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'How I Met Your Mother' 'Sunrise' recap: Letting go of the past

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"How I Met Your Mother" season 9 continued Monday, Feb. 3, with "Sunrise," which saw Barney, Ted and Marshall each let go of someone or something from the past.

Sunday 5 a.m., 13 hours before the wedding

Passing on a legacy This "HIMYM" episode began with two guys lamenting striking out at a party, but perhaps their luck was changing when they ran into what they thought was a zombie – a.k.a. drunk Barney stumbling down the road. He took them under his wing (after throwing up), brought them to a strip club ("There's always a strip club," he declared, even in the middle of nowhere), and began their training. Considering these two guys ha just put a down payment on an adult bunk bed, the possibility of him killing them didn't seem so bad to them.

After the strip club, he brought them to Tim Gunn to get suited up, but their main problem was going up to girls and opening their mouths and saying words, and so they were introduced to, "Have you met ___?" In the end, he left them with a few life lessons – don't get married until 30, play laser tag once a week, give many high fives, and nothing is legendary without friends there to see it – and left them with a travel-sized Playbook.

It had to happen Remember Ted's balloon best friend? Well, it taught him that if you love something, never let it go, even for a second, and it took him nearly 30 years to unlearn that lesson. With Barney missing, Ted and Robin set out to find him on the beach, which led to reminiscing about his ex-girlfriends, specifically Stella, Victoria, and Jeanette, all of whom he'd talked to that week, all about the locket. All three pointed out how weird the situation was, but that didn't stop Ted from flying out to search Stella's storage locker, having Victoria overnight the necklace to him from Germany, and meeting Jeanette on a bridge to get it back when she intercepted the package as his "wife."

Ted did finally tell Robin why he and Victoria broke up, leaving her speechless. There was no top five for him. There was only one: Robin. But it wouldn't change anything because it was her and Barney's wedding day. And it wouldn't be weird when they returned from their honeymoon because he was moving to Chicago. He had realized it was time to move on.

When he met Jeanette, she had refused to give hi the locket because she said he was more than crazy for still being hung up on Robin. He argued, saying it was love, the word that meant caring for someone beyond all rationality and wanting them to have everything even if it destroyed you. If he could give up and move on, it wouldn't be love. It would be something disposable. But she refused to hand over the locket and dropped it over the bridge instead.

However, Ted had realized that he needed to let go of Robin, and he did just that, letting her float away like his balloon had when he was a kid.

Facing ghosts Finally, Marshall couldn't get the air conditioning fixed in the room because the ghost liked it muggy, and while the concept of ghosts was crazy, there was a ghost in the room: Ghost Lily. She told him he was going to lose the argument because he was, in fact, mad at 2006 Lily, which brought in 2006 Ghost Lily. Marshall explained that had been the saddest he'd ever been, at which point his father showed up, making him backtrack to explain he was just trying to make a point. But marriage didn't mean that he could hurt her because she had hurt him once.

Marshall acknowledged that he could've handled everything better, but it still made sense for them to stay in New York. Their friends were there, neither spoke Italian, and both could follow their dreams. Ghost Lily of the Present agreed and said they weren't moving, but if he kept celebrating a "win" like he did, he would end up losing her. He couldn't keep lying to her and cutting her out of decisions. That wasn't what he wanted, and he let go of his anger over San Francisco. By episode's end, Lily had returned to Marshall and told him that they were staying in New York.

"How I Met Your Mother" season 9 airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS. What did you think of this week's episode, "Sunrise"?

Read more about How I Met Your Mother.

© Meredith Jacobs 2014

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