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‘How I Met Your Mother’ Review: “Coming Back”

How I Met Your Mother Final Season 9 Premiere Review Coming Back
CBS

How I Met Your Mother’ season 9 premieres its second episode of the final year “Coming Back,” as Robin struggles to keep a secret about James (Wayne Brady) from Barney, while Marshall competes against Daphne (Sherri Shepherd) for a way to New York and Ted finds himself pitied for his single room..

Previous ‘How I Met Your Mother’ premiere installment “The Locket” saw Lily realizing that Ted might sabotage Barney and Robin’s wedding, while Marshall got kicked off a flight back to New York, and Barney and Robin discovered a disturbing secret on their way to Farhampton, so how does the final season keep rolling down the aisle?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about the ‘How I Met Your Mother’ season 9 premiere’s second half, “Coming Back!”

Ted and Lily check into the Farhampton Inn, though the clerk Curtis (‘Revenge’s Roger Bart) repeatedly coddles Ted for being the only one at the wedding alone. Just then, Marshall calls Lily to explain his troubles booking a flight, sending Lily running to the bar, and paying off the bartender Linus to always keep a drink in her hand until her husband arrives. Marshall next informs Barney, who urges him to forget his Minnesota politeness and do whatever possible to make it to New York, though Marshall refuses, even after learning all flights are delayed, and he must race Daphne to the rental cars.

Marshall arrives to the rental office in a separate line far behind Daphne, though when Marshall prays for a miracle, a new clerk expediently rushes through the customers, awarding Marshall the last available car. To his horror, Marshall discovers that the car is a “Monstrosity” gas guzzler with no car-seat for Marvin, to which Daphne offers to pick one up, and return to pick up Marshall and his son. Marshall accepts, but later worries that Daphne has abandoned them.

Backing up a bit, Barney and his brother James tell Ted, Robin, and Lily the supposed “Stinson Curse” that an 1807 gypsy put on the men in the family remain forever horny, something Barney believes to have been broken by James’ marriage to his husband Tom. When Barney steps away for Marshall’s call however, James reveals that he and Tom will actually soon divorce, something Robin begs him not to tell Barney for fear it would shatter his confidence in marriage. Once Barney returns however, Lily drunkenly lets the divorce slip, sending Barney running for the front desk.

Robin catches up to Barney and assumes he wants to find the nearest strip club, though Barney corrects her that he needs the key to James’ room to remove an elaborate surprise he left for his brother, including a “Love is Awesome” banner, rose petals, and a giant erotic cake of James and Tom. Barney assures Robin that she alone makes him believe in true love, as they debate where to discard all the romantic paraphernalia.

Marshall finds his faith rewarded when Daphne returns with a car-seat after all, though she insists on choosing the music for the trip, and that Marshall pay the extravagant gas prices. Back at Farhampton, James tells Ted he’ll do his best to be happy for Barney despite his own apprehension about marriage, before Curtis shows James to his room. Ted remains alone at the bar table, as we see that one year down the line, Ted returned to that very table with the mother, having promised a year earlier to bring her back there.

Shortly thereafter, the present Ted fends off Curtis’ sympathies once more, finally heading upstairs to find his room filled with James and Tom’s erotic surprises.

Well, once again we find ourselves in something of an unfamiliar ‘HIMYM’ format that offers little perspective into the balance of the season at large, but for the time inherent manages to entertain. It seems as if the initial season 9 episodes will lend themselves to telling stories around the Farhampton setting, before future episodes craft more elaborate time jumps that return to the familiar locales, and potentially integrate the mother (Cristin Milioti) into the fivesome dynamic we’ve come to know.

At the very least, “Coming Back” offers up another adequately sweet affirmation for Robin and Barney’s impending nuptials, while Lily and Ted share their own entertainingly floating integrations into the narrative, and even Marshall’s antagonism with Daphne seems a bit less broad than before. Wayne Brady’s return as James ends up a bit steamrolled by Barney and Robin’s reaction to news of the divorce, or even the flat flashback to 1807 Moscow, though we know James to have more meaty involvement in the season to come.

Perhaps most important of all, “Coming Back” finally shows us our first real interaction between Ted and his bride-to-be, playing with the timeline to bring us the expectedly sweet relationship between Josh Radnor and Cristin Milioti far ahead of schedule. A necessary contrivance perhaps, to jump-start our affection for a pairing we’ve only heard about for eight years straight, but one that offers an encouraging start to be filled in over the next twenty some-odd episodes.

Well, what say you? Did the ‘How I Met Your Mother’s premiere’s latter half “Coming Back” sell you on the final season format?  What did you think about Ted and the mother in their first on-screen interaction? Give us your thoughts in the comments, and join us again next week for another all-new recap of ‘How I Met Your Mother’’s latest episode “Last Time in New York” on CBS!

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