'How I Met Your Mother' Review: "Vesuvius"

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CBS

How I Met Your Mother’ season 9 recalls its 19th episode of the final year in “Vesuvius,” as the Ted helps Barney pick a suit for the big day, while Lily tries to appeal to Robin's sentiments for her big day, and a future twist may well explain the Mother's ultimate fate.

Previous ‘How I Met Your Mother’ installment “Rally” saw gang attempting to replicate Barney’s hangover cure in time for his wedding photos, coming to an important realization along the way. 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 19,  “Vesuvius”!

In the year 2024, Ted and the Mother enjoy a weekend away from the kids at the Farhampton inn, realizing that they know almost all of one another’s stories, and high-fiving their evolution into an old married couple. Curtis greets them, reminding them of a lamp Barney and Robin broke back in the past, a story Ted realizes his wife has yet to hear.

Robin breaks a lamp playing some pre-wedding hockey with her sister, before Lily interrupts to show Robin a scrapbook of her relationship with Barney. Meanwhile, Ted finds Barney going into a mysterious room, and is forced to bribe Curtis into revealing that the room is registered to a “Sue Tupp.” Ted mistakes the reference for Barney cheating with another woman, busting in to find Barney in a room full of his suits, and apparently unable to decide on one for the wedding.

Robin continually expresses her disinterest with Lily’s scrapbook, instead flipping on a pay-per-view of “The Wedding Bride Too.” A while later, Marshall assures Lily that Robin will have her moment to begin freaking out about the wedding, before finding himself similarly distracted by the movie. In the future, the Mother explains to Curtis how Ted had been the inspiration behind the franchise (now a Broadway smash), while Ted reveals he asked the gang never to watch the sequel, something they all did anyway.

Back in the present, Barney explains to Ted that Tim Gunn had made him a suit specifically for the wedding, though Barney found it ill-fitting and itchy. Ted shoots down all of Barney’s backup suits given their varied sexual histories, while the rest of the gang congregates to watch the movie. Marshall enjoys the Ted parody until Jon Heder shows up as his friend “Narshall,” while Robin remains unmoved by a visit from her grandmother to share wedding stories. Lily protests that Robin doesn’t care enough about her own wedding, donning her own wedding gown to rile Robin up, at which point the future Mother remembers that she had heard this story before.

While Robin insists Lily’s behavior doesn’t bother her, Ted has Barney try on Gunn’s suit again, having realized that all of Barney’s issues with the outfit came from nerves. Ted urges Barney to picture Robin walking down the aisle, before the two begin their new lives together, leading Barney to realize that the suit fits perfectly after all.

A while later, Ted and Barney join the others in Robin’s room, during which Ted realizes that everyone knows about his impending move to Chicago, making the wedding the last opportunity they’ll all have to be together for the foreseeable future. Later still, Lily accepts that Robin lacks the sentiment to get choked up about the wedding, as Robin herself goes into the hall to get some ice, and encounters her own mother (Tracy Ullman), who came to the ceremony after all.

Back in the future, the Mother expresses her doubt that any mother would have missed her daughter’s wedding, something that moves Ted to tears. The mother quickly changes the subject, and the pair continue telling stories about the past.

OUR REVIEW:

Well, that’s certainly a  wrinkle to throw into the last four episodes of the series, no? Granted, series creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas may simply have attempted to fake out fans and conspiracy theorists posing the “mother is dead” theory for years now, but unless we’re in for a major cop-out, Future Ted’s reaction to his wife’s suggestion that a mother wouldn’t miss her daughter’s wedding paints a grim portrait what might have made Ted nostalgic for the past all those years.

Of course, with only three episodes remaining in the series, and plenty of time with which to take said twist in any number of directions, we’ll stick a pin in that for now. Dawn has broken on the big day at last, and where last week’s “Rally” took a lighter approach to settling things back in for the final run, “Vesuvius” falls a bit short of the mark with a similar approach. By this point, we have a strong enough sense of the future (including hours closer to the wedding itself) that few conflicts between the gang have any real room to resonate, taking a bit of the air out of Lily’s petulant insistence that Robin should have more emotion about her wedding.

The opposite proves true for Barney and Ted however, as Ted realizes Barney’s panic about the suits has little to do with the clothes themselves, but the idea isn’t developed with enough specificity to show precisely what Barney frets about the big day, particularly given we know him to have a similar conflict with Marshall and Lily later in the day. If anything, “Vesuvius” takes the opportunity for a bit of extended nostalgia, flashing back to some of Ted’s past stories and “Wedding Bride” history, or tossing in Robin’s sister as a throwaway cameo, clearly wanting to save the appearance of Robin’s mother for a subsequent installment.

The ideas are all there, but come off a bit half-formed under the increasingly claustrophobic narrative structure, even ending up somewhat overshadowed by the implications of Future Ted’s breakdown. We’re a bit late in the game to pull punches as “Vesuvius” seems to do, but hopefully the final weeks will shake off any lingering sense of modesty, and perhaps trade its self-congratulatory nostalgia for the more immediate developments we’ve been anticipating for years.

Well, what say you? Did ‘How I Met Your Mother’’s latest installment, “Vesuvius,” warm your heart to the final season? What do you think brought Ted and the mother to tears in the future? Give us your thoughts in the comments, and join us again next Monday for another all-new recap of ‘How I Met Your Mother’’s latest episode, “Daisy” on CBS!

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