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‘How I Met Your Mother’ Review: “The Broken Code”

How I Met Your Mother The Broken Code
CBS

How I Met Your Mother’ season 9 offers its fourth episode of the final year, “The Broken Code,” as Barney and Ted sort out Ted’s lingering feelings for Robin, while Lily attempts to find Robin a female friend besides herself. .

Last week’s ‘How I Met Your Mother’ installment “Last Time in New York” saw Lily arguing with Ted over his impending move to Chicago, while Barney and Robin fled their elderly relatives, and Marshall and Daphne (Sherri Shepherd) drove through Wisconsin, 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 4, “The Broken Code!”

Barney admits to having seen Ted and Robin at the Central Park carousel, though Ted insists he only held Robin’s hand in a moment of comfort, something Barney tacitly accepts. Later, Lily sets up her “Marshpillow” with a laggy Facetime stream to join the gang, before Robin calls Lily out for previously forgetting to invite all of her girlfriends to her bachelorette party (save for Patrice). Cornered, Lily admits that Robin actually has no girlfriends, and has trouble getting along with any other women.

Meanwhile, Ted has been a model best man, arranging Barney’s bachelor poker game, happily utilizing his calligraphy skills to write and rewrite all the table cards, and fulfilling Barney’s every imposing request. When Ted sees, however, that the poker game had started without him, and that William Zabka has replaced him as best man, Ted realizes that Barney was upset with him after all for “breaking the Bro Code.”

Not wanting to be Robin’s only female friend before she moves to Rome, Lily sets about coaching Robin to approach other women in a friendly manner. Meanwhile, Ted points out to Barney that he technically didn’t violate the Bro Code, for which the pair enlist Marshall to act as judge. Marshall insists they test the moment to prove whether or not Ted’s actions with Robin were weird, sending Ted and Barney to hold hands on the beach.

Having antagonized most of the women in the hotel bar, Robin follows Lily’s advice to go after a crying girl, finding that the girl was actually upset about a hockey game, and shares many of Robin’s interests. Meanwhile, Ted follows Marshall’s instructions to comfort Barney, and Barney admits in return that he’d been upset about letting Robin down, not that Ted had comforted her. When pressed to admit whether or not he still has feelings for Robin however, Ted can’t entirely deny it.

Lily sees Robin hitting it off with her new friend, but ultimately realizes the two might become closer in the future than she and Robin had. Lily jealously shoos the girl away after Robin leaves, though Robin manages to catch the tail end, and expresses relief that she only needs the “psycho” Lily as her female friend. Outside, Ted apologizes to Barney that he can’t entirely turn his feelings for Robin off, but swears on the Bro Code that he’ll never come between them.

Afterward, the bachelor gang continues the poker game as Marshall bests Ranjit, and Barney returns best man duties to Ted, leading Billy Zabka to swear revenge.

A curious thing happened, why not, over the course of viewing tonight’s ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ in which a lapse in our concentration led us to realize that the story would naturally turn to the mother as Robin’s female friend. It fit the setup perfectly, bringing another of the inner circle to meet the final season’s guest of honor, another link in the chain from an otherwise flat episode. And yet…nothing. Perhaps the idea of Robin’s difficulty with women could merit further mention down the road, and there provide a proper opportunity for Robin to meet the mother, but why not tonight? What have we learned from this dead-ended train of thought?

‘How I Met Your Mother’s writing staff most always manage to bring the charm and heart within the episodes that matter, but setting the majority of the final season in a solitary location within a confined period of time will make filler episodes far more apparent. Not only have we gone two weeks beyond the premiere without an appearance from the series’ most arguably important addition, but all manner of logistical questions begin to rise to the surface: Have all of Barney and Robin’s unnamed relatives put themselves down for a nap? Should we presume them still preoccupied with badgering an offscreen James? Did we really spend an entire episode with Barney and Ted barely resolving a “weird” moment, while Robin and Lily similarly discarded their own narratives by the end?

We allotted a great deal of faith to the notion that the ‘HIMYM’ staff would find ways to expand beyond the “wedding weekend” format, and plausibly integrate the title character into the group in a meaningful manner, but “The Broken Code,” more than anything, gives us cause for concern the story may stumble all the way to the finish line.

Well, what say you? Did ‘How I Met Your Mother’’s latest “The Broken Code” sell you on the final season format?  What did you think about Barney and Ted’s bro-down? 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 Poker Game” on CBS!

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