HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: Role-Playing

So what did you think? When Lithgow’s Jerry first appeared, I applauded his chemistry with NPH and the years-in-the-making confrontation between Jerry and Barney. But I was not a fan of the B plot. Tonight’s episode was, for the most part, better overall. It didn’t pack the emotional punch of “Legendaddy,” and there was still a weak link in the chain. But a lot of it was near perfect.

“Crazy Jerry” gave Lithgow a chance to really cut loose before revealing that Jerry was merely acting so he could hang with his son, which gave way to Barney’s memories of what really happened (I particularly liked Jerry challenging the mannequin to a fight). Then came a series of touching father-son scenes: in handcuffs, running from the cops, fleeing the city with one of Jerry’s driving students. You know. Typical rites of passage. But it was sweet when Jerry produced the button he’d given Barney so long ago, and don’t forget the hint that Barney’s already met the right girl to settle down with (please, please, please let it be Robin!).

Speaking of Ms. Scherbatsky, remember that weak link I was talking about? Exhibit A. Robin and Ted “dating” again for Jerry’s benefit had potential, but then Michael Trucco showed up. Nothing against him; Samuel Anders was awesome. But first we saw Robin and Don then Barney and Nora and now Robin and… this guy. Just get them back together already! And Ted really had nothing to do except rock those hideous red cowboy boots.

Lily and Marshall, on the other hand, were on fire. Marshall the faux playwright discussing the “bourgeois” and “ennui” was matched by Lily going all Miranda Priestly and berating her Tony Award-winning husband for essentially loafing while she works 90 hours a week. Good stuff (and of course Lily got the five phone numbers first, but Marshall enjoyed himself, albeit quickly).

All and all, not a bad night for HIMYM. The confusion over club names was funny, but it went on way too long. Barney announcing that he and his friends had a band before the gang played the theme song? That was rich. They hit the joke and moved on. Kind of like I hope the show would with some of these detours on the way to Barney and Robin, Part Two.

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