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How I Met Your Mother Ep. 9.09 “Platonish” continues to deliver the disappointment

How I Met Your Mother Ep. 9.09 “Platonish” continues to deliver the disappointment

himym 9.9

How I Met Your Mother Season 9, Episode 9 “Platonish”
Written by George Sloan
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Airs Monday nights at 8pm ET on CBS

In theory, “Platonish” is an episode about Ted dealing with his feelings for Robin – not only does the title give it away, but the numerous Ted voice overs and longing looks at Robin made it pretty clear early on they were planning to beat the dead Ted/Robin horse for twenty minutes. However, the episode quickly snaps its attention to Barney, focusing in on a disgusting night of woman-chasing to lead him to a completely contrived resolution introduced by a character – the Mother – we still don’t know yet. It’s a messy episode, rehashing old material and retconning pieces of the past, all for the sake of superficial drama that doesn’t matter, a relationship that feels more forced with every episode – and in the specific case of “Platonish”, an A-list cameo that unfortunately fails on every level.

There’s really only one way to describe this episode: pointless – and that’s being kind. At its worst, “Platonish” walks around the same tired “Ted still has feelings for Robin” material, pulling the timeline back six months to focus on a Harlem Globetrotters game Ted and Marshall attended (Jason Segel, still completely separated from his wife, at least gets to be with another regular for once) and the “diapers and mamosas” story that is so important to the future weddings of the HIMYM crew. The former of these is definitely funnier (Marshall and Ted cheering for the Washington Generals, heckling the referees and such, is terrific), but even then, it’s a simple, rehashed conversation being presented from another angle.

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What are we supposed to feel when Ted decides not to take the shitty Chicago job to “finish some things” in NYC? By showing us that Ted already has procured Robin’s old necklace, we know that Ted still hasn’t dealt with his feelings for Robin once and for all. “Platonish” was an opportunity to rectify that, to destroy the mystery and emotional significance behind his wedding gift, by showing a Ted who was finally ready to let go, embracing a new opportunity in Chicago and finally realizing him and Robin were not meant to be together. Not only would it give a more platonic, advantageous appearance to his scenes in the season eight finale, but it would show a growing Ted: right now, this Ted mired in the same bullshit he’s been ignoring for eight years (and on the precipice of trying to ruin his friend’s wedding, which we know will blow over in the next 30 hours somehow) is not someone who deserves (or could even be ready) to meet the woman of his dreams.

Which brings us to the Mother and her presence in this episode… it’s fucking ludicrous, folks. I’ve expected the end of HIMYM to indulge itself in some sappy, romanticized wish fulfillment: but having some stranger be the woman who convinces Barney to pull off the single most annoying, endearing stunt (The Robin) he’s ever pulled off doesn’t quite make her an endearing person. How does she know Barney is a good person, when in fact all of her other dialogue suggests she doesn’t believe that statement? And how can she read Barney in an instant… is she just that perfect? (well, she’s dating a guy she doesn’t want to be with in the flashbacks, so apparently not… but you catch my drift).

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The Mother meeting Barney such a long time before the wedding – and making her such an important part of Barney’s growth – is the kind of hokey move I’d hoped How I Met Your Mother would avoid this season. At least, avoid it until we understood what kind of person the Mother is: inserting her in this particular scene, with only two brief appearances in the past to understand her by, makes her a white-washed NYC seer in this episode, the woman who can see through the city’s most legendary dirtbag skirt-chaser in a suit, and see the mature man waiting to burst out inside. And she’s stringing along a boyfriend, just waiting for the guy who can’t let go of an eight-year old, less-than-a-year-long relationship to come along and sweep her off her feet. If I’m supposed to believe Ted deserves a happy ending, How I Met Your Mother has a lot of work to do – and not a lot of time left to do it.

 

Other thoughts/observations:

– please not the Olive Theory again. Please.

– “Major Craving for a Mojito!”

– Nicholas Sparks jokes?

– Cranston as Druthers is unfortunately terrible in this episode. His filmed bits feel like recorded sketches in front of a live audience, a series of ad-libs and blind reactions that feel as forced, lonesome, and rushed as they look.

– Let me paraphrase Ted’s voiceover while Barney prepares The Robin: “I’ve been dying to get married for eight years… but what’s the rush to figure out my feelings for a girl I’ve been madly in love with the whole time.” Does this make any sense?

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– Randy