When last we met our heroes, Marshall received the devastating news of his father’s sudden passing. With the gang in tow, Marshall made his way to Minnesota to lay his father the rest. What followed worked for three reasons:
- Everyone has a role to play: Robin as “vice girl” with her Mary Poppins on an acid trip bag of tricks helps everyone make it through the day (how did she get that Crocodile Dundee DVD?), but Lily also did her part by driving Marshall’s mother to eat and sleep, and Ted and Barney were all about finding a viral clip to put a smile on their Bro’s face. Silly to be sure, but a completely accurate depiction of how we help our loved ones through tragedy.
- Only Small Actors: You’ve probably heard about the Twitter fight between NPH and Young and the Restless star Eric Braeden when the latter would not reprise his role as Robin’s dad because the role was “not substantial enough” (I’m on Team Neil all the way). So Ray Wise stepped in at the last moment to play Scherbatsky Sr. And he rocked it. We only saw him on the other end of a phone call, putting down Robin’s life choices before remembering to wish her a happy birthday. But in under a minute of screen time, he created a character, a history, and did more to suggest the twisted dynamic between Robin and her dad than Braeden did during his previous stint. Guess the part was substantial enough for Wise.
- Barney for the Win: Finally we came to Marshall blasting God for taking his father from him without so much as comforting last words (or so he thought), and Jason Segel was fantastic. But the camera kept cutting to Barney, his eyes brimming with tears. Without any words, Harris played his love for his friend, the sorrow of not knowing his own father, and the desire to make that connection even at the risk of Marshall’s pain. Just beautifully done, and in the end Barney takes the step to meet his dad at long last. And with hardly any dialogue! Take that, Victor Newman!
Great episode on all fronts.