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'How I Met Your Mother' Recap: John Lithgow Returns In Episode 'Mom And Dad'

Kevin Olsta Kevin Olsta
November 19th, 2013 9:08am EST

How I Met Your Mother

Last week Robin was dealing with the fact that her mother was not going to make it to her wedding, but one family member that was making the trip out was Barney’s dad.  Jerry, played by the incomparable John Lithgow, was reunited with Barney a couple of seasons ago after being absent for most of Barney’s childhood. 

When Barney sees Jerry run into his mom, Loretta, he gets the childish notion that maybe his parents could get back together.  He decides to put together one of his patented elaborate schemes, but this one may have been a bit over the top.  Barney sends Jerry’s wife Sheryl on a trip to the beach, where he told her that Jerry would be parasailing.  Then back at the inn, Barney traps Jerry and Loretta in an elevator and creates a romantic atmosphere. 

Earlier in the day, Barney had asked Ted to take care of a signed photo of Wayne Gretzky that he had bought for Robin.  “The best man is on it,” replied Ted.  However, when Ted emerged from taking a shower he found the photo sitting in a pool of ink on his bedroom table.  He was sure he couldn’t have spilled the ink on accident.  Could he have been sabotaged?  Ted explains the situation to Lily, and tells her that detective Mosby is on the case.  Lily tells Ted that he is a horrible detective, citing the eight year old case of The Pineapple Incident that he had recently given up on. 

James, Barney’s half-brother, rescues Jerry and Loretta from the elevator.  He tells Barney that he’s being crazy.  On its face it appeared that James was being the voice of reason, but really he had the ulterior motive of getting Loretta back together with his father instead.  James’ father had agreed to be the new officiate at Barney and Robin’s wedding, and had recently arrived at the inn.  It turns out James didn’t have to do any scheming at all, as Loretta and Sam were already seeing each other behind their back.  James is elated, while Barney is clearly heart-broken. 

Ted has three main suspects:  Billy Zabka, a bellhop, and Robin’s cousin from Quebec.  He mainly suspects Zabka, who promised revenge on Ted for replacing him as Barney’s best man.  However, Billy has an alibi that he was getting a massage at the spa.  When the bellhop and Robin’s cousin end up being dead ends, Ted begins to doubt himself.  Lily points out that his ink remover works, and that she would work on fixing the photo if Ted came clean to Barney about ruining it.  Ted is about to go confess, when he sees a hotel employee call Jerry William Zabka.  “Why do you think that’s Billy Zabka?” Ted inquires.  The employee says that the man had a massage that was paid for by a younger man as a gift.  It was Zabka all along.  He had taken the photo, and replaced the one in Ted’s room with one of his headshots and spilled ink all over it.  When Ted eventually told Barney that he had ruined the photo, Billy planned to swoop in to save the day saying that he had bought a replacement from a local memorabilia dealer.  When asked why he did it, he tells the story of how everyone saw him as the bad guy, except for Barney.  The story touched Ted, and he decides to let Zabka have his moment of glory with Barney and tell the fake story that he swooped in to save the day.   

This was the 57th episode of the series credited to show creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.  Their style is always evident in every episode they write, although they may have gotten a bit ambitious with this one.  This episode had three different storylines.  I enjoyed the Detective Mosby who-done-it, and feel like it could have taken on a more prominent role in the episode.  I loved the reference to The Pineapple Incident, which is probably my favorite episode of the series.  However, it took the back seat to a main story line about Barney, James, and their fathers, which I found to be sort of annoying.  The whole thing was kind of over-the-top silly.  There was also a C story with Marshall and Daphne that was touching, but pretty unnecessary.  This will likely be the last time we see Sherri Shepherd as Daphne.

Next week’s episode “Bedtime Stories” is also written by show creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.  The legend continues Monday 8 7c on CBS.

Photo Credits: CBS