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‘How I Met Your Mother’ Review: “Sunrise”

How I Met Your Mother Sunrise Review
CBS

How I Met Your Mother’ season 9 recalls its 17th episode of the final year in “Sunrise,” as Ted and Robin come to grips with their relationships past and future, while a drunk Barney takes two young men under his wing.

Previous ‘How I Met Your Mother’ installment “How Your Mother Met Me” recounted the Mother (Cristin Miloti)’s exploits over the years that eventually led to the Farhampton Inn, and an inevitable date with destiny. So how does the latest episode keep the final season rolling down the aisle?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘How I Met Your Mother’ season 9 episode 17,  “Sunrise”!

After a failed party, two young men walk the Farhampton roads and stumble upon a drunk Barney, who vows to teach them how to live. Meanwhile, Ted remembers a lesson learned from a childhood friend (who turns out to be a balloon) that you never let go of something you love, as he walks the beaches with Robin in search of Barney. Robin remembers how Stella had left Ted at the altar, though Ted claims not to have spoken to her recently, despite having gone to Los Angeles to check her storage locker for Robin’s grandmother’s locket.

Back at the inn, Marshall begins to argue with a “Ghost Lily” who suggests he was about to lose their argument before bringing up her time in San Francisco, even conjuring up a 2006 Lily to support the point. Marshall insists that her leaving for San Francisco made him the saddest he’d ever been, before a vision of his father appears and scoffs, pointing out that he only brought it up to hurt Lily. Meanwhile, Barney leads the two men Justin and Kyle to a nearby strip club to impart his life lessons, stopping off for suits with Tim Gunn, and teaching the boys to talk to women at a party.

Robin and Ted next reminisce about Victoria, unaware that Ted discovered Victoria had Robin’s locket after all, and agreed to overnight it from Germany. Ted relays how he broke up with Victoria once again when she gave him an ultimatum about Robin, though when Robin questions if Ted will be able to remain a part of her life after she and Barney get married, Ted reveals his impending move to Cleveland. The conversation shifts to Ted’s worst New York relationships, as Ted remembers how his crazy ex Jeanette intercepted the locket from Ted’s mail, and reluctantly agreed to return it at a meeting in Central park.

Marshall’s vision of Lily admits that their family remaining in New York ultimately makes more sense than moving to Rome for a year, though she warns that if Marshall continues to treat arguments in his marriage with a sense of winning and losing, their relationship will eventually fall apart. Elsewhere, the sun rises on the beach as Ted and Robin take hands one last time, Ted remembering how Jeanette had ultimately tossed the locket into Central Park waters, despite his pleas that his love for Robin meant never giving up on anything that might make her happy, even at his expense.

Barney imparts a few last lessons to the boys, particularly that none of their exploits would be as legendary without friends to witness them, before he hands over a scribbled together version of his infamous playbook. Meanwhile, the real Lily returns to Marshall and agrees to stay in New York. Finally, Ted decides he needs to let Robin go, before she floats away like his childhood balloon.

OUR REVIEW:

The Ted and Robin pairing has been no one’s favorite dynamic since the series’ inception, as for all the chemistry between Cobie Smulders and Josh Radnor, the series very pilot expelled the notion that Robin would turn out to be the mother, making the relationship all the more grating when it stole focus in the latter years. But as it’s the final season , and especially because there’s so few episodes remaining, a bit of cleanup and loop-closing is required to bring ‘How I Met Your Mother’ to a conclusive end.

And to its credit, “Sunrise” plays like a greatest hits reel of Ted’s lovelife, bringing back some of the more memorable exes of recent years (save Jennifer Morrison’s Zoe, whose mixed fan response usually ranks the character in both the top and bottom 5 ), all in service of clearing out a few lingering questions, and finally letting go of an aspect so intrinsically tied to the early years. It’s ultimately a sweet story, carrying with it the burden of laying cards on the table between Ted and Robin, though those among the fanbase hoping at last for an end to the relationship will wade through it somewhat begrudgingly.

Of course, the narrative’s temporal flux makes the entire outing an odd thing to consider, given that we’ve already seen Robin, Ted and Barney have second thoughts closer to the final hours of the wedding, which itself becomes moot when Ted finally meets and falls in love with the Mother (unfortunately, if understandably absent after last week). That said, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ always seems to be written from that very corner, so we do our best to keep past and present sentiments in a timely sync.

On the other side of the story, the dramatic push of Marshall and Lily’s blowout seems to have largely given way, petering out beyond any real sense of a resolution to the conflict (or an answer to the mystery of who picked up Lily, which we’ll presume to be Ranjit, but why hide it?). The interaction of past and present Lilys with a brief return of Bill Fagerbakke as Marshall’s dad made for a fun way through which Marshall could explore his argumentative missteps, though the real Lily’s return and subsequent acceptance of her deferred dream seemed a bit more one-sided than the initial argument had led us to believe. Short shrift in service of a succinct story, we suppose.

Oh, and Barney staggered throughout Farhampton with BriTANicK‘s Brian McElhaney and Nick Kocher, though little seems to have come of it beyond a repeat appearance for Tim Gunn, and a brief sentiment from Barney about the importance of friendship. The comedic chops of all three performers not withstanding, even “C-story” feels a bit too generous a moniker.

All in all, ‘How I Met Your Mother”s 2014 hot streak remains largely unimpeded, though heading into the wee morning hours of the big wedding day, a few installments were bound for a bit of obligatory wrap-up and table-setting.

Well, what say you? Did ‘How I Met Your Mother’’s latest installment, “Sunrise,” warm your heart to the final season? Has the Ted and Robin love story finally been put to bed? Give us your thoughts in the comments, and join us again February 24 for another all-new recap of ‘How I Met Your Mother’’s latest episode, “Rally” on CBS!

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