(SPOILERS AHEAD, so proceed with caution, you Mother lovers!)
Season Nine, Episode 13: “Bass Player Wanted”
Written by: Carter Bays & Craig Thomas; Directed by: Pamela Fryman
Marshall’s trek to the wedding comes to a close this week when he receives help from a surprising source. Meanwhile, this week’s surprise Broadway guest star pops up to create drama amongst the gang. Overall, How I Met Your Mother delivers one of the better Fall Finale’s I’ve seen so far.
Saturday 10 p.m., 20 hours before the wedding.
Marshall has given up waiting for the bus to get repaired and starts walking to the Farhampton Inn. It seems like a good idea for a hot second, but the trek quickly becomes exhausting and interminable (especially while carrying a baby). A mysterious lady shows up with a van, very eager to give him a ride. That lady is none other than The Mother. She freaks Marshall out by pretending to be psychic, “guessing” how he came to be stuck on the side of the road, but she quickly confesses that she’s met and talked with Lily, and that’s how she has the inside scoop.
At the Inn bar, the gang is lamenting the loss of the McKenna scotch (again) and the lack of Marshall. Barney declares himself Team Marshall and heads to the bar, followed quickly by Ted. Robin tells Lily that she is Team Lily. Andrew Rannells (Book of Mormon, Girls), sporting facial hair, pops into their conversation. He buddies up with them, even though they have no idea who he is, and he quickly sabotages their friendship — telling Lily that Robin is secretly Team Marshall and then chastising Lily for stealing Robin’s thunder this weekend.
At the bar, Ted and Barney are arguing over the merits of going to jail for a friend. Andrew Rannells pops in, befriending them a little too easily. Soon he discovers and unleashes another friendship bomb, telling Barney that Ted is moving to Chicago. Barney is quickly offended, severing Ted from his life.
Turns out, Andrew Rannells is named Darren and he’s a “firestarter.” The Mother was friends with him, letting him into her band. But his penchant for creating drama and ruining friendships — not to mention, hijacking her band as lead singer — has pushed her into quitting her own band (and stealing his van, which Lily advised her to do). Marshall gives her a pep talk, convincing her to return to the wedding and kick Darren out of her band.
Robin apologizes to Lily by bringing out the Marsh-pillow, telling Lily to release her aggression towards him by pummeling the pillow beast. Ted apologizes to Barney by stealing yet another bottle of McKenna. Marshall arrives and Lily gives him an angry stare before declaring “pause” on their fight and embracing her husband and child. At the bar, The Mother is wallowing in her hatred for Darren, although Linus defends him. She requests the Kennedy package (that Lily has) so that she doesn’t have to go through the Darren-hijacked weekend sober.
As Ted pours everyone the McKenna, Darren accidentally bumps into him, causing him to drop the bottle. Ted unleashes a little rage of his own and lands a solid punch in Darren’s face. Darren comes into the bar whining about the Best Man hitting him. The Mother perks up, kicks Darren out of her band, and has Linus give a double of his finest scotch to the Best Man. She’s gone when the gang comes inside, and Ted receives his surprise drink. Linus tells him it’s a McKenna 35-year (even better than the McKenna they’ve been dropping all weekend).
The gang is back together! Most of the secrets are out in the air (although Robin and Marshall are still clueless about Chicago). And the drama with the scotch is more or less resolved. This week was an example of a great way to use a guest star, his charming Disney character face providing the perfect contrast for his inner evil fire-starter. And we learn a bit more about the Mother. All around, this was a solid episode.
Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…
“Going to jail for your best friend, that’s the dream.” – Barney
When Darren first appears, Robin and Lily use telepathy to talk about him, assuming he wants to pull off a “tricycle” with them.
The Mother’s band’s name is Super Freakonomics
The episode’s title refers to the ad Darren placed looking for a new bass player before the Mother even quit the band.
Marvin’s second words are “skunk junk” after Marshall and The Mother uses them in the van.
The tag ending features Marshall discussing his present for Barney. Barney says he wants it right now. Marshall poises his hand for the final slap. The episode cuts out there; presumably the winter premiere will be slap-tastic.