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Letting Go, How I Met Your Mother “Sunrise” 

Photo Credit: Carin Baer/Fox © 2013 Fox Television
Photo Credit: Carin Baer/Fox © 2013 Fox Television

In this week’s episode of How I Met Your Mother, Ted finally reveals to Robin the two biggest secrets he has kept from her all season, Marshall is visited by some ghosts, and Barney teaches two new wingmen how to live.

“Sunrise” brought on extreme feelings of nostalgia from all the guest stars in this episode. Three of Ted’s exes from past seasons made an appearance this week as Sarah Chalke, Ashley Williams, and Abby Elliott all returned to reprise their roles as Stella, Victoria, and Jeanette respectively. It is amazing the lengths Ted is still willing to go just for Robin. He contacted three ex-girlfriends just so that he could retrieve her locket. Even Ted’s exes thought he was being irrational. Robin is someone he has been fixated with for eight years (ever since the Pilot really) and as we all know, she’s not the woman he ends up with. For me, it has become excruciating to see Ted struggle with his unrequited love for Robin.

In the beginning of “Sunrise,” Future Ted mentions the lesson he learned as a child that when it comes to the things you love, you can never let them go or you will lose them forever. It is evident that Ted is painfully holding on to his feelings for Robin. He confesses to her that the reason that he and Victoria broke up was because Victoria made him choose between a relationship with her or his friendship with Robin. Ted then goes on to tell Robin about his intentions of moving to Chicago after her wedding to Barney due to the fact that he still in love with her. By the time the sun rises, Ted literally and figuratively lets go of Robin as she floats angelically into the sky.

“Sunrise” resolves season nine’s two major story lines with Ted finally being able let go of Robin, and Lily and Marshall deciding to stay in New York and not move to Italy.

Other Thoughts

-This episode in particular has really highlighted how season nine has served as a gift to longtime fans. I love all the references to past seasons included this week. “Sunrise” has been like HIMYM’s version of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past with appearances of Stella, Victoria, and Jeanette, but also with Robin ranking Ted’s five best and worst relationships.

-Speaking of ghosts, I enjoyed the scenes with Marshall, “ghost” Lily and 2006 Lily. I’ve always admired how How I Met Your Mother really tries to pay close attention to continuity when it comes to Lily’s hairstyles. I have to give credit to Alyson for really nailing the younger and more naïve version of Lily for earlier seasons. 2006 was definitely the year of Borat, MySpace, and James Blunt’s one-hit wonder. Hindsight is funny. Also, you can’t have any ghosts without Bill Fagerbakke returning as Marshall’s dad, Marvin Sr.

-As for the Barney storyline with Justin and Kyle, it had such a bittersweet feel to it. This is truly the last time we will see him as a wingman. With his wedding a mere 13 hours away and Ted soon to meet The Mother thereafter, this is the end of Barney as we know him. He taught Justin and Kyle the same exact things he did Ted when they first met, from suiting up (Tim Gunn appears once again as himself and Barney’s personal tailor), to playing “Have you met…” and eventually passing on the rewritten napkin version of The Playbook. Barney is walking away from the game and his bachelor life just as Ted is learning to let go of Robin.

-We still haven’t found out who Lily called last week when she left the Farhampton Inn.

-The last scene as a another reference to Ted and Robin’s first date makes it hard to believe that the Pilot first aired almost nine years ago. In the Pilot, Future Ted mentions him eventually asking Robin years later if she gave him the signal to kiss after their first day and how he could have — this is that moment.

What They Said aka Favorite Quotes

Ted: “I’m in love with her! Okay? If you’re looking for the word that means caring about someone beyond all rationality and wanting them to have everything they want no matter how much it destroys you, it’s love. And when you love someone, you just… you don’t stop. Ever. Even when people roll their eyes or call you crazy. Even then. Especially then. You just, you don’t give up, because if I give up… If I could just take the whole world’s advice and move on and find someone else, that wouldn’t be love. That would be some other disposable thing that is not worth fighting for. But that is not what this is.”

Barney: “A few final thoughts, don’t get married until you’re thirty. Play laser tag once a week. Give at least as many high fives as you get. Teacup pigs are lady magnets, but are very hard to care for… Not worth the effort. The same goes for dogs and babies. And most importantly, whatever you do in this life… it’s not legendary unless your friends are there to see it. Good luck boys. Take care of the game for me.”

How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS. The next new episode is in two weeks — Feb. 24.


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  1. Heather M

    Nicely done, Julian.

    This made me think of “The Letting Go” by Melissa Etheridge.

    1. Julian Encarnacion

      I wasn’t familiar with the song, but after listening and reading the lyrics I agree 100%. Thanks for reading!

  2. Alberto

    I have just watched the episode for the first time. It really was a gift for the longtime fans. Not only because of the references, but also because the way it showed the end of an era. It’s like everything resolved: Barney left the game forever, Ted finally let Robin go, Marshall and Lily got over the San Francisco thing, which for me was always kind of an open thread. And all of it, in very emotional ways. Specially touching for me was the final Barney advice: “And most importantly, whatever you do in this life… it’s not legendary unless your friends are there to see it”. It’s just so true, and so HIMYM. And shows how his friends were always, really, everything for Barney. I don’t think there was a better way of showing Barney leaving the game… and giving us an incredible life lesson that maybe is just all HIMYM (and Friends, and other significant sitcoms) are about: “hold on to your true friends”. By Barney Stinson.

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