'How I Met Your Mother' Review: "Last Time in New York"

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CBS

How I Met Your Mother’ season 9 offers its third episode of the final year “Last Time in New York,” as Lily argues with Ted over his impending move to Chicago, while Barney and Robin flee their elderly relatives, and Marshall and Daphne (Sherri Shepherd) drive through Wisconsin.

Last week's ‘How I Met Your Mother’ premiere installment “Coming Back” saw Robin struggling to keep a secret about James (Wayne Brady) from Barney, while Marshall competed against Daphne for a way to New York and Ted found himself pitied for his single room, 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 episode 3, “Last Time in New York!”

Robin and Barney’s update on wedding plans is quickly interrupted by the sound of their arriving elderly relatives, leading them to worry they’ll one day end up just as bitter and sexless. Elsewhere, Lily checks in with Marshall and Daphne from their road trip, as Marshall obsessively sports Minnesota Vikings colors while driving through the Packers’ Wisconsin, and Lily laments the loss of her rehearsal dinner dress by drunk dry cleaners weeks earlier.

Lily snatches a paper from Ted, believing it to be his rehearsal toast, instead finding it to be a list of things he wants to do for the last time before leaving New York. Lily accuses him of avoiding the inevitable moving conversations with Barney and Robin, though Ted protests their wedding wouldn’t be the right time. Meanwhile, Barney and Robin look for a forbidden place to have sex one last time, only to be confronted by “the walking old” at seemingly every turn.

Lily finds one of Ted’s list items to be a confession about April 26, which Ted reveals to be Marshall and he once again playing with their ‘Princess Bride’ swords too enthusiastically, accidentally ruining Lily’s rehearsal dress. As penance, Lily forces Ted to wear an old-timey bathing suit he’d pointed out on display earlier, similarly forcing Marshall to wear Packers gear on his trip through Wisconsin. Upstairs, Barney and Robin go to hide in the ice machine room, finding James already in there hiding himself.

Lily points out that Ted also has a scotch with Barney itemized, but not yet crossed off, for which Ted reveals his and Marshall’s $600 bottle of fancy scotch. Lily remembers that back in 2005, she and Robin similarly became overenthusiastic in their sword-fighting, accidentally destroying the bottle, and filling a replica with cheap whiskey, chocolate syrup, hand sanitizer and more to match the color. Ted sneaks a taste from the bottle, but doesn’t seem to notice anything wrong with it.

Upstairs, James explains that he hid from their elder relatives for fear of being mobbed about his race, sexual preference and impending divorce, but soon sees that Barney and Robin are similarly worried about losing the spark in their marriage. James volunteers to surrender himself to the elderly to give the nervous couple the room, and Barney and Robin watch him slowly enveloped by the elderly crowd. Barney and Robin part ways to meet up in the computer lounge, but Robin finds herself distracted by Ted’s bathing suit and the list on the table, which Lily reluctantly takes credit for. Robin interprets the “April 26” line to mean Lily already told Ted about their incident with the scotch bottle, revealing it to him in the process.

A short while later, Barney and Robin reunite upstairs and finally find a room, but soon find Robin’s great grandparents already using it for the same purpose. Both swear off sex for the future, but Robin soon realizes that they’d rather be the disgusting couple still having sex in 60 years, and both invite their older relatives to finally swarm them as well.

Lily returns to the bar with a replacement bottle of scotch for Ted, admitting that Barney and Robin’s wedding must be hard on him to need to leave New York so badly. Ted admits to avoiding the scotch with Barney a bit, to which Lily points out that he shouldn’t check off lists of good things to leave behind, but rather say goodbye to all the bad times and heartaches that took place in New York. Ted smiles, having wanted at least one last life lecture from Lily, before finding Barney outside on the deck to have their scotch. The only problem: Barney admits to having seen Ted and Robin’s moment at the Central Park carousel, causing Ted to drop the bottle.

You know, we'd seen the idea floated around a bit in other reviews and discussions of last week's 'How I Met Your Mother' premiere that knowing the current episodes to represent the final season, and having a face to associate with the mother have proven a huge relief to the aging CBS series, something that tonight feels especially true. The mother herself has no appearance within "Last Time in New York," and we only spend the briefiest of flashbacks within the classic MacLaren's, yet the series has a certain freshness about it again, a lighter air. The jokes, the wordplay (anal jokes, classy!), and the broader comedy feel less weighted by our pressing need for closure, thereby lifting entire episodes at a time.

So while "Last Time in New York" offers up a hearty does of pop culture reference in repeated zombie movie tropes and 'Princess Bride' invocations, at its center lies a much more honest realization between Ted and Lily, that Ted might need some time away after all. Naturally, the reveal that Barney somehow observed his rain-soaked moment with Robin in the park, compounded by our eventual knowledge that Ted will find happiness after all does manage to suck some of the air out of the moment, but the larger point remains. 'How I Met Your Mother' has managed to make the journey fun again, and for that we'll still gladly follow to see what comes next.

Well, what say you? Did ‘How I Met Your Mother'’s latest “Last Time in New York” sell you on the final season format?  What did you think about Barney's big bombshell? 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 “The Broken Code” on CBS!

http://youtu.be/zFoi39S9p8k

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