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100. "How Your Mother Met Me"/S9E16

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 9:20 PM

By Dhruv Rao


How I Met Your Mother has run for a sufficiently long time for it to experiment with storytelling methods. Early on in the series, we discovered the writers' fondness to recount a story through a series of flashbacks, thus amplifying the suspense created in the episode. They've also experimented with poetic rhymes, i.e. Bedtime Stories from this season. Another big risk the creators took was the new format of this season: they decided to cram all 24 episodes into a romantic, action-packed and intense weekend. All of this leads us to tonight, the 200th episode: a magical, emotional and nostalgic moment for the cast, crew and fans. Carter and Craig decided to side-step the issues presented in Unpause (which was brilliant, to be honest) and give us a back-story of the Mother.

I don't think that a Ted-Robin romantic arc or even an Erikson family feud is worthy of being part of a milestone episode. Episodes like these celebrate the show, its quirks, its highs, lows and its characters. That's what Girls Versus Suits did very well 4 years back. The writers were spot-on in delivering an episode that gave everyone a fair spot in the sunshine while including elements that the show is known for. How Your Mother Met Me; on the other hand, is a little different. It doesn't show the characters, but focuses on one character who hasn't got her backstory told yet. It was truly a revelation to see how the writers' plans on recounting EIGHT YEARS of someone's life in just a short 20-minute period. It's obvious that you cannot be poetic in such circumstances. You have got to deliver answers, so you have to balance out your factual and figurative methods of storytelling. Normally, if an episode like this would've appeared in a previous season, I wouldve immediately disliked it. However, the placement of the episode played an essential role in determining its type. The episode was like a semi-documentary on the Mother's life before fate brought her to Ted.

We start out at a very important moment: the 2005 evening when Marshall and Lily got engaged and Ted met Robin. The writers conveniently placed the Mother's birthday on the same day. It is really a matter of being poetic but not explicitly taking the onus of elaborating it. The mother's birthday has always been important to the viewers, but now it takes an even more special place in the fans' hearts. The episode quickly changes mood when the Mother's true love passes away on her birthday. The series of events that take place are not too detailed, but they contain minor precisions which provide a thorough explanation of why this certain moment was chosen. A perfect example would be the Saint Patrick's day 2008 story (by the way, was st patty's 2008 in april? Carter Bays said he was right. I'm not gonna be pedantic now). This is when the Mother and Ted are apparently at the same party. The night was emotionally significant for the Mother. It was her first time partying since the 2005 incident. I feel like this entire episode covers a short story, which seems to have a great depth of characters within it. The Mother leaves with her friend Mitch (aka The Naked Man from season four. God! The writers are just too good for us!) He makes a move and the Mother rejects him. It's him who drives the Mother to Ted's classroom in season five.

The writers jump to 2009 and quickly recount the events from the first half of season five. This includes the Mother getting to know Ted informally, the Mother and Cindy becoming friends and Cindy finally getting to know's she a homosexual. (Pat on the back to C+C. You are the kings of continuity) Finally, we discover the final leg which leads the Mother straight into Ted's arms, or neighbouring suite. It's importance is ineffable, and so is the feeling the Mother has in the scene outside the beach house when she moves on in her life. The poetic sense of the writers is everpresent, but the writers camouflage it into the rollercoaster of emotions in the episode. It's a new look on the entire series, and it seems like a preview of what How I Met Your Dad could possibly be like.

The episode's ending is a new horizon for the final eight episodes of the season. It's a leap from Unpause to Sunrise. The writers must be lauded for the episode, and also, like Platonish, the emmys should consider the last two episodes as candidates for Outstanding Work in a Comedy Series.

Grade: A-

Stray Observations:

- The reason the episode didn't get an A: didn't feel as powerful as Girls Versus Suits. Nevertheless, a spectacular half-hour of television.

- Cristin Milioti is truly a master with the ukulele. Her rendition of La Vie en Rose captured everyone's heart, including Ted.

- The Mother's paintings of robots playing sports are finally shown! They're truly rad.

- Ted and the Mother are uncannily similar: coin collecting, calligraphy, crossword solving, renaissance fairs and hand gloves.

- The Mother seems to get along with everybody.

- The Mother's BFF fell for The Naked Man and The 'My Penis Grants Wishes'

- There was a new title sequence this week, and like the episode it focused on the Mother. 

- The Mother felt for Ted's "shellfish" joke. This show knows its continuity.

- The Mother: "Yeah, but your balls are on my couch!"

Categories: How I Met Your Mother

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