(This review contains a major spoiler for Monday's episode of "How I Met Your Mother" -- no, it's not THAT spoiler... we still don't know the identity of the mother -- so don't read it unless you've seen the episode or are OK with being spoiled)
After what was essentially 20 minutes of pure "How I Met Your Mother"-style silliness, the show took a deadly serious turn -- literally -- in the final minute by killing off Marshall's father, who'd played a major role in the episode and had been a recurring character since the first season.
I'm normally the kind of person who can pick up on a twist ending, but I didn't see that coming at all, and even though it's just a fictional character (and a relatively minor one) on a show I don't even count among my favorites, that ending hit me like a ton of bricks. It was so well-written and well-executed that it's easy to forget that it was completely out of tone with the rest of the episode.
As I mentioned above, the first 20 minutes were filled with typical silliness. Marshall and Lily were still having trouble conceiving, so they went to see a fertility doctor -- one who turned out to be the elusive fifth doppelganger. The scenes between Marshall, Lily, Barney and Dr. NotStinson (not his actual name, but that's what I'm calling him) were great, especially the scene where Barney, with an obviously fake beard, tried to get Marshall to sign up for for a pairs laser tag tournament as part of a prescription.
It turned out that Lily was perfectly fertile, which led Marshall to believe he may be the problem. He couldn't "give a sample" at the doctors office, so he went to do it at home, where his parents had dropped by for a random visit (Marshall had been avoiding his dad's calls ever since the fertility issue arose). The scene with Marshall trying to "perform" in the bathroom while his parents said inappropriate things through the door was clichéd but great.
Meanwhile, Robin showed up to work at her new job and was immediately embarrassed by former co-anchor and all-around-douche Sandy Rivers (played by one of my favorite guest stars, "Angel"'s Alexis Denisof). First Sandy declared to the office that he'd had sex with Robin, thinking that would be the only reason he remembered her, then realized he remembered her because of the horse manure incident. That led to a montage of all the embarrassing Robin moments -- the Tokyo show, the saying things Barney told her to say on the air, the Robin Sparkles stuff -- which was laugh-out-loud funny.
Ted got involved with Robin's story in a minor way, though really it was only good for a "Sandy wears a toupée" moment (I did love the touch that Sandy's weird sex thing that was going on in the background was totally glossed over by Robin and all his other co-workers). Again, one of the better episodes of this season was one that was light on Ted moments.
Still, as fun as the doppelganger and the Robin moments and Sandy's toupée were, there's a reason this episode was called "Bad News", and if you haven't seen it yet, here it is.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.