People naturally fall in and out of relationships. However, the relationships that matter are the ones that seem to leave a residual aftermath that sometimes is not swept away for years to come. This reality gives meaning to the phrase “art imitates life.” During last week’s “The Ducky Tie,” Victoria’s brief return redirected Ted’s sight towards the remnants of his off again/on again relationship with Robin. The remnants of this relationship can be representative of anyone’s poor timing when it comes to the realization of the impact a person can have over them. However, Robin has a few remnants of her own to confront before she and Ted are afforded their final romantic closure (if that moment does ever come in the literal sense).
Naturally, “The Stinson Missile Crisis” picks things up from the perspective of Robin. This leads to the open of the episode which veers away from the norm of Bob Saget voicing an older version of Ted that’s telling a story to his kids. Instead, we open with Robin attending court mandated therapy with a therapist played by Kal Penn. From here, we quickly learn that Robin has had a hard time accepting that Barney is maturing and is falling in love with Nora. This revelation leads Robin crying under her desk at World Wide News with a bottle of Wine.
Robin decides to handle things in an adult manner by suggesting Nora receive an opportunity to work in France for a few days while she plots her next move with Barney. Robin finds the opening she needs as Barney finds himself in a predicament due to his normal shenanigans. Barney and Robin must disable of all the systems that Barney has set up over the years to score women (including props, Breast Reduction Consultations, Port Authority, and a gay stylist with a straight twin brother) and accomplish this feat before Nora return. These Shenanigans for Barney is where I feel this show has hurt itself in the past. Barney has always been like a bad James Bond thus showing what makes his character fun. Barney striking out over the years has given Barney an endearing quality. However, this show sometimes finds itself abusing Barney’s shenanigans, thus, turning Barney into a caricature of himself. This makes Barney a glaring example of this show during its weaker moments during the middle seasons that had this series at times entering “over the top sitcom” land.
The last of Barney’s props, The Cold Call 5000, comes into play as he and Robin are leaving for MacClaren’s Bar. This prop calls any woman who inquired about pasties between the age of 22-25 with a prerecorded message Barney has attached to the machine. This time a woman is actually heading to meet Barney. In a quick twist, Nora returns to New York early from MacClaren’s and wants Barney to take her to dinner. Robin finds herself in a moral dilemma about how to approach the situation with the “blonde bimbo” that is crazy enough to respond to Barney’s message.
Meanwhile in the ‘B’ story, Ted must also learn that he can’t cling on to Marshall and Lily’s relationship as a third wheel when his dating life is in a rut. Last week’s revelation with Victoria has left Ted getting heavily involved in Marshall and Lily’s pregnancy which includes a Team Baby T-shirt. Lily finally draws the line when Ted rails against a Dr. Sonia whose responses to Lily’s cravings for things not allowed during a pregnancy is “just a little bit.” Lily pushes Ted away, but Marshall wants what’s best for the baby and has second thoughts leading both guys to attend an awkward birthing class together (“I knew she wasn’t coming when she had us both take separate cabs.”) The awkwardness makes Ted feel guilty and admit that Lily and Marshall are his crutch for the issues he has with his single life, thus, leading both guys to make amends with Lily.
Robin states in the opening, “It all ties together.” Her story does tie together, but one shouldn’t accuse her tie of snugness. Marshall apologizes to Lily and comments on Dr. Sonia’s calm nature, which leads to a comical quick glimpse of the delivery room later in the year. Robin finds Ted sitting at home after she coaches up the blonde bimbo on ruining Barney and Nora’s dinner, and Ted’s words about taking a step back to help out friends instills her with guilt. Robin attacks the Cold Call 5000 girl while simultaneously explaining her court mandated therapy and showing Barney and Nora at Cafe L’Amour which is one of the sweeter moments this show has delivered in awhile.
“Stinson Missile Crisis” is not without its flaws; however, this episode made me think about a comment older Ted made in pointing out that over time this gang began to let life happen outside of their gang and inevitably grew apart. It didn’t mean that their friendships weekend, but their priorities changed as they embraced their 30s. At the heart, this show has nothing to do with meeting a mother. This show is ultimately about five friends maneuvering through their late twenties and being forced to accept the seriousness of being in their 30s, and I think we will see this drifting take place over the course of this season. This drifting is what ultimately will force Ted to confront handling things on his own and then that’s when the audience will seriously hear “…and kids, that’s the story of how I met your mother.” Until that point, Bays and Thomas can have a lot of fun of using Robin to say, “It all ties together. I promise.”
Episode Grade: C+