Monday, February 13, 2012

How I Met Your Mother: 7x16, "The Drunk Train"

Last week's episode of How I Met Your Mother, "The Burning Beekeeper," was pretty bad. It was clear that the segmented format of the episode was an attempt to recreate the magic of an episode like "Brunch," but it was almost sad how much it failed to do so. With "The Burning Beekeeper" fresh in my mind, I didn't have great expectations for this week's episode, "The Drunk Train." Perhaps it's partially because my expectations were so low, but I surprisingly really enjoyed "The Drunk Train."

Photo: Ron P. Jaffe/CBS © 2012 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This week's storylines featured the following pairs: Barney and Ted, Lily and Marshall, and Robin and Kevin.

Barney and Ted received the title storyline, the drunk train. In addition to Barney and Ted's attempts to capitalize on a train full of drunk girls, there was also a focus on Barney's infatuation with Quinn, a girl who's smart enough not to fall for his tricks. Barney and Ted being paired up often leads to some pretty fun storylines, and this episode was no exception. The drunk train bit was fun, and it's the kind of storyline I could see fitting into an episode from some of the earlier seasons. I particularly liked Ted's realization that the key to the drunk train is to "get drunk." (Side note: Between "This ain't my first word search" and "Last week, I went out with a girl whose favorite band is Glee," Ted had some great lines tonight). The "girl who's wise to Barney's lines" storyline feels like territory that the show's covered before (Nora springs to mind), but I thought it worked pretty well. Quinn was likable, and I liked the reveal that she knew so much about Barney because she works at the Lusty Leopard (I had to rewind that last scene to make sure it wasn't just one of Barney's fantasies).

The Lily and Marshall storyline was cute, albeit a bit forgettable. I enjoyed the absence of Lily's father because his character has become overused. I can't quite remember if he moved out in the last episode or if he was just missing for this episode, but either way, it was a good move not to include him in "The Drunk Train." The look forward to Lily and Marshall post-baby was interesting, and I'm curious how their characters are going to handled once they become parents.

The first comment I'd like to make about the Robin and Kevin storyline is Hallelujah. Kevin and Robin's breakup was probably the best thing to come out of this episode. I have nothing against Kal Penn, but I'm of the fairly common opinion that Kevin has been this season's Zoe. Both characters dragged down the show and were much too unlikable to appear in as many episodes as they did. It's a credit to Cobie Smulder's acting that I felt so bad for Robin despite my joy at what is hopefully the end of Kevin. I think their breakup was handled really well. I love that Robin was open and honest to Kevin, and it was refreshing there wasn't any wacky sitcom shenanigans involved in their split.

I'd be remiss if I didn't address that scene between Robin and Ted near the end of the episode. I'm not quite sure what to think about Ted's declaration of love, but my gut reaction was "not this again." I've always liked Robin and Ted together, and I think they made a really cute couple. However, it just seems like the show's treading water at this point. We already know the Robin's not the mother, and they've already even briefly revisited the idea of Ted and Robin. It seems odd that Ted would express feelings for Robin when they broke up for similar reasons to those that Kevin and Robin broke up for. Ted's outburst could have several different outcomes, so I'll wait to see what happens before fully making a judgment on the scene. Still, I'm somewhat skeptical about it.

Did you watch "The Drunk Train?" What are your thoughts on the episode? How do you feel about Kevin and Robin splitting up? What are your thoughts on Ted declaring his feelings for Robin? If you want to share, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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