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'How I Met Your Mother' 'Sunrise' review: The red balloon, Ted, and Robin

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'How I Met Your Mother' 'Sunrise'

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How I Met Your Mother” “Sunrise,” which aired on February 3, was all about how Ted (Josh Radnor) finally let go of Robin (Cobie Smulders) so that he could be ready for his real love. But unlike the prior week’s episode, in which the Mother recounted how she opened herself up to love, it was hardly as believable, or as interesting. Neither was the rest of the episode.

Sure, “HIMYM” had its moments. Marshall (Jason Segel) finally realized that he was wrong to bring up San Francisco Lily (Alyson Hannigan), thanks to some help from ghost Lily and his ghost father. But he also realized that he needs to stop playing the winning/losing game with Lily if he doesn’t want to eat away at their marriage. (And sure enough, Lily did decide its best they stay in New York, for their family.)

Meanwhile, an incredibly drunk Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) is out and about, ready to teach two “boys” his ways. In more ways than one, it was incredibly reminiscent of his early days with Ted. “Today is your lucky day,” he told them. “Today I’m going to teach you how to…” And then he puked. “Live.” From going to a strip club, to getting a new suit, and then teaching them his “haaave you met…” line, he gave away his tricks. And then he literally gave him his tricks by offering them his “playbook,” or at least as it was written on napkins. Then, just like that, he’s officially ready to get married.

The real issue though on “How I Met Your Mother” “Sunrise” is the conversation that finally happened between Robin and Ted. But before that conversation occurred, Ted told the story of why he isn’t good at letting go at love. It all goes back to the day he lost his red balloon... when he was just a wee little kid. “If you love something, you can never let it go, not even for a second,” Future Ted says. It took him 30 years to unlearn that.

Really? That’s the story behind why he couldn’t let go of Robin after eight years. Really? The Mother had this beautiful story on “How Your Mother Met Me” of how she thought she’d found “the one,” and then realized that it was time to move on and really open herself to love. But her future husband? He’s basing his whole love life off of a lesson from a red balloon?

It’s not nearly as sweet, nor as believable. For one, Ted spent the last few weeks trying to hunt down Robin’s locket, even though it meant calling his exes, including Stella (Sarah Chalke), Victoria (Ashley Williams), and even crazy Jeanette (Abby Elliott).

The “HIMYM” episode implied he learned something the day Jeanette threw the locket off a bridge in New York, just a few days prior. It was like the red balloon, apparently, in that Ted realized it was time he had to just let it go, that it wasn’t meant to be with Robin. But then here Ted is, on a beach in Farhampton, and he’s still clearly dealing with his unrequited feelings, even as he’s being honest with Robin about why he has to move to Chicago -- so he doesn’t have to be around a married Barney and Robin.

Again, Ted’s story of letting go of Robin is nothing like his future wife’s story of letting go of her dead boyfriend. Even so, fans are supposed to believe that Ted made an enormous change in the way he views love in this moment on the beach. He’s supposed to finally be done with Robin. And that’s why, when they hold each other’s hands, he decides to “let go now.” Well, if anything, at least this means the show can move on to more interesting -- and more believable -- love stories.

“How I Met Your Mother” airs on CBS Mondays at 8 p.m. EST.

© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2014

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