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'How I Met Your Mother' 'Gary Blauman' review: First kiss and final farewells?

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'How I Met Your Mother' 'Gary Blauman'

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How I Met Your Mother” season nine really seems to be setting up the finale for something bittersweet. Will the Mother die? Maybe. Will Robin and Barney’s marriage last? Maybe, maybe not. Will the gang grow apart? It seems like it, unfortunately, particularly after the March 17th episode, “Gary Blauman.”

This story is told by a Future Ted, of sorts. At the beginning of this “HIMYM” episode, Ted (Josh Radnor) meets his future wife (Cristin Milioti) for their first date just three days after the Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) wedding (no explanation yet as to if she’s the reason why Ted ditched Chicago). When they ditch going to a Scottish-Mexican fusion restaurant and decide to go to a new restaurant without a reservation, it prompts Ted to tell the story of Blauman (Taran Killman) showing up to Robin and Barney’s wedding even without an RSVP.

In ways, it’s a random, bizarre story for Ted to share with his future wife. After all, it includes talking about how he hates Blauman for hitting on the same girl that Ted wanted to have a one-night stand with. Then again, on their first date, the unnamed Mother also almost runs into her almost-fiancee, forcing her to tell Ted that they just broke up a few days prior.

But both of those points are really brushed over. Rather, the entire “How I Met Your Mother” episode is spent on what people think of Blauman, why they love -- or hate -- him, and whether or not they should find a seat for him at the reception. It ranges from the ridiculous, like Barney angry at him for stealing a curly fry from his basket of straight fries, to the heartbreaking, including James (Wayne Brady) admitting he had an affair with Blauman, because he thought he loved him.

In the end it’s not Marshall’s (Jason Segel) choice whether he stays or goes -- even if he thinks he should stay, simply because wife Lily (Alyson Hannigan) says so -- because Barney kicks him out anyway. And then everyone changes their mind and goes running after him.

But that’s not the point of “HIMYM” “Gary Blauman” either. Rather, it’s the point Marshall makes out in the parking lot, that, despite your best intentions, despite inviting friends, family, and loved ones to your wedding, chances are you’ll still grow apart. He didn’t say it outright, but you move to Italy, you get married, like Robin and Barney, and things definitely don’t stay the same. As years go by, Marshall says, you simply lose touch.

It’s a foreboding foreshadowing for the CBS comedy, even if it gives Ted an opportunity to share a bit about the people he did keep in touch with over the years, like Carl who is still at MacLaren’s, Ranjit who now owns the limo service, and even crazy Jeanette who ends up with psychologist Kevin. Forget him telling about Lily and Marshall, or Barney and Robin. Because maybe Ted didn’t stay in touch with them, and it's all set up for a finale in which they get back in touch with each other only years, or decades, down the road.

Plus, a new theory is floating around the Internet, and it’s a whole lot worse than just the Mother dying. The "HIMYM" theory suggests that Robin and Barney get divorced, and that after the Mother dies, Ted and Robin get together when they’re much older. This is seriously a theory, and it’s one that holds some weight… unfortunately.

Because while Ted has dwelled on Robin for so long -- lending credence to that theory -- this season has really made it easy to love the “mother.” She’s a wonderful complement to Ted, and the ending of this particular episode proved that once again.

Even though both Ted and the Mother aren’t totally ready for a relationship, Future Ted says, “when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.” Which is why the Mother kisses Ted on their first date, and then asks if they can keep strolling around the block. But before they do that, Ted pauses. The Mother asks, “What are you doing?”

Ted’s response? It’s pitch perfect. “Remembering this,” he says.

So please, “How I Met Your Mother.” Don’t build up this beautiful relationship just to have it come crashing down in the finale.

© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2014

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