The Family Reunion: A Mascott Recap of How I Met Your Mother – Season 8, Episode 2 – “The Pre-Nup”

The Family Reunion

Hey internet. How was your week? Good? Yeah. I’m glad. Mine too. It was pretty good. I hope it wasn’t good enough that you missed this week’s How I Met Your Mother, because if that’s the case I’m about to spoil the shit out of it.

The episode starts with something that always happens at the beginning of the season – the fast forward past the summer, because nothing interesting has ever happened to Ted in the six months between April and October. This time, it was due to the fact that everyone being in a relationship doesn’t lead to any good stories. (…Yeah. Probably.) Fast forward to October 2012, (Hey!) the “Autumn of Breakups.” Bob Odenkirk returns as Arthur Hobbs, who strongly advises Barney to get a prenuptial agreement with Quinn. This, of course, being because his ex-wife Darlene was able to take custody of the “best dog in the whole wide world,” Tugboat.

Who he later replaced with the failure of a dog, known only to fans of the show as “Disappointment.”

And for the first time, it’s revealed that Arthur lost out with the kids too – He got full custody of his horrible, horrible kids. Barney trusts Quinn, but Arthur isn’t buying it – he answers a call from Darlene, screaming that he has nothing left to give her, and Barney sees it as a terrible Christmas-Yet-To-Come.

Quinn arrives at Barney’s office to go out to lunch with him, but he blindsides her with a stack of papers for her to sign – The Pre-Nup. Later, Quinn talks about what happened with Robin and Lily while Barney discusses it with Ted and Marshal in the typical “storytelling flashback” manner. Quinn is offended that Barney would want a prenuptial at all, while Barney is offended that she would want to read it first.

Quinn suspects that there’s something more going on here, and uncovers that the “pre-nup” is actually more of a legally binding set of ridiculous guidelines by which their marriage is to be conducted, including things like requiring her to invent new sexual positions and paying a fine every time she gains weight. Robin, Lily, Ted and Marshall all agree that the rules are ridiculous, while Barney and Arthur, playing the part of Barney’s legal counsel, won’t budge. Nick, Robin’s new boyfriend who we’ve seen for a total of fifteen seconds throughout the series, arrives at the bar to join Barney’s group, and agrees with Ted and Marshall that the pre-nup conditions are ridiculous (Before even hearing them, of course) Barney counters by posing to the group if there is anything in their relationships that they would change, or behavior that they would forbid. The guys all stand firm against Barney, but that night, after thinking about it, they start to see a bit of logic in Barney’s thinking. However, they all make the mistake of airing this realization to their significant others, leading to four our of four couples suddenly in fights. Future Ted tells us in the most foreboding way Bob Saget can muster, that one of those four couples would break up the very next day. (And that it wasn’t Lily and Marshall.)

Don’t be a Bob, Ted.

The next day at the bar, Robin and Lily complain about how their boyfriends/husbands are using Barney’s pre-nup as a pretense to complain about their own relationships.  Marshall thinks Lily is keeping him from playing with the baby how he wants to, citing her stopping him from throwing Marvin in the air when they came home with him. Marshall tells her that his dad and brothers used to do the same thing to him, and he “turned  out perfectly fine.”

Nick and Robin have an entirely separate kind of problem, however, and apparently Nick brought it up when talking to her about the pre-nup, restarting a fight they had a few weeks before. In this segment we also learn something new and interesting about Robin. Apparently, watching herself do the news is what really gets her going in the bedroom, even winking during the taping just to wink at herself when he watches it while having sex with Nick. You’ve gotta wonder if this is a new thing with her job at WWN or if it goes back to her days at Metro News One. And wouldn’t it make the doing the news on “Get Up, New York,” with her boyfriend at the time, Don, a bit awkward for everyone watching?

Well, they were on pretty early/late.

Victoria comes into the bar, angry at Ted because he also began airing his grievances. Apparently, a few weeks beforehand, Klaus, Victoria’s ex-fiancée, had contacted Victoria. After realizing she wasn’t the right woman for him, and leaving her at the altar, Klaus’ life fell apart. Ted invites him to stay in the guest room of his apartment until he gets back on his feet. (Ted’s apartment being Quinn’s old apartment, who gave it to him after she moved in with Barney.) This doesn’t last long, as the nudist and ferret-raising tendencies of Klaus begin to wear on Ted’s patience until he can take no more, and he kicks him out. Victoria feels like she wasn’t a part of the part of the decision at all, like she doesn’t have a say in the matter, despite it Ted telling her that it was “our” apartment.

“Where do you keep your pig intestines?”

The women are all displeased with their men taking on Barney’s basic attitude toward them, so Quinn comes up with an idea. She goes to Barney and tells him that she’s onboard with the pre-nup, but that she has one of her own. Victoria, Lily and Robin enter with a stack of paper to compete with Barney’s own. Her demands of Barney are just as demanding as his were of hers, including a shock collar if he looks at another woman and a hefty fine if he is ever unable to “rise to the occasion.” But look! On the horizon!

The cavalry arrives!

Ted, Nick and Marshall come to back up Barney. Marshall fires the first shot, but the men and women begin to bring their own fights into the room, proposing clauses in Barney and Quinn’s contracts that mirror the arguments they had all had the night before. A shouting match ensues, but Arthur can’t bear to hear couples fighting when he feels like his marriage was squandered. He calls them out on their nonsense, saying that being in love is being able to tell the other person what’s really bothering them. Marshall tells Lily that he feels like she’s telling him that she’s a better parent than she is. Lily tells Marshall that she’s projecting her long-standing father issues onto him. Ted explains to Victoria that he’s afraid, with Klaus around, that they’ll never be able to escape the past, and Victoria tells him that she only wanted to help Klaus because she feels guilty about how happy she is with Ted. Nick finds Robin so sexy that he’s hurt that she doesn’t feel the same way about him.  Robin admits that she gets turned on watching herself do the news.

Aaaand we have ham-handed.

Seriously guys? I get what you were doing. I’ve been around a long ass time, I know how this works. But it works when the people are in different places, expressing their feelings in different ways. It most definitely does not work when Saul Goodman is telling you that it’s come to that point in the episode where it’s time for you to have feelings.

He’ll drink to that.

Barney and Quinn both go to throw out the pre-nups, but neither can throw off the fact they’ve both got reason to need one. They both say that their relationship should be simpler than the chest high stack of paper on that conference room table. They both realize that neither of them trusts one another enough to get married. Quinn takes the next step, and says that maybe they shouldn’t get married at all. Barney can’t disagree.

Back at the bar, Ted and Marshall do their best to comfort Barney, as any two of them have always done for the third over the course of these eight seasons. Barney says that he’s okay – finally realizing that he’ll never trust someone enough to get married is a strange comfort to him.

We flash forward to that vague period known as “a little ways down the road.”  Barney tells his co-workers that his wedding will be “legendary.” Arthur asks him if he’s considering a pre-nup, and Barney responds, “Not this time.” Robin arrives, and the two of them leave for lunch, a callback to the beginning of the episode.

Alright. So, I try not to “review” episodes when I do these recaps, but I can’t be the only person who felt this one was underwhelming. Barney and Quinn breaking off their engagement is not something I wanted to see started and finished in a single episode. I got really excited as the episode started, being as it was written by the show’s creators, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, who have written every episode that has had anything to do with the overall “plot,” or the mystery of who The Mother actually is. But the fact is that the show is up against the wall when it comes to timing, which is something I talked about last week. October has to be the month of break-ups, simply because so much has to happen between now and the show ending in May. Robin and Barney have to have some time to realize that they want to be together, which will take a few weeks. Of course, that has to happen at some point before they decide to get married, so there’s even less time. I’ll be honest – I think we’re going to see at least one or two more episodes that feel this way.

That said, I always like episodes that move the plot forward, and this was an episode that needed to happen. Barney still has feelings for Robin, as evidenced by the box filled with pictures of the two of them that we saw last week.

I’ve got a little change of format this week as we get to the end of the article, but I think it’ll be positive. First off, when referencing past episodes and events, I’m going to be linking to the darn good How I Met Your Mother Wiki instead of Wikipedia. It’s just a better way to support a community. Secondly, I’ll be integrating an old system from the columns, the rundown, at the bottom of every column. It goes a bit like this:

Favorite Part – Tom Lennon as Klaus.

Tom Lennon, a veteran of The State, Reno 911, and countless movies, is a great infusion of a new kind of comedy into the show. Even though he won’t be around long, I’m determined to enjoy him while he lasts.

Best Line – “I didn’t really cross it out.” – Bob Odenkirk. (Another fantastic comedic actor.)

What’s Next? – Well, it is the “Autumn of Breakups,” so we can call this one down, two to go. So who’s next? I really, really want it to be Nick and Robin, because Nick is a terrible nothing of a character. Seriously, what do we know about Nick other than that he has abs and has sex with Robin? NOTHING. He was given more characterization when we didn’t know his name all the way back in “Hopeless” than he gets when he’s banging one of the main characters. HE IS AWFUL.  But this episode wrapped itself up really well, giving us no real clue as to who could be next. We’ll probably see that “split-screen” thing again, when we’re forced to guess who it could be.

As for “a little while down the road,” the scene doesn’t really help us figure out very much. If we’re sticking with the “ultra-logical” approach that I’ve taken, all it tells us is that Robin and Barney dated and decided to get married sometime before they got married.

Gah, I kind of hate when I have no clues about what’s next. Just wait. The fact that Tugboat is in that scene is going to end up being PIVOTAL, and I’ll be wrong forever.

What Should I Do Until Then?! – Sometime in the last few days, Netflix went bonkers adding awesome movies and TV shows. What can I recommend for you? This one, which you can actually get to just from clicking on the poster.

Even if you don’t care for video games, INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE is a fantastic documentary about what it means to work as a fledgling creative in a built up industry. Beautifully shot and directed, this flick is well worth your time.

I’ll be back in seven days with another Family Reunion following next week’s episode, “Nannies.” Until then, people who found this article off of a Google search for “Lebenslangeschicksalschatz,” goodbye!

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