The final season of How I Met Your Mother is underway with the hour-long premiere event, “The Locket,” and “Coming Back.” Now into its ninth season, HIMYM was destined to struggle with the trials of age, as well as bringing he series to a satisfying conclusion. With well-executed character interactions, heartfelt moments, and the characteristic quirky humor, How I Met Your Mother is poised to go out with dignity.
The premiere’s greatest strength was in its handling of “The Mother.” With the underwhelming introduction of the character at the end of the last season, viewers were left with diminishing hope for the quality of the final season. More significantly, one of the biggest questions on fans’ minds were what were they planning on doing with the Mother. Being the last season, the relationship would have to be developed in a hurry in order to provide a satisfying conclusion. But when you’re working with an ensemble cast, its not just about making sure boy and girl fall in love. Much like real life, it also falls down to how they get along with the friends.
For this reason, it was a wise decision to have the Mother’s first interaction be with someone other than Ted. Rather, it was the notorious relationship ender, Lily, that would have the first exchange with the new character. In doing so, viewers are better able to see the character as a person, rather than just an ill-suited face to match with the basis for the entire series. Furthermore, it gives the character some established background with the show before she enters the inevitable role as “the Mother.” After eight seasons, writers cannot simply bring in a random girl and say, “here’s the Mother, hope you like her” (well they could, but what fun would that be?). Instead, she needs to be properly introduced, giving viewers the appropriate time and opportunities to warm up to her.
The premiere brought with it some interesting choices as well. In particular, the revealed divorce between Barney’s brother James and his husband provided an interesting perspective on how the characters have changed over the course of the series. As mentioned a number of times in the episode, Barney only believed that marriage worked because of his older brother’s seemingly successful relationship. By separating them, it allowed viewers to see how Barney’s confidence stood on its own, without the crutch of using another relationship’s stability.
The premiere was certainly not without its fair share of weak moments as well. Most significantly, there was a severe lack of development in the minor characters. While there is no doubt that HIMYM operates with an ensemble cast, Marshall and Lily have had comparatively small roles in the past two seasons. While there is certainly nothing wrong with this in the real world, in television, it can come with some dull moments. In the premiere, it was Marshall who took the underwhelming cake. Although his internet and transportation crises created some opportunities for a few laughs, overall, the plot line came off as pointless, possessing little to no developmental purpose.
Despite these flaws, unlike the last season, the episodes possessed far more good than bad. After the water treading mess that was season 8, fans were in dire need of some redemption. The season 9 premiere promises much for How I Met You Mother, restoring confidence that the series may in fact give the characters a satisfying conclusion.
Overall Score: 9/10
Next Episode: "Last Time in New York," September 30, 2013
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