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

How I Met Your Mother Review The Fortress
CBS

How I Met Your Mother’ season 8 loses its power with its nineteenth episode of the penultimate season “The Fortress,” as Barney has a difficult time letting go of his apartment when Robin urges him to get a new place, and Marshall grows resentful of Lily for spending so much time with her new job.

Weekend at Barney’s,” the last ‘How I Met Your Mother’ episode, saw Barney utilizing the surviving playbook to help Ted land a better girl than Jeanette (‘SNL‘s Abby Elliot), while Marshall did his best to avoid embarrassing Lily at an important art gallery, so what did tonight’s all-new episode bring?  Are we any closer to learning how the final years for Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall and Lily play out?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘How I Met Your Mother’ season 8 episode 19, “The Fortress!”

In the spring before their wedding, Barney and Robin finally get around to talking about a place to live after the wedding. Robin isn’t keen on Barney’s apartment, based on the variety of chauvinistic inventions he keeps around to ward off women, and Barney agrees to search for a new place. Elsewhere, Ted and Marshall feed their obsession with a posh British TV series called ‘Woodworthy Manor’ (COUGH, ‘Downton Abbey’), though Marshall admits he’s been missing out because each attempt to spend time watching with Lily is interrupted by the Captain calling Lily to another exotic piece of art.

Barney refuses to sell his apartment through a realtor, hoping instead to find someone worthy of bequeathing it to. He first turns to Ted, dramatizing the presentation of the apartment  as “The Fortress of Barnitude” with a Jor-El style hologram in the living room, but Ted quickly grows tired of the effect, and leaves the apartment. When Robin insists that Barney isn’t keeping up his end of the relationship, he pulls the switch on one of his devices to usher Robin out of the room.

The next day, Marshall prepares for a night out with Lily, but when Lily backs out at the last possible moment for work, Marshall reluctantly agrees to watch the latest episode of ‘Woodworthy Manor’ without his wife. Elsewhere, Barney returns to his apartment to find that Robin has an open house in progress, complete with an overdressed Lily, Marshall, and Ted pretending to be a ‘Woodworthy Manor’ character. Annoyed with Lily’s absence, Marshall pretends to be Ted’s husband to a prospective buyer, while Barney shows off his increasingly ridiculous inventions in the hopes of scaring off potential tenants. Suddenly, a hologram of Ted making out with one of the buyers appears, and Marshall balks at the betrayal.

Later at MacLaren’s Marshall continues to be upset with Ted and Lily, while Barney apologizes to Robin for attempting to sabotage the sale. Comparing the apartment to the ‘Superman’ movies, Barney explains that he’s finally chosen her a la ‘Superman II,’ but before he can Robin explains she decided not to sell the apartment, not wanting to change the man she fell in love with.

Back at the table, Lily turns down the Captain’s latest assignment to spend more time with Marshall, while Ted laments that he wants a real relationship of his own. When the girl from the apartment returns however, Ted puts back on his faux-British accent, and happily walks off with her. After the credits, the others try to get Robin and Barney to enjoy ‘Woodworthy Manor,’ but they utilize Barney’s kitchen escape chute to flee.

As the first installment of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ in several weeks, ‘The Fortress’ proves anything but impenetrable. A few jokes from the episode admittedly land, but lend more weight to the gimmicky, sitcom episodes of the series without any real payoff. It certainly seems like upcoming episodes will have some intriguing ground to cover as we head toward the Barney/Robin wedding, but “The Fortress” feels more like an attempt to wring as much time out of the remaining episodes as possible, putting Marshall/Lily and Robin/Barney through re-hashed conflict, even stepping on some old territory for Ted. After all, what happened to his decision not to date any more? All in all, not ‘HIMYM’s finest half-hour.

What say you? Did ‘How I Met Your Mother’s latest “The Fortress” stand tall, or crumble before your eyes?  Do you think it made for a solid entry to the penultimate season? Join us March 18 for an all-new episode recap of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ episode “Time Travelers” on CBS!

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