"How I Met Your Mother" is now in its sixth season, and sometimes it comes off feeling a little predictable. Last night was not one of those times.
In "Natural History", we learned that Ted's nemesis Zoey is actually a high-society wife, and after a bit of duplicitiousness from both of them, a friendship seemed to be budding. As much as I'm loving Jennifer Morrison as Zoey, last night's episode was stolen by Kyle MacLachlan as George "The Captain" Van Smoot, aka Zoey's husband. His interactions with Ted led to my second-favorite moment of the episode, when he admitted to Ted that "The Captain" was a self-assigned title and that all the best nicknames are given by yourself, leading Ted to call himself "Galactic President Superstar McAwesomeville." Nice.
But as much as I wish I could say this episode was about Ted and Zoey, it was really about growing up. When Ted called Zoey "a bored little trophy wife who likes to play activist when the shops on Fifth Avenue are closed", that wasn't a childish insult, it was an adult insight. When Marshall admitted to Lily that he wanted to take the five-year offer from GNB, it was about putting the dreams of his youth aside for the responsibility of adulthood.
And then there was Barney. Sure, he and Robin were acting like little kids, touching all the exhibits that had "Do Not Touch" signs, but Barney was confronted with adulthood in a real way when he found out about his father. Unlike a lot of past moments on this show, this was played down, and not played for laughs. It really caught me off guard -- much like it caught Barney off guard -- and it totally worked. The aftermath scene with him and Robin was even better, and you can see the two of them bonding more than they did when they were in a relationship with each other.
In all honesty, this may have been my favorite episode of the season. Sure, it wasn't as laugh-out-loud funny as some of the others (though the sight of Barney decked out in the Egyptian costume was pretty good), but it was, well, more grown up. And I think that's a good thing.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.