How I Met Your Mother: Season 9, Episode 4
The final season of How I Met Your Mother is an increasingly infuriating show to review. Even in an episode that I genuinely like a good number of the jokes and witnessed some actual forward momentum, I still find major problems with the resolutions to both storylines and as a result I have a hard time calling the "Broken Code" a good episode of television.
We pick up right where we left off last week, with Barney confronting Ted about the fact that he witnessed Ted holding hands with Robin in the park. Although Barney says he forgives Ted, he puts him through a series of tortures, exploiting Ted's role as best man and inner guilt. Finally Ted admits to Barney that he still has feelings for Robin, but will do his best to get over them and move on.
Watching Barney put Ted through his paces leads to a few mildly amusing gags. I especially liked the revelation that there is no Great Aunt Ida. The motley crew of callback guest stars that comprised Barney's poker game was fun, as was the final hand of the poker game.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Ted's admission to Barney come this early in the season, but it's hard for me to call this development actual progress. If the last two seasons of HIMYM have taught me anything, it's that a dead horse isn't dead until it's been beheaded, burned, buried, excavated, and shot into space on a trajectory where it will collide with the sun. I have no faith that this is the last we have seen of this sub plot and I will continue to dread its return, especially given how quickly Barney chooses to accept the fact that his best man and best friend is in love with his fiance. As much as I don't want to see a return of this love triangle, choosing to have Barney just go with it feels unsatisfying at best and unsettling at worst.
The Robin and Lily subplot is fluffy but fun. I liked watching Robin rip on all of the other girls in the bar, and as always, any excuse to bring out Lily's psychotic side is welcome. What I didn't like was that there really was no actually resolution to this B plot. After recognizing the merits of embracing more female friendships, she quickly changes her mind because Lily is delightfully crazy? Ok...?
As I have said numerous times in past reviews, the best way to ride out this final season, is to focus on the little moments. “Broken Code” doesn't make a lot of sense in terms of the show's or even the episode's master plot. But it is a briskly paced episode that gave me a few laughs. So while “Broken Code” probably deserves a lower grade than the one I have only now at the end of this review decided on, I am going to choose to focus on the little moments I liked, rather than the super story which I already consider to be irreparably damaged.