17
Jan
2011
How I Met Your Mother: Season 6, Episode 14
Last Words
Jordan
The last episode of How I Met Your Mother ended in the shocking and emotional death of Marshall's father. Predictably, this episode picks up with the funeral of Marshall's dad, but unfortunately, it packs much less emotional power and generally comes across as a pretty weak episode of the show. There are laughs here, which is good, of course, but I expect this show to be able to deliver on the heart wrenching emotional moments in its characters' lives. Perhaps this is asking too much of late period HIMYM, but I think its unfair to lower my standards enough to expect the show to fumble the most emotionally raw situation it has ever examined.

The episode is clearly centered around Marshall, and with not a subplot in sight. Instead, the gang spends the episode trying their best to make Marshall's life easier for the day. Ted and Barney decide the best way to comfort their friend is to make him laugh by showing him various videos of people getting hit in the nuts. Unsurprisingly, this isn't exactly what Marshall needs. Lily wants to make Marshall's mom's life easier by pissing her off enough that she eats and sleeps, things she hasn't done since her husband died. And Robin is vice girl, bringing along liquor, cigarettes, pills, firecrackers, and Crocodile Dundee 3 just to ensure that Marshall has whatever he needs.

All of their efforts are sweet, and their hearts are in the right place, but obviously none of this is what their friend needs. Marshall instead spends the episode obsessed over his father's last words. What matters to him is the memory he has of his father, but lacking perspective as anyone might in his situation, he is focused on the words his dad left him with. This is not helped by the junior minister (Danny Strong, of Buffy and Mad Men fame) who makes that the theme of the funeral service, nor by the gang's memories of their equally unsatisfying most recent encounters with their fathers. In the end, Marshall knows his dad loves him, and that's what matters. "Last Words" lacked the emotional punch it needed, and held back on the laughs (rightly I'd say) enough to serve as a memory of Marshall's dad. Unfortunately, that lead to a lot of dead space. I admire the show for trying to tackle something so real and dramatic, especially considering how middling its been for some time now. This gumption may bode well for the direction the show is headed, but if the execution says anything about what's to come, I have my reservations.

Grade: B-

Notes:

-Why was Barney wearing a suit tonight? Continuity says he should be suited down for the services, like he was in the Season Two Super Bowl episode.

-Another continuity lapse: I'm pretty sure I'd remember if Ray Wise was Robin's dad...

-"Hey, stay hydrated."

-The last words we heard tonight (not counting the words from the still living fathers): "Plane food is ass." "you know who probably has an umbrella? The Koreans across the hall." "Rent Crocodile Dundee 3. I saw it on cable last week, it totally holds up!" "I love you." Also, a re-imagining of Nathan Hale's last words: "I'm peeing my pants!" And Marshall's hypothetical last words: "I really really really love you guys... And I'm gonna go drop a deuce."
Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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