Having people in your life who you’d do anything for — even go to jail — that’s the dream, so said Barney at the top of tonight’s How I Met Your Mother. And right he is. But as he — and we — were reminded this hour, sometimes one of the best things you can do for someone you care about is let them go.
But how did we arrive at such a poignant lesson? A troublemaking wedding attendee named Darren (Andrew Rannells) is partly responsible and I’ll explain how in a bit. First, let me tell you about Darren, the emotional proctologist who caused a lot of problems for the gang in tonight’s fall finale.
We met charming Darren at the beginning of the episode when he immediately hit it off with Lily and Robin, who both were unable to immediately identify his connection to the festivities. Robin knew he was not related to her because he had all his fingers and teeth, but since he seemed to know them well enough, they didn’t think twice about warming up to him. And, admittedly, I trusted him too…until The Mother revealed the true story of this guy.
Darren, it turns out, was the slimy lead singer in her band, SuperFreakonomics, who not only was looking to bump The Mother out of the band that she started but was also a no-good, troublemaking, feud-starter! His schtick? He’d introduce himself to a pair of friends, tell a fake sob story about his life based off of a Disney movie (usually Bambi or Lion King), and then proceed to drive a wedge between the two people whose company he was keeping. We learned all this from The Mother as she was driving Marshall to the Inn after picking him up along the side of the road.
You probably have the same questions as I did while watching that unfold — um, didn’t we see her on the train to Farhampton? Well, there’s an explanation: Once she got to the Inn, she was prompted by Lily to get back at Darren for acting like a jerk. So she stole his van but, being “too nice,” she had planned on turning around to return it when she picked up the cutest hitchhiker she’d ever seen…and Marshall. Upon hearing this, Marshall gave The Mother some advice — she needed to stick up for herself and take back the band. So that’s what she planned on doing.
Back at the inn, Darren got Robin to open up about her true feelings about Lily and Marshall’s move to Rome and then quickly told Lily the truth. And when Lily learned that Robin secretly wanted Marshall to win the impending argument, Lily felt betrayed. And when it came to Barney and Ted, Darren dropped the bombshell that Ted was moving to Chicago. The news obviously crushed Barney — not just because Ted was leaving so soon but because Ted hadn’t been the one to tell him. “It’ll be easy to say goodbye now that I know how much I mean to you,” Barney told him.
Part of Ted knew it was wrong not to tell Barney about the move, so he attempted to make amends with Barney by stealing a $600 bottle of Scotch to show his dedication to him. (Stealing something of that value is considered Grand Larceny — an act punishable by jail time.) In essence, Ted proved he’d go to jail for Barney — the highest sacrifice possible according to the “Bro”ble.
Robin and Lily, too, made up by the end. Robin explained that she only said she would root for Marshall because she didn’t want to lose her best friend — but she acknowledged that was selfish. Robin’s mea culpa? She helped hold up Marshpillow so Lily could punch the crap out of it and take out some of her pent up frustrations about the matter. It helped for a bit. Then the real Marshall walked in.
I thought we were going to be left with that cliffhanger, and in a way we were. Upon laying eyes on each other, Lily and Marshall declared a fight pause and hugged each other. I was happy to see this, but would be lying if I said I was looking forward to the episode airing in January titled “Unpause.”
With everything at a standstill the gang decided to drink to their reunion — that is, until Darren accidentally bumped into Ted, breaking yet another bottle of extremely expensive scotch. Fuming, Ted punched Darren right in the eye, giving him a gnarly bruise and giving the future mother of his children the satisfaction of seeing the biggest jerk in her life get what was coming to him. (Oh, and he quit the band — bonus!) To thank the person behind the punch, she had Linus send her hero a drink — a glass of Glen McKenna ’35.
That would have been a great note to end the episode on, but this wouldn’t be HIMYM without a cliffhanger. In the final moments of the episode, Marshall revealed to Barney something he’d brought him. And no, it wasn’t a suit made out of prosciutto — it was the fourth slap.
Marshall’s hand pulled back, Barney pre-cringed…and we’ll see you in January, folks.
Best quote: “I swear to Hef.” — Ted
+ The Mother ordered the Kennedy Package. (Thanks, Linus!)
+ Marvin’s first words — “skunk junk.”
+ “Chicago? Is that even a real place?”