Love is the elixir that fixes people. Barney Stinson’s magic fixer elixir was made out of love for his friends, in their moments of greatest need. The series will enter its final month next Monday. “Rally” kicks off the final run of episodes for the series with a declaration of the series’ purpose, its mission statement: that love heals and transforms. Carter Bays and Carter Thomas take the roundest of roundabout roads to arrive that particular poignant point, but that’s old hat. The roundest of roundabout roads includes detours into the future where the friends remain coupled, successful, and betraying their vows not to horribly imbibe while in the Elysium of their lives. The friends rallied together in the hours before the fateful wedding that changed lives and brought Ted the other half of his soul.
Don’t we all need to rally as How I Met Your Mother airs its final episodes? Nine seasons of a story that could’ve been told in four; a final four seasons that have been atrocious; and a horribly executed gimmick in the final season. The end nears, though—perhaps that’s why I smiled several times tonight. TV writers don’t end a long-running series with one ending. There are several endings throughout the final episodes of a series. Those endings spark beginnings that one can imagine and then write fan-fiction about for years after. “Rally” throws in some of those endings. Barney’s arc from Bro to Relatable Human basically completes. Barney’s wild stories, tricks, sleights-of-hand, and all else he’s ever done, were his ways of helping his friends, connecting with them, and loving them.
The gang collected items for Barney’s hangover elixir. Throughout the search for the items, Future Ted flashes back further, and flashes forward, to explain what happened when each one broke their ‘no drinking til near-death’ vow, and to show where each one was when Barney gave to them what looked like the concoction developed by the memorable-but-fictitious Dr. Jekyll. Barney never told them the secret ingredient of the elixir. Barney’s omission of what made the drink work led to the gang devising various ways to rouse him from unconsciousness so that he could name what they missed. Barney’s been cursed by his upbringing to repress what he feels and to cartoonishly live his life. Okay, that’s a bit too much to lay onto a shallow and mostly superfluous secondary character. Barney’s that guy you know who can’t be serious unless cosmically influenced. Barney’s depiction sort of reflects the modern person’s inability to not turn whatever he or she consumes into farce, satire, jokes--to deplete something meaningful with irony. The only way Barney could tell his friends that he loves them is when he won’t remember telling them, or else he’ll explode.
Barney helped his friends after a hard night of drinking, all at the most momentous moments of their lives. The elixir helped Ted after Stella left him at the altar. Barney promised Ted that he’d move past identifying himself as the guy left at the altar. The elixir helped Robin when she doubted herself before returning to the airwaves. Marshall thought he blew an interview. Lily worried about a kindergarten field trip (which briefly thawed my icy HIMYM heart). Present-day gang vow not to experience a hangover like Barney’s, but Ted reveals that every one horribly drank one night in the future. For Marshall, he imbibed when convinced he lost an election; for Lily, she drank after moving Marvin to college; for Ted, he drank in celebration of his wife’s published book; and Mrs. Ted Mosby drank in celebration of the New Year. The connective theme was love. Each hungover episode was connected by a momentous event: a marriage, a book, an election, etc. Love put a button on the scenes from the future. The last scene of the episode belonged to Ted and The Mother. The Mother nursed a mean hangover, and Ted brought to her the elixir of love, which brought out her own feelings of love for her husband, followed by the offspring of their love: their own lovely son and daughter. The bedroom scene descended into loving chaos. Yes, love.
The gang repays Barney’s loving kindness with A Weekend at Barney’s photo shoot for the wedding, which briefly earns him the respect of Robin’s father. The Weekend at Barney’s was my least favorite part of the episode and a reminder of what I won’t miss about the series.
-Any one else notice how similar Alyson Hanigan and Cristin Milioti look? I mistook Hanigan for Milioti in the opening limo scene. Perhaps I’m the only one who noticed it.