It's Friday, 6 pm. The poker game, started in the previous episode, continues. To be honest, this is one of those episodes that I forgot almost the second I watched it. There was nothing offensively bad about it, but it just didn't do much to keep my attention. One of the plots was really dull, and the other had a few good laughs but ultimately not much of a payoff. Let's take a look.
So, as the poker game progresses, Robin is getting increasingly annoyed with James' persistent jabs against marriage. She talks to Barney about it, but he insists that he doesn't want to take sides. Robin takes matters into her own hands by betting and winning James' wedding ring. Then, James' and Barney's mom enters the scene and demands Robin give the ring back. Barney tries to convince her to play nice, but instead she goes back to the poker game and cleans everyone else out, getting Loretta's blouse in a round of strip poker. Barney is torn, once again anxious about taking sides. After some advice from Lily that says the wife is always right, Barney decides to cut ties with his brother and his mother for Robin. Only one problem: he tells them that the whole thing is Robin's idea.
So... there were a few potentially funny parts of this episode. I enjoyed Barney's realization that James was a bad husband, and his determination to be a better one for Robin. But beyond that, I was mostly just bored by this plot line. I find myself not caring at all about Robin and Loretta's feud or any of the rest of it. Only time will tell if something in this thread will grab my attention in the future.
Then there's the other plot. Ted is discussing the awesome wedding gifts he plans to give Barney and Robin, which makes Lily very angry. She calls Marshall, and he's also upset to hear that Ted is planning on giving the soon-to-be-married couple three separate gifts. Why? Well, apparently Ted never got Marshall and Lily a wedding gift. As the episode continues, however, we learn that Ted did get them a coffee maker, and that he has been bitter all this time for never receiving a thank you note. In a series of hilarious flashbacks, we see Ted and Marshall passive-aggressively attempt to get what they feel they deserve from one another.
This also pulls in an old recurring character Stuart, who, it turns out, signed his name to Ted's gift to take credit for it. The flashbacks were pretty funny, and the episode ends on a happy note as Ted gets someone to deliver a special pizza to Marshall while he's still on the road with Daphne.
The plot was cute, but again nothing particularly memorable or special. Still, good use of flashbacks. Over all this episode doesn't feel like one that belongs in the last season of such a strong show. Where's the Mother? Where's the wedding drama? I want more!