How I Met Your Mother Season 9, Episode 20 “Daisy”
Written by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Airs Monday nights at 8pm ET on CBS
Much like the entirety of How I Met Your Mother‘s final season, “Daisy” gets off to a slow start, and an unfortunate one; save for a few small bright spots, the Robin/Barney material is by far the weakest link of the season, relying on hackneyed jokes and a repetitive “these two people accept each other!” resolution in between broad jokes and lots of guest appearances. And right off the bat, “Daisy” goes hot and heavy on bride paranoia, with Robin’s mother making up a bunch of bullshit about her father, giving her the Big Pre-Wedding Cold Feet Scare – but then the episode takes a swift detour, and quickly becomes another hilarious, emotionally resonant entry in How I Met Your Mother‘s creative surge to the finish line, led by an absolutely stunning performance from Alyson Hannigan.
How I Met Your Mother’s been treating its time line like oragami in this recent batch of episodes, and in “Daisy”, the sprawling structure begins to grow inward, filling in Lily’s unexplained departure in the closing moments of “Unpause”. Once we’re past all blathering on about how awful and similar Barney and Robin’s father are (again; bullshit), the episode lets Detective Ted (“MOESBY BOOOOYS!”) take over, lulling the audience into a ridiculous tale of what Lily’s “big secret”, distracting us from a simple fact while Barney yells out “masturbate?” to every one of Ted’s inquiries, and Ted gets angry at The Captain for yelling about boats.
Lest we forget, Ted Moesby is a terrible detective; and it’s no sooner that he’s completed his smoking (literally) gun theory that his story begins to unravel. Lily… drive all the way to her boss’s house to smoke a cigarette (and cutting off Boats, Boats, Boats at the door, to boot?)? No, it turns out that cigarette was a pregnancy test; and from there, “Daisy” delivers the show’s fist happy ending, revealing a new addition to the Erickson family – and a new direction for all of them, as Marshall gives Lily her dream of living in Italy because, as he says, “you’re giving me my dream… again.”
How can that moment not pull at your heart strings? Thanks to Hannigan and Seagel’s performances (the latter of whom’s nearly been forgotten the entire season, separated from the entire cast and stuck in an unfunny subplot), the closing moments of “Daisy” bring one of the season’s less enjoyable plots to a close. We all knew Marshall and Lily would stay together (we’ve known that since the first flash forward years ago, when they’re eating “sandwiches” at the reunion), which made early episodes of the season where their petty arguments seemed to exist for cheap dramatic. But since “Unpause”, those conflicts have been given real depth in exploring a long marriage (they’ve been married for seven years, lest we forget) at a crossroads – in more ways than one, thanks to the impending arrival of Daisy, their soon-to-be daughter.
It’s an impressive task, though one I’m not sure the show can replicate; Robin’s internal trepidation about marrying Barney have been addressed so many times already (many of them before they even got back together) that her realization at the end of the episode isn’t rewarding, for her character or the audience; given the flashback we saw three seasons ago, we know those hesitations are going to last up until the best man leaves her dressing room and she walks down the aisle (which is still a liiiiittle bit weird, no – even after “Sunrise”?). But she will get married, this we know; so at this point, all we’re waiting for is the happy ending. Then again, I doubted whether How I Met Your Mother could turn Marshall and Lily’s friction into something meaningful, which they certainly did in the second half of “Daisy” – and I’m sure Bays and Thomas still have some tricks up their sleeve, whether with Ted and The Mother or Barney and Robin’s impending nuptials.