‘How I Met Your Mother’ Breakdown: ‘The Locket’

How I Met Your Mother

(SPOILERS AHEAD, HIMYM freaks!)

Season Nine, Episode One: “The Locket”

Written by: Carter Bays & Craig Thomas, Directed by: Pamela Fryman

It’s here! The final season of How I Met Your Mother! And now that we know who The Mother is, we’ll have a full season of her bumping into all of the characters at the wedding (ending with Ted, of course). Speaking of the wedding, this will also be television’s longest wedding (EVER!). For the last two seasons, they have been slowly revealing moments from this wedding. And now for this final season, we will follow the 55 hours leading up to the wedding and then, maybe, someone will be married.

Quick Breakdown

Friday 11 a.m., 55 hours before the wedding.

We left off with all the characters (including The Mother) scattered around, scrambling to get to Farhampton for the wedding.

Ted is driving Lily and being his usual obnoxious self. He puts on his driving gloves and hands Lily a giant binder labeled “Lil & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (a funny shout out to the 1989 film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) – full of minutiae about Long Island and the “sights” to check out on their trip from Manhattan to Farhampton. Lily gets annoyed, like really annoyed.

Barney and Robin are riding in their limo (driven by Ranjit), discussing wedding plans. A joke about a ring bear – “You mean ‘ring bearer,’ RIGHT?” Robin anxiously asks – gets overused before a bigger issue arises. As they count up their wild card family members who may ruin the wedding, Barney and Robin realize they share a cousin Mitch. Could they be related?

Marshall is on a plane to New York (with lifeless baby Marvin in his lap), sitting next to guest star Sherri Shepherd. His mother posts a photo of Marshall “being a JUDGE” online, and he freaks out about Lily seeing the photo. (She gets the alert on her phone but chooses to ignore the photo, assuming it’s another passive aggressive picture about their impending move to Italy.) Instead of just calling Lily and telling her about his new job as a judge, he calls his mother to get her to take the photo down. Unfortunately, she is inept at “the online” and can’t delete the photo.

Lily gets so annoyed with Ted that she makes him drop her off at the train station. After a callback joke about drunk people on the train (Remember that season where they commuted to Long Island every episode?), Lily resignedly settles into a seat adjacent to none other than the Mother.

Barney and Robin make a lot of icky faces as they deny that they share DNA. They call all their relatives to get to the bottom of it. This entire bit feels like lazy writing. We know they won’t turn out to be actually related (Robin’s grandmother informs them that he was adopted on her side of the family). It comes off as a forced conflict to give them something to do in the limo. Hopefully this kind of stalled storytelling doesn’t become a recurring pattern in this season.

The flight attendant yells at Marshall to get off of his phone. Sherri Shepherd yells at Marshall to get off of his phone. Marshall yells at his mother to “just click OPTIONS!” Naturally, they get kicked off the flight.

Lily sits on the train, fuming about Ted and the unseen photo of baby Marvin. She mumbles some of her internal dialogue aloud. The Mother overhears “lonely” and “unicorn” and offers her a cookie to calm her nerves. “And that’s how Lily met your mother,” Future Ted tells us.

Soon Lily and The Mother (How long until she has a name?) bond as Lily bitches about Ted’s mannerisms, which The Mother secretly shares (you know, since she and Ted are soulmates). As she vents, Lily realizes that Ted was being obnoxious on purpose, wanting her to separate from him. The reason? Robin’s locket.

Last season, Robin went searching for that special locket and couldn’t find it. Ted thought he knew where it was, but didn’t. Then he realized that his ex Stella might have it. Lily suspects that Ted flew to L.A. to get the locket back and intends on giving it to Robin. Now she desperately needs to get to Farhampton before him, so she can stop him.

As they wait for the next flight, Sherri Shepherd continues to clash with Marshall. He’s online trying to delete the photo as she ironically yells “just click OPTIONS” at him – the joke is that there is no “options” button available. As everyone crowds around them, giving input, Marshall gives up on ever deleting it, resigning himself to the biggest fight he’ll ever have with Lily. Then baby Marvin comes to life, hits the keyboard, and makes the photo disappear (just as Lily clicks on the photo link on her phone).

With that crisis averted, we learn that there is only one more flight to New York and that there is only one seat available. Marshall and Sherri Shepherd give each other determined looks and then race off to the other flight, which is waiting on the completely opposite side of the airport.

Ted arrives at the Farhampton Inn, beautifully wrapped box in hand. Lily arrives right behind him and tackles him as he greets Robin. Despite the tackle (which won’t be the last one she does this season) Ted gives Robin the gift. But it’s not the locket. The gift is a photo of the gang from season one (the same photo used in the opening credits). Just a sentimental memento, not an emotional bomb.

Lily pulls Ted to the side and makes him promise not to do anything crazy during this wedding. He honestly agrees, but we (and Future Ted) know that he’ll break that promise.

The episode ends with a flashback to four days earlier with Ted at an airport, buying a ticket to LA. Looks like that locket might show up after all.

Rating

C+

This was a pretty weak season premiere. None of the gags managed to elicit a laugh from me, and the story feels like it’s going in circles. I was apprehensive of this season’s format – essentially the sitcom form of 24 – and it seems my fears were well placed. I don’t expect this season to really pick up until the second half.

Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…

Have you noticed how often Lily says the word “bitch?”

The Game of Thrones joke was the only amusing thing to come of Barney and Robin’s incest story. And, of course, Barney is Team Joffrey.

Wayne Brady made an appearance singing “Islands in the Stream” dressed on one half like Kenny Rogers and on the other half like Dolly Parton.

Cristin Milioti was fairly charming as the Mother, but I’ll definitely need some time for her to grow on me.

“Islands in the Stream” is still stuck in my head.

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