SPOILERS AHEAD, so proceed with caution, you Mother lovers!
Season Nine, Episode 17: “Sunrise”
Written by: Carter Bays & Craig Thomas; Directed by: Pamela Fryman
This week’s episode is entitled “Sunrise” because of a picturesque moment at the end of the episode, but it could also have been named “The Locket, Part Two” because we finally learn what happened to Robin’s locket. (And it includes more guest stars on HIMYM’s walk down memory lane.) It could also have been renamed “Ghost Therapy” because Marshall’s overactive imagination leads to some helpful marital advice.
Two young guys are walking down a deserted road, complaining about how they couldn’t get laid at their party. (Could these be the new, young characters in the HIMYM spinoff series How I Met Your Dad?*) Amidst all our tears last week, we saw Barney sneak out of Ted’s room, completely wasted. He shows up now, stumbling on this deserted road, and approaches the guys. He gives them one look and says, “I’m gonna teach you how to live.” He also vomits in the midst of this sentence.
In his room, Marshall is complaining to the front desk about the heat in his room, but he’s informed that the ghost of Dearduff prefers the room muggy. Marshall would like to comment on the fact that ghosts aren’t real, but he’s having a conversation with Ghost Lily. She’s telling him that he was going to lose their argument, and that’s why the real Lily stormed off. He doesn’t believe that, why else would Lily leave unless she was going to lose. But Ghost Lily tells him she left because he’s actually mad with the 2006 Lily, who subsequently appears. This could be a long night.
On the beach, Robin and Ted are in search of Barney. She makes a joke about how maybe Barney left her (that does happen a lot on this show), which naturally leads to talk of Stella. Robin then asks if Ted’s talk to her recently. He lies. Because, as we saw in the season premiere, Ted went to see her in LA. He called her about Robin’s locket, which he suspected she may have accidentally gotten in their split. She can’t believe he’s still hung up on Robin but concedes it may be in her storage locker. She just doesn’t have time to check. Hence why Ted flew out to LA.
Part of Barney’s education for the boys is taking them to a strip club. Magically, one appears: The Crab Shed. Barney shows them how to have a good time, and they enjoy it immensely. But they’re still not sure how this will help them talk to girls. Naturally, they need some suits. (To be fair, one guy is dressed in a hoodie and the other in a plaid shirt with relaxed-fit jeans — if not a suit, they definitely need some new clothes).
2006 Lily has some lame quips about how she wants to know if James Blunt has had a series of hit singles like we all expected him to. (While I, personally, had wondered whatever happened to Blunt a couple of months ago, I know no one actually expected him to have any more hit singles.) Marshall tells the Lilies that when 2006 Lily left him for San Francisco, it was the saddest he’s ever been. The Ghost of his Father appears to call him out on that. (There is also a Ghost Robin in the room, but she’s reading a magazine and doesn’t really care about what’s going on.) He tells Marshall that he doesn’t get to just hurt Lily back because she hurt him. Marriage doesn’t work like that (we’re learning a lot about how marriage works this season).
Speaking of Stella, Robin tells Ted that the gang has an e-mail chain going ranking his five best relationships; and Stella is on it. Ted is amused and wants to hear the list.
Speaking of Victoria, has Ted talked to her recently? He lies, again. While rummaging through Stella’s storage locker, he talks with Victoria. She knows where the locket is! It’s around her neck at that exact moment. Ted says he’ll just swing by and get it, but she’s all the way in Germany. So, instead, she mails it to him overnight. But when he never gets the package, he calls the delivery company. They claim that Ted’s wife, Jeanette Mosby, picked it up. Not Jeanette!
Luckily for the boys, Tim Gunn is available for a suit fitting. He dresses them up while joking with Barney. Barney then takes them to the party, where their suits make them look handsome. He teaches them the “Have you met ______?” move, and they are eternally grateful. Before Barney leaves them to it, he has one last thing to impart to them, The Playbook. He may have gotten rid of the actual book, but he’s written down the plays on a pile of napkins, which he hands to them. They are in awe, and it seems that Barney has “bettered” the next generation of men and can focus on marrying Robin now.
Ghost Lily tells Marshall that they’ll stay in New York. He’s thrilled that he will win the argument. But Ghost Lily tells him it’s not winning. In marriage, you don’t look at it like winning and losing, Lily shouldn’t be an enemy. And if he doesn’t realize this, then eventually, slowly, he will actually lose her. And, having learned this moral, he’s ready to apologize when the real Lily returns to him. But she merely tells him that they’ll be staying in New York, it only makes sense. Hopefully, this is the last major conflict for this couple; we don’t need OTP (One True Pairing) couples in fake jeopardy in the final two months of the series.
As she thinks about Ted’s best relationships, Robin’s mind wanders to another list they’ve discussed as regards him.
Has Ted talked to Jeanette recently? He lies, again. He had called her about the locket, and she is offended that another woman is sending him jewelry. But when he tells her it belongs to Robin, even she can’t believe he’s still hung up on Robin. They meet at Central Park so she can give him the locket, but instead she dangles it over the bridge. He needs to move on from Robin, so she drops the locket into the river. So I guess Ted won’t be giving Robin the best wedding present ever (despite his skills).
In the present, though, Ted finally confesses his remaining feelings for Robin. Then, he confesses his big move to Chicago. This is a pretty intense morning for Robin. She’s sad to hear all this news (she’s even sadder that he couldn’t be with Victoria, but that’s because she hasn’t met The Mother yet) — but she’s ready to encourage him to move on. They have an emotional moment, and then Robin floats up into the sky, like a Biblical prophet might. Talk about heavy-handed imagery.
More fun guest stars — HIMYM is trying to make a callback to every past episode this season, it seems — but do we need even more episodes about Ted’s love for Robin? Fortunately, this seems to be the final one. With a lot of this residual emotionality dealt with (for Ted, for Marshall & Lily, for Barney even), maybe this final stretch of episodes will look towards the future for these beloved characters. There were some great moments in this episode, but it just felt too jam-packed with stuff.
Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…
*They’ve actually posted the casting call for the spinoff series, and I don’t think these two guys would fit the bill.
“I’m always open for my friends.” – Tim Gunn
“Ted — sorry, force of habit.” – Barney accidentally referring to his new mentees as Ted.
“It’s been a really long week.” – Ted
“In your ethereal face, Ghost Lily.” – Marshall bragging when he “wins” the argument
“Give at least as many high fives as you get.” – Barney’s parting advice to the boys
In the tag, as Ted and Robin stare at the sunrise, Ted asks her if, on their first date, she wanted him to kiss her. She says yes.