4
Oct
2010
How I Met Your Mother: Season 6, Episode 3
Unfinished
Jordan
How I Met Your Mother has always been about dodging advancement of its masterplot as much as its been about actually advancing it. And let's be honest, the longer the series goes on, the more obvious those dodges become, which often leads to episodes like last week's, and to rants like the one in my review of the episode. Yet at its best, the show has dodged its master plot by being abotu the process of growing up and becoming the person you will be for the rest of your life. "Unfinished" reminds us of this focus by displaying a part of each of the characters that they have left unfinished, a dream that each has that they have been ignoring in favor of growing up.

Ted's dream has always been to be an architect. Yet after his dispiriting failures striking out on his own in Season Four, Ted has convinced himself that he is happier being a professor. A show like How I MEt Your Mother, with all its blustery romanticism, is never going to be ok with Ted just settling, in his career or otherwise, and so "Unfinished" has Ted realizing that he still wants to be an architect, and agreeing to design the GNB building he was denied back in Season Four. In order for Ted to dig out his desire, Barney has to put the moves on him, which to my mind yields mixed results. Barney is often depicted as the ultimate seductor (having bedded 236 women as of tonight's episode), yet too often when the show digs into his methods, they come off as a bit pedestrian. Put simply, I prefer Barney's tactics to resemble those we saw in "The Playbook" rather than the comparatively obvious moves he pulls on Ted tonight. I expect Barney's moves to be a bit more legendary than anyone else's, but Neil Patrick Harris still sold the bit, and my complaints don't stem from a lack of laughs.

Meanwhile, Robin has taken to drunk dialing Don after finding his show on satellite television, and threatening him in pretty humorous ways. Cobie Smulders has a lot of fun with Robin's creepy intensity in each phone call, but the subplot is dragged down just a bit by the fact that the writers seem to think Lily saying poop a lot is funny. That is a minor complaint, however, and the observation that people tend not to delete numbers from their phone, even if it is very unlikely they will ever call them again is dead on. Marshall refuses to delete the number of the bouncer at the club he played a single gig at four years ago, and Lily keeps the number of the dojo she took a single karate lesson at many years past.

"Unfinished" looks at the past and its effect on the present, as each character is confronted with the person they once dreamed of becoming, and sees that their life has changed in the interim. This is exactly the model for an episode of How I Met Your Mother that avoids the mythology entirely, in that it still focuses on the characters and their growth, and so can still be seen as an extension of Ted's personal growth towards the man he needs to become. I hope that this week's is closer to the norm from here on out than the last episode. This is a show with heart and humor that I can get behind.

Grade: B+

Notes:

-"The Death Star's gonna get built either way, and don't you think the architect is pretty psyched to have that on his space resume? Yes, his design was flawed, in the sense that a single bullet fired into a particular vent would explode the whole thing ..."

-"This just in...is what I'm going to say when I'm stabbing you!"

-"For the last time, I don't care how big it is, it is NOT the same as giving birth."

-Marshall's funk band was called The Funk, The Whole Funk, and Nothing But The Funk.

-The blip, with Lily returning to the dojo to engage the now much older kid (who is also now a blackbelt) was pretty funny.
Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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