Sunday, October 17, 2010

HIMYM 6.04: "Subway Wars"

“Stay sad, I’ll be right back!”

So I know the posts here have been a bit slow the past few days, but I have a good excuse, I promise! I’ve been in Boston with Sarah (of guest blogging fame) attending the New England Comic Con. The con included a “Buffy Fest,” and Sarah and I have been having a lot of fun geeking out and getting autographs. A full report will be coming in the near future, but for now, it’s time to talk about this past week’s HIMYM. “Subway Wars” was most definitely a quality episode. It was good fun, with the gang just being silly. And we saw Barney show a bit of humanity, which is always a good thing in my book. If the writers can keep putting together episodes like this one, I’ll soon be prepared to chalk Season 5 up to a serious misstep that has been corrected and can be forgiven.

The episode opens with the gang at MacLaren’s, like they generally are. Barney offends the group, as he does. He’s pointing out to the gang how he can tell a girl sitting at the bar has recently been crying. Then he reveals that he is using his skills because he wants to sleep with the girl, who is obviously in an emotionally vulnerable place right now. The group, especially, Lily, are disgusted, and Lily puts Barney on time out. Lily disciplining Barney is always good for a laugh. Somehow, the conversation turns to the fact that Robin has never seen Woody Allen. There has been reports of a Woody Allen sighting in a restaurant elsewhere in the city, and they all convince Robin that she needs to see him to be a real New Yorker. There are a bunch of other “Real New Yorker” things Robin hasn’t done yet, and Saget!Ted tells us that by the end of the day, Robin will have done them all.

The gang disagrees on the quickest way to get to the restaurant where Woody has been sighted, and they each end up racing each other, using their preferred methods of transportation. We also find out why each of the characters needed a “win” that day. Lily is upset because she and Marshall have been trying for a baby for two months and she isn’t yet pregnant. Marshall needed a win for the same reason. Ted needed a win because he discovered “” and had one rating of “boring” amongst many glowing reviews. Robin needed a win because of her obnoxious new co-host Becky, who seems intent on completely overshadowing Robin. Barney, of course, didn’t actually need a win at all. He even smelled good.

I think Barney had the funniest travel adventure of the gang. He went to a nearby restaurant and feigned a heart attack. He was hoping he could get the ambulance crew to take him to a hospital near the goal restaurant, but they tell him they’re obligated to take him to a different, closer hospital. Barney being rushed in an ambulance in the wrong direction was hilarious. Barney then enlists the help of none other than Ranjit to continue his journey. Meanwhile, Lily takes the subway, Robin tries to hail a cab, Ted takes the bus, and Marshall runs. Marshall even came up with his own theme song for the running, which was pretty funny as well.

Robin ends up stealing a cab from another woman, who ends up splayed on the hood of the car screaming. This traumatizes Robin, who gets out of the cab and starts walking. Barney, now being driven by Ranjit, sees her and offers her a ride. Robin accepts, and she tells Barney she’s upset with him because earlier that day, she tried to tell him about her work troubles, and he ignored her. This upset me, because I think I always want Barney to be a better guy than he actually is. Barney sincerely tells Robin that since he sees it’s upsetting her, he’s absolutely there for her and wants her to talk about it. Robin’s not having it, though, and she gets out of the Town Car in a huff. Meanwhile, Ted is loving his bus ride. He’s pointing out architecture to his fellow passengers and busting out the “fun facts” we haven’t really seen since Season 2. Unfortunately for Ted, his fellow passengers are not amused. He comes to the realization that he’s the “crazy guy on the bus,” and he leaves the bus and starts running. Barney’s running now too, and he’s catching up to Marshall. Lily, meanwhile, got stuck for a while on the subway because of track maintenance. There’s a fun little joke about how she can understand garbled conductor-speak.

Everybody meets up at the same place, and after a brief pause, they resume the race. Robin takes the subway. A fellow passenger catches her eye, which was another “grr” moment for me, but then she sees Becky’s face on a poster for her show and gets upset. She pulls the poster down to find a poster of her and Don, which makes her even more upset. Lily finds a sobbing Robin, and she goes to comfort her…just before she cheats at the race due to her understanding of conductor-speak. Barney, meanwhile, decides to take a pedicab. The driver isn’t going fast enough for him, though, so Barney ends up pedaling himself, while still smelling amazing, of course.

Ted and Marshall decide to run, and Marshall goes a bit nuts due to his stress over Lily not yet being pregnant. He ends up pushing over a guy in a calculator costume, which is a pretty hilarious visual. Marshall and Lily both end up in Ranjit’s Town Car, and they have a much-needed talk. Each had been worried about disappointing the other, and they come to a consensus that they need to dial back the pressure a bit. They decide to develop a “cradle list” (like a bucket list) of things they want to do as a couple while they wait for the pregnancy to finally happen.

Ted, Barney, and Robin are all closing in on the restaurant neck-and-neck. Saget!Ted then tells us that Barney did something unexpected that he still won’t admit to today. Ted’s certain he saw what he thought he saw, though. That would be Barney purposely falling so Robin could have the win. Unfortunately, Barney doesn’t really get rewarded for that act of compassion, though. Robin’s chatting up a new guy she met outside the restaurant. I have faith that if Barney keeps showing humanity every now and again, he will eventually once again be worthy of Robin, and she’ll see that.

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