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'How I Met Your Mother' 'Sunrise' Recap: The Time Has Come to Let Go

“I have to let go now.”

Ted may have intended those words for Robin at the end of “Sunrise,” but he might as well have been talking to us as well. With just seven new episodes left to go, we’re quickly approaching the moment when we’re going to have to let go of How I Met Your Mother.

The latest episode of HIMYM was saturated with the idea of letting go. Ted not only finally told Robin that he was moving to Chicago but also told her that she was the only relationship who had mattered to him, but made it clear that no matter how he felt, he was going to do everything in his power to make sure Robin married Barney. Marshall had a conversation with Ghost Lily, 2006 Lily and the ghost of his dad, which made him realize that he had to let go of the concept of winning and losing in his marriage before he actually lost Lily. Barney, still drunk from his night of Jabba the Hutt drunkenness, passed his knowledge of living life and a rough copy of The Playbook onto two unsuspecting guys he met on the road, leaving them with a final bit of knowledge, telling them, “Whatever you do in this life, it’s not legendary unless your friends are there to see it.”

When HIMYM’s final season began, we learned that Ted was looking for the locket Robin had once buried in Central Park with her dad, hoping to give it to her as a wedding gift. In “Sunrise,” we saw Ted make his way through several previous girlfriends as he tried to track down the locket. Ted called Stella, the woman who left him at the altar, and even flew three time zones across the country in hopes of retrieving the locket. When Stella didn’t have the locket, Ted called Victoria, who was now working at a bakery in Germany. She had the locket and shipped it back to him. Jeanette, Ted’s insane ex-girlfriend, intercepted the locket while rifling through Ted’s mail. She agreed to meet him to hand over the locket.

Now, let’s remember that Jeanette was crazy. She ransacked Ted’s apartment on numerous occasions, broke his belongings and eventually blew up Ted’s red cowboy boots and The Playbook. When Jeanette met up with Ted, though, she called him crazy for still being hung up on Robin.

“You’re still killing yourself to fetch dumb little trinkets for her? That’s crazy” Jeanette said. “That’s more than crazy. I don't think there's a word for what that is.”

By questioning Ted’s love for Robin, Jeanette had found his breaking point.

“There is a word for that: It’s love,” Ted said. “I’m in love with her, OK? If you’re looking for the word that means caring for someone beyond all rationality and wanting them to have everything they want even if it destroys you, it’s love. And when you love someone, you don’t stop. Ever. Even when people roll their eyes and call you crazy, even then — especially then — you don’t give up. Because if I could give up, if I could just take the whole world’s advice and just move on and find someone else, that wouldn’t be love. That would be ... that would be some other disposable thing that’s not worth fighting for. But that’s not what this is.”

Can Ted please just meet The Mother now? He’s suffered long enough. There’s only one way Ted will ever really get over Robin, and that’s by meeting the woman who will become his wife. And she’s so close too. While Ted is out on the beach telling Robin how’s he’s moving to Chicago and how she’s the only relationship that mattered to him, The Mother is in the room next to his at the Farhampton Inn. He’s so close. C’mon, HIMYM, end Ted’s suffering and let him meet her.

I’m sure some HIMYM fans groaned at the idea of another episode about Ted’s undying love for Robin, but I think “Sunrise” was different. I think Ted has finally let go of her. Yes, he’ll always still love her, but this time he knows that they’re never going to be together. (Unless that theory that The Mother is dead, Barney and Robin broke up, and now Ted is marrying Robin is true, of course.) There was never a “will they or won’t they?” moment in this episode, a change from past Ted/Robin episodes like in last season’s “Something Old.” After reconnecting with Stella, Victoria and even Jeanette, Ted is ready to move on. Sure, he thinks that moving on requires shifting his entire life to Chicago, but he’ll learn soon enough that he’ll be able to move on without having to leave his life in New York.

If you love HIMYM like I do, it was hard to not get a little choked up watching Ted and Robin on the beach. There was closure there, a strange concept after watching those two twist in and out of each other’s lives for over eight years. Very soon, we’re going to have to let go of this show, and like Ted’s conflicted feelings toward Robin, it’s not going to be easy.

You don’t love a TV show like you love another person, but it’s still possible to do so in a different, pop-culturey kind of way. For over eight seasons, we’ve watched Ted, Robin and the rest of their gang go through life. They’ve had their hearts broken, they’ve experienced great joys, and all along we’ve been there with them. I’ve always found parts of Ted’s journey that echoed parts of my life, and with the show wrapping up, there’s a feeling that I’m going to lose something. The idea of a How I Met Your Dad spinoff doesn’t really appeal to me. That’s someone else’s story. HIMYM was my story, the show I began watching when I was just some 19-year-old kid. As the number of episodes left continues to dwindle, I’m sure this is going to sink in more. “Sunrise” was really the first time that the finality of these moments — watching Ted let go of Robin — struck me.

Barney’s storyline this episode could have been a throwaway plot, but it was not only a nice growth moment for his character, it also served as a callback to HIMYM’s very early days. While drunkenly wandering down the road in Farhampton, Barney came across two guys, Justin and Kyle, who were having trouble talking to girls. They had actually just made a downpayment on an adult bunk bed, so yeah, things weren’t going great for them. Barney gave them an abbreviated lesson in how to live, taking them to a strip club, teaching them about the buffet, visiting Tim Gunn to get suits made, demonstrating the magic of the line “Have you met …” and finally letting them know that none of those things matter if they don’t have friends to share those moments with. In a few scenes, HIMYM showed us that Barney had graduated from being the bro we met way back in Season 1 to now being a man on the cusp of marriage, fully aware of what really matters in his life.

I don’t know if I completely bought Marshall and Lily’s storyline. With the help of the ghost of current-day Lily, Lily from 2006 and the ghost of his dad, Marshall worked through his argument with Lily, eventually realizing that he had to let go of the idea of winning or losing in his marriage. Lily was never actually going to uproot their family and move to Italy — she just wanted to know that Marshall would support her in the endeavour and not go behind her back when it came to making huge life decisions like accepting judgeships. At the end of the episode, the real Lily returned and they made up.

Like I said, I don’t know if I completely buy the resolution to Lily and Marshall’s fight. In “Unpause,” Marshall said some pretty hurtful things to Lily. Even worse, I think he had the right to say a few of those things, especially calling back on the fact that she left him to move to San Francisco and only returned when her dreams out there didn’t come true. And now all of those things are just forgotten? I understand that the point of Marshall’s storyline was that he had to stop worrying about winning fights, but he and Lily weren’t fighting over something like leaving an empty milk carton in the fridge. Marshall questioned the entire foundation their marriage and family was built on. How does that just get shrugged away?

Notes and quotes 
Barney to Justin and Kyle: “Boys, today is your lucky day. Because today, I’m gonna teach you how to …” Vomits. “… live. Who’s got gum?” Besides the vomiting part, that’s almost exactly what Barney said to Ted when they first met.

Ted’s life lesson from losing his balloon best friend at age 7: “If you love something, you can never let it go. Not even for a second. Or it’s gone forever.”

Ted to Stella: “You know what’s weird, Stella? Not seeing Star Wars until you’re 30.”

Robin’s top five Ted girlfriends: Stella, Zoey, the Slutty Pumpkin, Marshall while he and Ted were pretending to be a couple as Barney tried to sell his apartment and Victoria. Robin’s worst five Ted girlfriends: Blah Blah, Boats Boats Boats, Karen, Zoey (she made both lists) and Jeanette.

In fairness to Ted, he didn't just leave Victoria because she wanted him to stop being friends with Robin — he left Victoria because HIMYM transformed her from everyone's favorite Ted girlfriend to an awful character. They didn't have a good reason for Ted to break up with her, so the show had to ruin Victoria last season.

2006 Lily asking Ghost Lily about the current world: “How many Myspace friends do I have now? Has James Blunt put out the steady stream of No. 1 hits we all expect from him?”

Tim Gunn questioning Kyle and Justin’s fashion choices: “Is this a costume party and you’re going as 1994?”

Ted telling Robin why he couldn’t be with Victoria if it meant he couldn’t still be friends with her: “I’m not going to answer the question because you know the answer. You wanna talk about my top five? There’s no top five, Robin. There’s just a top one — and it’s you. And the only reason I’m saying any of this is because I know it’s not going to change anything. You and Barney are getting married today.”

Barney’s life advice: “Give at least as many high fives as you get.”
'How I Met Your Mother' 'Sunrise' Recap: The Time Has Come to Let Go Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 2/03/2014 Rating: 5

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