The final season of the massively popular CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” one of the last decade’s best comedies, got off to a really nice start on Monday, Sept. 23 kicking off with two episodes – “The Locket” and “Coming Back.”
It appears as if the show’s creators – Carter Bays and Craig Thomas – are going to let the entire final season (or at least a good portion of it) play out over the span of a weekend, the weekend of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin’s (Cobie Smulders) wedding. It’s an interesting idea and one that will probably be met with questioning by many fans of the show, but I think it could be to the show’s benefit after watching the first two episodes. It gives the series more of a serial feel, which is fairly uncommon on network television, especially from a sitcom. It’s also not like the show can’t show us what happens to the characters in the future, as it will utilize flash forwards – which it does to perfection in the second episode, but we’ll get back to that.
The final episode of season eight finally introduced us to the mother of Ted’s (Josh Radnor) children or his future wife, a yet to be named character played by Cristin Milioti. In the first episode “The Locket” Milioti gets some decent screen time as she meets the first of the ‘HIMYM’ gang, Lily (Allyson Hannigan), on a train to the wedding in Farhampton. Milioti and Hannigan instantly have a great chemistry and many of the first episode’s biggest laughs come from their scene together. Milioti doesn’t appear too much in the season’s second episode, but again we’ll get to that.
The other funny moments of the first episode include a far-fetched, but still hilarious plotline in which Barney and Robin find out that they share a cousin and begin to panic that they might be related and Marshall (Jason Segel) fighting to get back from Minnesota to the wedding and fighting with a supremely funny Sherri Shepherd along the way. Shepherd appears in the season’s first two episodes and hopefully will turn up for at least a few more.
The most serious plotline comes from the episode title (“The Locket”) and last season’s revelation that Ted has Robin’s lost locket and may or may not have plans to return it to her in hopes of winning her back one last time. The episode talks about the chance of a “wild card” ruining the wedding and it could turn out to be Ted, who happens to be Barney’s Best Man.
The second episode (“Coming Back”) continues Marshall’s fight with Daphne (Shepherd) over the last rental car to get to New York in time for the wedding and Lily’s fears that Marshall may not make it. The episode also sees Wayne Brady return as Barney’s gay, half-brother James, who breaks the news to everybody that he’s gotten a divorce, which worries Robin as Barney claims it’s James’ marriage that made Barney believe in marriage in the first place.
The best part of the episode comes at the very end with that previously mentioned perfect flash forward and Milioti’s small role in the episode. It’s the very first scene between her and Ted, but not the coveted scene where they meet. I thought it was very interesting how the creators of the show decided to make their first scene something other than their initial meeting and I have a feeling the show will continue to do this during the season. I just wonder how long it will be before the two actually meet for the first time and how long it will be before the show gives us the name of the “mother” (I bet there’s a good chance both or at least one of these is saved for the finale) – these could be the last two major secrets revealed on this extremely secretive series.
This scene was the highlight of the season’s first two episodes, because even though it’s not their first meeting, it’s still one of the most important scenes and moments in the entire series. It’s the moment that we get to find out as fans what the chemistry between these two is like and thankfully it’s impeccable. After about 20 girlfriends (and no disrespect to Robin, who will likely always be my favorite) this definitely seems to be the right one for Ted, which is incredibly important because we’ve already learned that she is indeed “the one.”
I was thrilled by the first two episodes of the show’s final season and can’t wait to see how the rest of this season unfolds. I think it’s going to be one of the funniest and all-around best seasons of the last few years, and maybe the series as a whole. The beginning of the end of “How I Met Your Mother” has really piqued my interest.
“How I Met Your Mother” can be seen locally on KTHV Conway Corp. channel 11 on Mondays at 7 p.m.