Saturday, June 16, 2012

HIMYM 7.23-7.24: "The Magician's Code"

“Aren’t you tired of waiting for destiny, Ted?”

I have mixed feelings about “The Magician’s Code.” There were some jokes that worked well, and there were some jokes that were just plain stupid. Of course, my first reaction should be “full squee” as Joss Whedon would say, considering the big reveal in the final scene of the two-parter. Considering I’m a huge fan of the Barnman and Robin, and I’ve complained about how their relationship was handled in too many blog posts to count. The big reveal at the end of the hour, though, was kind of anticlimactic. And could the wardrobe folks have found an uglier wedding dress for poor Robin? Unfortunately, the other big character life moment of this episode, the birth of Lily and Marshall’s son, was somewhat emotionally unfulfilling as well. It could be because the lead-up to the birth was rather unfunny. It was the most “sitcommy” plot of the first half of the episode for sure. That being said, there were definitely some good laughs and moments in the hour as well. The first half of the episode used the “fake clip show” technique made famous by Community to especially good effect. And it’s nice to get some more confirmation that these characters we’ve now spent seven years with are eventually going to end up in a good place.

Overall, I found the first part of this two-parter to be the strongest half. This part of the episode largely focuses on the birth of Marshall and Lily’s son, the awesomely named “Marvin Waitforit Eriksen.” Waitforit is clearly either the coolest middle name ever, or the worst. The characters all seem to think it’s the former, which I guess is what really matters. It’s kind of a complicated story how poor little Marvin got that middle name. Well, maybe it isn’t really all that complicated. It’s Barney’s fault, of course. Would you expect anything else? As you recall, when we last left Barney and Marshall, they were gambling in Atlantic City and Marshall had gotten completely stupid drunk. And of course, right when Marshall is completely incapacitated, Lily goes into labor back in New York. Barney has vowed to get the very stumbly Marshall back to New York or die trying (in exchange for the middle name of the Eriksen spawn being Waitforit), and Barney has to run through quite a few schemes before finally succeeding. He tries to get cab fare from a slot machine, tries riding a motorcycle through the casino floor, and he finally succeeds when a bus driver offers a ride. This isn’t a normal bus though, it’s a senior citizen tour bus, and it’s not bound for New York City. It’s going to Buffalo. The resolution to this plot is it’s one redeeming quality. The bus driver says he can only stop the bus for emergencies, and all the seniors go “Spartacus” for Marshall, all claiming they’re having a heart attack and need to go to the hospital where Lily is about to deliver.

Meanwhile, back in New York, Lily calls Ted and Robin for help since she’s in labor and Marshall is missing. To be distracted from the pain, Lily demands that Ted and Robin keep telling her stories. This is what leads to the faux clip show, and I think it was the strongest part of the two-part episode. Ted and Robin tell all sorts of silly stories like “Worst taxi ride ever,” “Where does that door go?” and “Cuban Sandwich Crisis.” Each is accompanied by a flashback, and most of the flashbacks are quite clever and funny. My favorite was “Where does that door go?” because the drama built and built as each of the gang went through the new door they discovered at MacLaren’s, but we never find out what was on the other side. The way the actors took it so seriously is what made it funny. I also liked a story where Barney decides to pretend to be the Terminator as part of one of his schemes to pick up women. Both of these stories together made me think that the HIMYM crew could do a really good genre parody episode. They got the music and the over-the-top acting right in this one for sure. It would be pure hilarity. Marshall does get to the hospital, by the way, literally just in time for Marvin’s birth. He arrived just as Lily kicked her father out.

In the second half of the episode, we see that Marvin’s birth has led to Ted and Robin patching things up. They have a long talk in the hospital about how Ted keeps claiming he’s waiting for destiny to lead him to the perfect woman, but he keeps dating women who don’t want the same things he does (like Robin). Robin suggests that Ted try calling Victoria, because she’s the one woman he’s dated who was on the same page. Of course, the last time they spoke, Victoria said that she was just a plane flight away from her German boyfriend Klaus. Robin suggests that Ted call anyway, because the engagement wasn’t definite. Ted takes this advice, and when he calls Victoria, she wants to meet with him right away. And she shows up in her wedding dress, of course. It’s just hours before she is supposed to marry Klaus. Ted and Victoria briefly flirt with the idea of running off together, then Ted remembers how crappy it felt to be left at the altar, so he starts driving Victoria to the wedding. Half way there, though, they decide to run off after all. I found this completely out of character for Ted, because Stella leaving him devastated him so much that I really can’t believe he would ever do that to someone under any circumstances. That really bothered me more than the fact that it’s obvious Victoria is our last placeholder before the actual Mother.

The final major plot of the finale involved Barney and Quinn. They are supposed to be taking a trip to Hawaii, but Barney gets detained because of explosives in his luggage. The explosives are part of a magic trick, but Barney refuses to reveal the trick because of the magician’s code. Oh, and we also learn that when Barney was a kid, his mom (surprise, surprise) banged the magic shop owners who was sort of Barney’s mentor. Anyway, one of the TSA guys happens to be a magician too, so Barney finally agrees to tell him about the trick. Eventually, Barney ends up demonstrating the trick, and it turns out to be a very elaborate device for holding Quinn’s engagement ring. Quinn accepts Barney’s proposal, and when they tell the rest of the gang the happy news, Robin seems a little down. She tries to be happy for Barney’s sake, though. It’s only fair since she did break his heart earlier this season. No need to despair, though, Barnman and Robin fans. We finally get the reveal of Barney’s bride at the end of the episode, and of course it’s Robin. Even the show’s creators have said in interviews that it couldn’t be anyone else. So the next 1-2 seasons (depending on how long the show lasts) will consist of Barney and Quinn breaking up, Barney and Robin finding their way back to each other, and Ted meeting the Mother at their wedding. We’ve reached the home stretch, people!

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