(SPOILERS AHEAD, so proceed with caution, you Mother lovers!)
Season Nine, Episode Eight: “The Lighthouse”
Written by: Rachel Axler; Directed by: Pamela Fryman
It’s Sweeps Month, which means TV will be bringing out all the stops to get those ratings! And last night’s episode was definitely Sweeps-worthy. So much of this episode involved jokes and characters that were introduced in the preceding episodes, giving true fans of the show a rewarding experience. Sadly, the casual viewer will most definitely be lost if they tune in.
Saturday 9 a.m., 33 hours before the wedding.
We’ve made it to Saturday morning! At breakfast, Barney tries to calm down his mother, Loretta, who is still grieving the loss of her sequined shirt. He tells her to accept Robin as a daughter and move past her antagonistic feelings. Robin then shows up sporting the sequined shirt and basking in Loretta’s anger.
Ted must’ve been reading some Virginia Woolf during the night because, in this episode, he really wants to go to the lighthouse. But the morning attendant Curtis (from the beginning of the season) won’t let lonely, single Ted go to such a romantic spot. Lily gives him a drunk pep talk (Linus has been keeping her lubricated since she discovered that Marshall took the judgeship), telling him to stop holding out for the perfect woman and just enjoy any decent looking woman of a normal height. So…Ted returns to Cassie the crier.
Now in Ohio, Marshall and Daphne make a pit stop at Ted’s old home. His mother (Cristine Rose) and her husband Clint (Harry Groener) welcome them in, and she even gives Marshall some embarrassing paraphernalia from Ted’s childhood. Clint senses the animosity between Marshall and Daphne and sings an annoying song about conflict resolution.
As they eat, Loretta brags about how she makes the best scrambled eggs (She used to be the Queen of Scrambled Eggs). Robin scoffs and says that her mother’s scrambled eggs were way better. Loretta shows off her eggs and gets everyone around them to cheer her on for more eggs. Robin says even her eggs are better and they have a scramble-off. But with the pressure on, Robin confesses that she can’t cook eggs and that she can’t have children. (There’s surely a joke about Robin’s eggs to be made here, but that would be a little uncouth.)
Cassie reluctantly agrees to go with Ted to the lighthouse. On the way down the steps, though, she trips on a toy car and falls down to the bottom. Even with a sprained ankle, the two continue on. Ted carries her all the way to the top. But both are too exhausted and annoyed to enjoy the view.
As they leave Cleveland, Clint pops up in the backseat, prepared to give Marshall and Daphne a therapy session. They bicker back and forth with poor insults until they finally agree on one thing: that Clint is a loser. He freaks out, and they let him out of the car to meditate. As they wait, Daphne convinces Marshall to leave Clint on the side of the rode and continue on their trip. She tells him to stop worrying about making other people and happy and just focus on making himself happy. He does. Putting on his road trip song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” (from the episode “Arrivederci, Fiero”) to defy her.
Loretta is shocked that Barney and Robin won’t be having kids. But Barney tells her that children are not something he’s ever really wanted. We flashback to when Robin first told Barney that she couldn’t have children. In that moment, he gives her the sweetest hug you’ll ever see on television. They have not looked more like a perfect match than right in that moment. Loretta accepts the news and welcomes Robin into the family. And when Robin learns that her own mother won’t be coming to the wedding, Loretta hugs her, telling Robin to call her “mom.”
Ted tells Lily how disastrous his trip to the lighthouse was. She admits that she gave him some bad advice. Ted is beginning to lose hope in his romantic outlook on life. But then we flash-forward to two years later, when Ted returned there with the Mother. They have a cute moment before Ted proposes to her. And, of course, she says yes.
This was a very rewarding episode that was executed perfectly. They combined great moments of humor with more sentimental moments, without losing a beat. And with that great flash-forward at the end, the writers made sure this would be one of the more important episodes in the HIMYM canon.
Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…
Still mad about Marshall’s judgeship, Lily breaks the glass in her hand every time someone says lawyerly words like “court” or “judge.” This gag culminates in Linus taking too long to replace her drink. To which he replies, “We’re running out of glasses.”
Barney has officially ushered “drunch” (referring to drunk brunch) into mainstream vocabulary.
The recap of all the things we know about Robin’s mother was a great HIMYM gag.
“Just stop talking” – Cassie as Ted tries to wax poetic about the view from the lighthouse. (This was the only time where I felt Anna Camp truly shined, even if for half a second.)
The only problem with the lighthouse proposal scene was how fake the set looked. However, for a scene like that, they potentially filmed it on a closed set to prevent spoilers.
The tag with Clint getting left behind was unfunny if only slightly necessary.