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

How I Met Your Mother The Lighthouse Review
CBS

How I Met Your Mother’ season 9 recalls its eighth episode of the final year, “The Lighthouse,” as the competition between Robin and Barney’s mother reaches a fever pitch, while Ted attempts to take Cassie (‘True Blood”s Anna Camp) to a romantic view, and Marshall finds himself burned with Ted’s stepfather Clint.

Last week’s ‘How I Met Your Mother’ installment “No Questions Asked” saw Marshall tasking Ted, Robin and Barney with retrieving Lily’s phone before she could find the incriminating text about his judgeship, while Barney and Robin worried about their inability to work together in marriage, 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 8, “The Lighthouse!”

33 hours before the wedding, Barney attempts to mediate the conflict between Robin and his mother Loretta (‘American Horror Story”s Frances Conroy) at breakfast, though Robin antagonizes Loretta by wearing the blouse she’d won from her in “The Poker Game.” Lily shows up, repeatedly breaking her drinking glasses at every mention of court-related words, before Barney praises his mother’s scrambled eggs. Robin asserts that her own mother makes them far better (one of the few facts known about the woman), ending up in a “scramble-off” with Loretta that quickly attracts the attention of the entire hotel.

Elsewhere, Ted continually attempts to visit a nearby Farhampton lighthouse, though Curtis refuses to give him directions, afraid how a single person might react to the romantic view. Lily urges Ted to suck it up and get involved with Cassie (admitting it later to be horrible advice), after which Ted and Cassie begrudgingly ignore their personal differences to take on the romantic endeavor. Meanwhile, Marshall and Daphne remain at odds during an overnight stay at Ted’s parents, for which Ted’s stepfather Clint secretly hitches a ride with them and annoyingly attempts to mediate their conflict.

Robin soon learns that her mother has been delayed to the wedding, while the others rave about Loretta’s eggs. Loretta questions what breakfast Robin will be able to serve her kids, before Robin informs her that she can’t have children, a fact Barney himself had learned a year prior, before the two got back together. Meanwhile, Cassie fails to appreciate Ted’s love of the lighthouse, and Clint quickly becomes aggravated by his inability to succeed at any occupation, in particular mediating people’s troubles through song.

While Barney explains to his mother that he intends to marry Robin for love over the future promise of children, Daphne offers Marshall a bit of advice as they begrudgingly wait for Clint to finish some roadside meditation. Daphne points out that self-centered people of the world always push around the more empathic people like Marshall, causing Marshall to finally lose his cool and drive off, scolding Daphne for “throwing a live grenade” into his marriage, and forcing her to enjoy his choice of road trip music, the all-too-familiar “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).”

Lily urges Robin not to let Loretta get to her, but Robin reveals that her own mother will miss the wedding, having been too afraid to get on the plane. Loretta quickly arrives and offers her sympathies in looking to make peace, insisting Robin call her “mom” in the future, for which Robin submits to a tender hug. Afterward, Ted laments to Lily that he wasted such a beautiful lighthouse view on a girl like Cassie, not yet knowing that two years’ time would see Ted returning to the spot with the Mother, and finally proposing to her.

After the credits, Cling emerges from his meditation to find that Marshall and Daphne have long since left him behind.

OUR REVIEW:

Let’s face it, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ needed a win tonight, what with the abysmal run of the past few episodes sending even the series’ more adoring critics into disbelief the heart-warming CBS comedy could have fallen so far, a prospect compounded by the announcement of a potential spinoff, eye-rollingly titled ‘How I Met Your Father.’ So, did “The Lighthouse” guide the way?

More or less. Part of the problem inherent to the final season format staging the majority of action in time leading up to the wedding lies in the filler episodes, which could easily coast in previous years on the frenetic pace of humor alone, but whose storytellling gaps become paper-thin with such an implausible limitation to the narrative. “The Lighthouse” very nearly fell into the same trap, its promos touting the highlight of the action as a scrambled egg competition (oy) between Robin and Barney’s mother, but as in better episodes, the broader material gives way to a more emotional revelation.

Among the myriad of plot threads still unresolved by the series, it was good to work Barney’s knowledge of Robin’s infertility into such a jarringly emotional moment, as the previous season hadn’t actually made clear if Robin ever told Barney about her condition. Having Barney’s love for Robin carry him past the prospect of potential future grandchildren (and to boot, before their relationship even resumed) made for a much stronger Robin-Barney story than the minor quibbles in recent weeks, teasing the revelation of Robin’s own mother in the season to come.

It was nice to see the mother again as well, even if the character’s return made it fairly predictable “The Lighthouse” would one-up its previous Farhampton flash-forward with a proposal, so we’ll hope beyond hope the writers find a better means to integrate the character than the occasional milestone with Future Ted. The return of Ted’s parents also made for a welcome bit of guest-casting, though Marshall’s role in the final season would still be better served by his rejoining of the gang, rather than whatever his latest revelation with Daphne brings.

Certainly a much more fulfilling episode than in recent weeks, though ‘How I Met Your Mother’ will need more than the occasional triple to make its final season a winning game.

Well, what say you? Did ‘How I Met Your Mother’’s latest “The Lighthouse” warm your heart to the final season format?  What did you think about the mother’s latest appearance? 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 “Platonish” on CBS, featuring the return of ‘Breaking Bad‘ star Bryan Cranston!

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