Spoiler Alert: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 9, Episode 3 of CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," titled "Last Time in New York."
Welcome back to the final season of "How I Met Your Mother," where the elderly are summoned simply by saying "Mandy Patinkin" and sword fights result in damaged dresses and broken bottles of $600 scotch.
It's 52 hours before Barney and Robin's wedding and we're nowhere closer to Ted meeting The Mother, at least in present day. Last week reminded us that the end is in sight and, yes, The Mother is a perfect match for Ted. But we'll have to wait an entire season for all of the puzzle pieces to come together. We must be patient. So must Ted.
In accordance, the season's third installment said not a word about The Mother. Instead, Barney and Robin are attacked by their great-grandparents, elderly aunts and compression socks. Terrified of never having sex after marriage, Barney and Robin try to save their chemistry before it fizzles. It's time for a game Barney probably calls "Sex in Random Places." They can't do it in the sauna because one of Barney's relatives will surely be getting his schvitz on. They try to hijack a hotel room, but only find Robin's great-grandparents getting down to biz-ness after 60 years of marriage. "Tennis balls" on the floor and all.
In a last ditch effort to get some pre-wedding canoodling in, Barney and Robin use James as a decoy against the zombie-like old folks, so they don't have to talk to anyone. Black, gay and nearly divorced, his demise results in a classic "HIMYM" move. Aunt Muriel and her cronies descend on him, asking all about "Gay," and all that's left of James is one quivering hand in a pile of old people. Save yourselves, Barney and Robin!
Somewhere in Wisconsin, Marshall is still on the road with Daphne. Like we said last week, this is still the weakest part of the storyline. As fun as it is to see Baby Marvin dressed as a mini Vikings fan, it's time to send the Eriksen men home. Now.
But the backbone of this episode was Ted's list of things to do in New York before he leaves for Chicago. Lily finds it and is not surprised by the most Ted-like activities. He wants to change neighborhood graffiti from "YOUR A PENIS" to "YOU'RE A PENIS." Of course. He wants to say goodbye to the Empire State Building, also known as "Empy." Naturally. He will buy everyone at MacLaren's a round of drinks (on a Tuesday morning). No doubles, though.
Lily, being Lily, is the only character to bring up the huge elephant in the Farhampton hotel -- Ted feels awkward about being around Barney and is running away to Chicago instead of dealing with it. Instead of saying goodbye to New York and everything he loves, she has some other advice: "Say goodbye to the bad things ... all the times you felt lost, all the times it was a no instead of a yes, scrapes and bruises, heartache. Goodbye to everything you really want to do for the last time." Not to Barney.
And with that, Ted gets to cross off the last item on his list: "One last life lecture from Lily."
We absolutely must pause now and take a moment to fully thank the "HIMYM" writers for four solid mentions of the great Mandy Patinkin. Apparently senior citizens can sense the Patinkin (Patinkin, Patinkin, Patinkin) and are entranced by the mere mention of his name. And then here come the perfect "Princess Bride" references. Two forbidden sword fights later, and we want more Inigo Montoya role play/accents. May April 26 always be remembered as "How I Met Your Princess Bride's Mother" Day.
Random things we want more of:
- James getting asked "gay questions" by Aunt Muriel and co.
- Baby Marvin in cool outfits
- Some serious Real Talk between Ted and Barney
- "Thank you, Linus" (for a SUPER fun evening, take a shot every time Lily says this)
- Flashback scenes in the near-empty apartment
- Robin-Lily sword fights
Moments we can do without:
- Marshall's absence
- Ted's Where's Waldo?/old-timey swimsuit
- A mental picture of "Highland clumps"
"How I Met Your Mother" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
What did you think of this week's episode? What do you think Barney has to say about Ted and Robin's moment at the carousel? Will Mandy Patinkin continue to haunt you in your old age? Leave your thoughts in the comments!