ted’s first wedding gift to Barney and Robin is a framed photo of the gang at the bar.
- Marshall never forgets to write thank you notes because his family has a saying, “Lick it before you stick it.” It being the stamp on the thank you note, before you stick it in the mailbox.
- Ted never forgets to send wedding gifts to his friends because his family has a saying, “Wrap it before you tap it.” Wrap the gift before you tap the person on the shoulder and say, “Here’s your gift!” These were my two favorite jokes of the episode.
- The Stinsons always use the word “bluff” when they’re bluffing: “Should we get some bluffalo wings?” “I saw an all you can eat bluff-et.” “I could use a bluffberry muffin, a blueberry bluffin, a bluebluffy bluffmuff, all in!”