Way back in September, I was super excited about the return of Victoria on "How I Met Your Mother." She'd always been my favorite of Ted's girlfriends (and yes, I'm including Robin in that assessment), and I thought the show would do some awesome things with her back.
Well, it took THE ENTIRE REST OF THE SEASON, but they finally delivered on that in Monday's two-part finale, "The Magician's Code".
There was a ton of stuff happening in the first half of the episode, between Barney and Marshall trying to get back to New York, Ted and Robin trying to distract Lily from her labor pains with stories (leading to a ton of cutaway flashbacks, some funny, some not) and the eventual birth of the baby. The second half of the episode was a little more streamlined, focusing on Ted/Victoria and Barney/Quinn, but I really cared about two things:
- Victoria's return (in an incredible wedding dress)
- the reveal of the identity of Barney's bride
I'll get to the latter after the jump, but let's talk about Victoria first. As Robin correctly pointed out, she's the only one of Ted's longer term girlfriends who really could've been "the one", and he not only didn't fight for her, he dumped her to go after Robin, who was staunchly anti-family and anti-marriage at that point. That spurred Ted to call Victoria, who, as evidenced by the picture above, was clearly getting married, but decided to meet Ted anyway.
They talked, and Ted realized he had to do the right thing and get Victoria back to her wedding, but on the way there, he did the most un-Ted-like thing ever and drove past the church. Yay for Ted for just fucking going for it. Sure, this obviously won't end well, and will probably end after a single episode next season, but I'm in favor of anything that gets Ashley Williams back in my life.
Now, as for the OTHER big part of the second half of the episode...
While the Victoria/Ted thing was going on, Barney and Quinn were detained, because Barney was trying to bring some kind of explosive box magic trick on his big Hawaii trip with Quinn. Now, only the most dense of viewers couldn't have picked up on the fact that this was part of an elaborate wedding proposal, but they dragged it out for the length of the episode anyway. It actually wasn't too bad, just really telegraphed.
In the end, Barney revealed the trick, pulled out the ring and proposed to Quinn, who said yes. And of course, that totally bummed out Robin, who did a really shitty job of pretending to be happy for Barney. And that would've been sad, but in the last scene, "a little ways down the road", we find out the bride who needed Ted at Barney's wedding is... Robin.
Of course it was. I'm not necessarily opposed to Barney and Robin, but that was really the safe way out, and it didn't seem like we needed a season's worth of build-up to that reveal. Plus, it minimizes Quinn's role in the series to "girl who made Barney realize he was ready for marriage", which would be fine, except he was getting there on his own with Robin (remember the break-up with Nora?).
At this point, "How I Met Your Mother" really only has one card left in its deck, and no one expects that one to be pulled until next season's finale, if not later. So until then it's just showing us the predictable under the guise of it being shocking. Really, the disconnect between the show's "shocks" and reality is the same as the disconnect between Barney's telling of the TSA agent's magic trick and Quinn's version. The show thinks its giving us the woman who disappears from the X-ray machine and reemerges from a suitcase, but really it's just giving us a simple, mundane card trick. And more often than not, we're not that impressed.