The Family Reunion: A Mascott Recap of How I Met Your Mother – Season 8, Episode 1 – “Farhampton”

The Family Reunion

When I wrote for the now defunct, my regular column was a weekly recap of The Walking Dead, a fantastic show on AMC that I’m sure you’re already aware of. The column ran until the site ceased operations at the end of February, and I really enjoyed doing those weekly articles. I was told that the site was shutting down the night of February 20th through a late night phone call. However, earlier that night I had written another column – a secret column. 

It didn't happen!

I had wanted to write a recap of How I Met Your Mother for a few months before that, and figured it would be quicker and easier to justify putting up a whole new column without permission if I just kinda… did it.

It’s no secret to anyone that might read this blog that How I Met Your Mother is very close to my heart. It got me through some tough times not so long ago. I started watching the show, and then just… didn’t stop. I would get to episode 135 on Netflix, and just start the whole thing over again. Three months went by like this, where literally all I would watch was How I Met Your Mother. I watched the series a total of eight times during those three months. Eventually, I decided to become a human being again, but I think that How I Met Your Mother will be a big part of me for the rest of my life, in the same way someone might fondly remember the first episode of Doctor Who that they ever watched. (Gridlock, on The-Channel-Formerly-Known-as-SciFi. Though I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t have a clue what was going on.)

So I’ve decided to go back to that once secret article, ‘The Family Reunion,’ here on, posting my recaps of the episodes, discussing the past, the present, and where each episode might be bringing us next.

So if you’re just joining the HIMYM party, the beginning of this episode doesn’t do a whole lot to catch you up, but, let’s be honest, you can’t just start here. In last season’s finale, after Quinn told Barney that she would stop stripping because he was uncomfortable with it, Barney proposed to her, and Victoria, the amazing season one throwback, left her fiancée at the altar to choose Ted. Meanwhile, a little ways down the road, at Barney’s wedding, which we’d been seeing bits and pieces of throughout season seven, we learned that Barney’s bride-to-be is Robin. We also already knew that Ted meets his future wife at this very wedding.

The night of last season’s I received texts from no less than three different people, excited for everything that had happened. Apparently, I was the only one that night who saw the consequences of what was happening. Ted wasn’t going to be marrying Victoria, and Barney wasn’t going to be marrying Quinn. Both women had basically given up large parts of their lives to be with these who guys who were going to destroy them sometime in the next few episodes. Honestly, I didn’t know how they were going to justify this. It basically shirked all the character development that Ted and Barney had gotten over the last four seasons. How was Ted going to deal with the fact that he had destroyed some other guy in the same way that Stella had hurt him, and he’d been put out of commission for almost a whole season? And Barney would inevitably have to wreck Quinn in some terrible way to be with Robin, being as selfish as ever, only this time for love.

The episode opens on the Farhampton train station, where Ted sits, in a slightly askew tux from the wedding, reading a book. His hand is bandaged for some reason we don’t yet know. A woman comes up and asks how it was. He begins to tell her the story, picking up where we left off last season, with Robin asking to see Ted in her dressing room. She admits that she’s afraid that she can’t go through with the wedding, and accidentally trigger’s Ted’s well exercised “flashback reflex.”

We know what we’re in for when we see this face.

Ted takes us back to May 2012, just a few days after a now sleep deprived Marshall and Lily had welcomed into the world their son, Marvin, and after Barney had proposed to Quinn. Reluctant to bring her stripper friends to the wedding, Quinn asks Robin and Lily to be her bridesmaids. They both accept, but Robin feels a bit strange that Quinn would ask Barney’s ex-long-term-girlfriend to be a bridesmaid at his wedding. Meanwhile, Ted is driving away into the sunset with Victoria, and he ponders if Klaus has already found her “leaving-you-at-the-altar” note, however, Victoria was unaware that this was even a thing. Because of what happened with Stella back in season 4, when he was left at the altar for Stella’s ex, Ted insists that she leave Klaus a note, for the sake of his sanity.

Back at the apartment, when Quinn is out of the room, Robin asks Barney how Quinn feels about the fact they the two of them used to date, but in a very Barney-esque twist of plot, he’d already gone to great lengths to Photoshop Robin out of every picture he had, leaving no trace whatsoever of their relationship. He swears Robin, Marshall and Lily to secrecy on the issue, but having been awake for nearly a week taking care of baby Marvin has left the new parents in a stupor that prevents them from understanding quite as fully as they need to.

Ted has driven back to the church where Victoria left Klaus just a little while earlier. She finally writes him a note that Ted can be satisfied with her leaving, and asks Ted to deliver the letter. One attempt later, thwarted by Klaus’ large, ex-wrestler sister Uda, Ted enlists Barney’s help. He seduces Uda over the phone, and Ted is free to leave the note in Victoria’s dressing room. He returns to the car triumphant, but is quick to realize that in his haste to escape a possible choke hold, he forgot his car keys inside.

The “What Have I Done” Face.

Let me talk about something else for a moment. Apparently Victoria’s entire detour with Ted up to getting back to the wedding has only taken her an hour or so, and I just don’t see how that’s possible – the church is obviously on Long Island, and it would probably take her at least 30 minutes to get back into the city by the LIRR – If you’ll remember it was 46 Minutes from Marshall and Lily’s place on Long Island into Manhattan. Then from the LIRR to the subway, over to the East Side would be at least another 15 minutes or so. She meets Ted at the bar and they must have talked for at least ten minutes or so before he begins driving her back – the sun is beginning to set, so it must be around six. From Manhattan to Long Island? That’s still rush hour traffic. Benefit of the doubt, maybe she’s getting married on a holiday. Perhaps National Candied Orange Day? BUT I DIGRESS.

Meanwhile, Marshal and Lily discuss being careful to not let Quinn know about how Barney and Robin used to date, accidentally letting Quinn know that Barney and Robin used to date. Caught, Barney is forced to explain to explain to Quinn the whole story in 52 seconds. Which he does.

Seven years ago, when Marshall and Lily got engaged, Ted saw Robin across a crowded room and I said “Oh yeah you just know she likes it dirty” but Ted really liked her so we played Haaaave You Met Ted. They went to dinner. He walked her home. Should have kissed her. Didn’t. Lame. So he stole a smurf penis, went back to her place, should have kissed her. Didn’t. Lame. He threw three parties, they kissed on the roof but decided to be friends. Lame. Then Ted wanted to take Robin to a wedding. She couldn’t go. He went alone and met Victoria. Didn’t kiss her either. Lame. Not a great closer, Ted. But he finally kissed her, they started dating. She went to Germany. Ted kissed Robin, lost Victoria. Ted did a rain dance, got Robin. Ted and Robin broke up. Robin moved to Brazil, came back with a Latin stud. Ted got jealous. Got a tramp stamp. Not really relevant to the story, I just like mentioning that as much as possible. I hooked up with Robin. Ted and I stopped being friends. I got hit by a bus, we made up. Robin and I started dating, and I got fat, her hair fell out. We broke up. Robin dated Don and I dated Nora. Cheated on her with Robin. I dumped Nora. Robin dated Kevin, but not for long. And then I met you, and you took my Grandpa’s watch but I fell in love with you anyway and you let me fart in front of you and I asked you to marry me and you said yes and we came over here to meet little Marvin and that’s everything! Also I went on The Price is Right and I won a dune buggy. 

(Robin really moved to Argentina. But we’ll let that slide.)

Back at the Church, Ted goes to climb the drain pipe to get into Victoria’s room, but is stopped by someone else climbing out of a window first – It’s Klaus! (It’s Tom Lennon!) (It’s Lieutenant Jim Dangle!) (It’s that guy from The State!) (It’s Joey Tribiani’s Identical Hand Twin!) (Wasn’t he in Dark Knight Rises too?) Klaus is planning to leave Victoria  at the altar – Ted can save Victoria from being blamed for anything. Ted climbs into Klaus’ room and takes the note he left for Victoria, moving it to Victoria’s room, where he removes the note that Victoria had written at his insistence. He escapes, and as he does, Uda comes into the room to retrieve Victoria, only to find Klaus’ note.

Quinn confronts Robin, and Barney assures Quinn that there’s nothing going on between the two of them. Robin agrees, giving, for starters, the fact that she now has a boyfriend. Nick.

In an awesome payoff from a tease from a season and a half ago, we finally see the beginning of the “more on that later” we were told about in “Hopeless,” from Season 6. Nick is “Robin’s Secret Crush,” who she first met the day that Ted bought the Red Cowboy boots.

Robin says that she has no desire to get back together with Barney, instead preferring to do things with and to and in the immediate vicinity of Nick. While it’s an entirely convincing argument, it isn’t enough for Quinn, who will always be wondering if Robin still has feeling for Barney. Well, until Quinn meets him, and views his abdominals. Quinn goes to let Nick do body shots off of her, and Robin and Barney get a quiet moment alone. Robin tells Barney that it upsets her a little that he was able to wipe their relationship out of his life so easily. Barney then gives her a key, and an address before he leaves with Quinn.

Victoria and Ted are back where they were earlier – on the highway, driving away from the church, and toward the future. But Ted can’t let something out of his mind. He stops the car, and tells Victoria to wait inside for a minute. It turns out that he stopped at the train station, where Klaus is waiting for a train back into the city. Ted asks Klaus why he wouldn’t want to marry Victoria. Klaus tells him that Victoria is just not the right person for him, not his Lebenslangeschicksalschatz, or in English, “The One.” She’s so very close to being his One, but it isn’t her. Ted asks him, straight out, why he isn’t okay with “almost perfect.”

No. Lebenslangeschicksalschatz is not something that develops over time. It is something that happens instantaneously. It courses through you, like the water of a river, after a storm. Filling you, and emptying you, all at once. You feel it throughout your body. In your hands, in your heart, in your stomach, in your skin.

As Klaus gives this speech, we see Marshall and Lily, looking into baby Marvin’s crib, happy together. We see Robin go to the address that Barney gave her, and that key winds up being to a storage unit, which contains a box of all the photos and memories of their time together. It wasn’t quite as easy as he made it seem. Robin looks at the photos, and tears up at the same time as Barney rides home in a cab, looking out the window wistfully, with Quinn sleeping on his shoulder.

Klaus asks Ted if he has ever felt this way about anyone. He thinks so. Klaus tells him that if he has to think about it, he hasn’t felt it. Ted asks him if he’s absolutely certain that he’ll find his Lebenslangeschicksalschatz, and Klaus responds that he is certain, because everyone finds their Lebenslangeschicksalschatz, no matter what.

The story flashes forward, to the day we saw Ted waiting for the train, after the wedding. It begins raining  as cab pulls up, and a woman takes her guitar out of the trunk. She walks onto the train platform, and we see her ankles. She stops just a few feet from Ted, wrapped up in a book. The camera pulls out, and we see her yellow umbrella. The episode ends with her face obscured, once again, but it’s always good to see a familiar ankle.

Okay, so the last few minutes gave us some things to talk about. First off, Klaus’ speech seems to have brought back “Romantic Ted” from the first few seasons, replacing the shell of a Ted that Stella left in her wake on Shelter Island. It’ll be good to have him back.

Thanks, Lt. Dangle.

The real meat and potatoes is what we were shown during his speech. We saw Lily and Marshall. As it has been for the past few seasons, they are the ideal relationship. They found the person for them, while everyone else is stuck still searching, like they might never find their Lily, or their Marshall. Or maybe they already have, and they’re denying it?

Barney saying that Nick has “Chicken Legs” when Robin and Quinn are fawning over him makes it seem a lot like he’s jealous of the guy Robin has taken to calling her boyfriend. (Barney’s powerful legs have long been a point of pride for him.) And Robin tearing up at the collected memories of her relationship with Barney make it seem like they won’t hold out much longer without one another.

Here’s what we know, because it’s going to get more confusing before it gets any less confusing. We’re at point A. The wedding is point Z. We know that Barney has to dump Quinn, or Quinn has to dump Barney, or Quinn has to die in a horrible accident. (Options.) Also, Robin has to dump Nick, which isn’t quite as bad, considering she hasn’t made him quit his job for her or anything. Ted has to dump/be dumped by Victoria at some point before he meets the Mother on the train platform. (Which means he very well could be at Barney and Robin’s wedding with her, but he’s gotta be single before he meets her or else he makes the same mistake with Victoria twice, which he won’t do. He also needs to meet her at some point before May 2013, because his daughter is one year old when they make their triennial pilgrimmage through the Star Wars Trilogy. That means she was born sometime around or before May 2014, and that, if he dates the mother for longer than three months, Ted might very well have married the mother when she was six months pregnant.

I suppose a shotgun wedding is one way to end eight seasons, right?

I’m kidding, obviously, but it’s undeniable that the timeline has gotten pretty tight. We’ll just have to see how that shakes out – thankfully, Bays and Thomas wrote the daughter into Trilogy Time, and with that definite age for the daughter in 2030 (Between 15 and 16 years old) we’ve got a confirmation that the “end point” for most of our mysteries will be sooner rather than later.

And there we have it. I assure you that next week’s article will require less of an introduction. But I do have a feeling that this season is going to be Legen – wait for it –

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  1. alice
    Posted September 29, 2012 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    I agree with you it’ll be an intresting season, just one thing, Teds daughter doesn’t look like a 1yrs old in the star wars trilogy episode, she look like an infant maybe 4-5 months? I might be wrong. Just curious.

  2. Posted September 29, 2012 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    No, you’re not wrong. She is definitely much younger than one year old, and maybe even younger than 4 months. What I mean to say with that is that she was born sometime over the course of that past year. What I did is to make a person a variable in an algebra expression – her age is somewhere between zero years old and one year old, so to make her exist at all in the equation she is one. In 2030, she is somewhere between 15 and 16 years old, so if I continue to round up in that same way, she’d be 16. Just to make the math add up.
    Figuring out the rest of the timeline algebraically is pretty stupidly complicated, and, like algebra, you can’t assume anything. For example, the date of Ted’s marriage. The only thing we know for certain is that he gets married sometime before May 2015 – because that’s the earliest time we see him actually wearing the ring. (As opposed to his college reunion, meeting Wendy the Waitress @ the airport, etc.) We can’t assume that Ted got married at some point and THEN the Mother got pregnant to have the baby nine months later. There’s just no proof.
    It’s an 8 season long logic problem, and it makes my head hurt sometimes. But on the bright side, I think How I Met Your Mother finally taught me how algebra works!

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