The Wife:

A goat brawl? BRoLove? Marshall dressed up as Dracula? Acknowledgement of the master plot? What more could I have asked for in the HIMYM season 4 finale?

While the gang tries to throw Ted a surprise birthday party, he spends most of the night working on his hat building, until a mysterious visitor appears . . . a goat Lily rescued from a farmer who announced to her Kindergarten class that he was going to kill it. The goat grows obsessed with a washcloth from the bathroom, and gets very, very angry at Ted for taking it from him . . . causing him to get into a fight with said animal that he misremembers as being much more violent than it actually was. Nonetheless, it was enough to land him in the hospital, officially squelching the surprise party.

This goat is the best actor in the world.

This goat is the best actor in the world.

But during that surprise party on the roof, Marshall contemplates leaping to the glorious patio on the next building, as he has contemplated for many years but never actually accomplished, in part out of his own hesitation and in part because of Lily’s lack of support. (“For the last time, I am not Linda Knievel! I will never be Linda Knievel!”) As mentioned above, the best of Marshall’s near-jump flashbacks, for me, involved him dressed as Dracula during the Halloween party which, coupled with his artful cape spreading and slow, vampiric lean forward made for sight-gag gold. It also helped that I heard this in my head the minute he appeared on screen in that costume:

If you haven’t seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, know that Jason Segal’s love of puppets makes an appearance in the form of this song, part of a Dracula puppet musical his character (and, actually, Jason) had been writing. It’s amazing.

More importantly, Robin admits she loves Barney, immediately after which he rejects her and suggests they only be friends. When Barney announces this to Lily, she, who can’t keep secrets, tells him that Robin has known all along that he’s been in love with her, especially since she overheard a conversation between him and Ted only a few days before in which Barney tried to cleverly get Ted’s advice on Robin by comparing her to a fancy Canadian suit. Ted gives Barney his blessing to pursue Robin, but Robin isn’t all that interested. She strategizes with Lily and Marshall about how to let Barney down without hurting his feelings. The solution? To “Mosby” him. That is, for Robin to say “I love you” before Barney does in order to scare him off, just like Ted had done to her. It works all too well, leading Barney to immediately pursue blonde Rockette hopefuls who literally just got off the bus from Iowa (and who, for some reason, happen to be at Ted’s surprise party). Barney is a little bit crushed to learn from Lily that Robin Mosbyed him.

Yeah . . . lets just talk about this later and make out now.

Yeah . . . let's just talk about this later and make out now.

In Ted’s hospital room, after he takes off to present his hat building with a giant goat-mark on his forehead, Robin and Barney discuss their feelings for one another, each Mosbying the other until they can Mosby no more and are forced to make out. That pre-kiss exchange of “I have feelings” and “Let’s just be friends” was pretty spectacular, but, really, nothing in this episode was better than every goddamn reaction shot of the goat and Ted’s recollection of his battle with said goat over the pink washcloth. That fucking goat was killing me last night. The wait was worth it.

Even though Ted makes it to his presentation on time, his hat building gets trumped by another one of Sven’s freaky metal dinosaurs, and so he’s back where he started from. Lily advises Ted that he should just take the leap, and stop thinking about his life as he had planned it. It’s so important for him to be an architect, but it was important for all of them to get their dream jobs, only none of them ever quite made it in the way they thought they would. Lily’s not a famous painter (although she does fingerpaint on a daily basis and has moderate success creating paintings for veterinary offices). Marshall’s not a big environmental lawyer (but he is a lawyer!). Robin’s not a television reporter (but she is the host of a morning show at 4 a.m. that no one watches). Barney? Not a violinist. This also inspires Marshall to actually take that leap to the other patio, and he does, brilliantly, which in turn inspires Robin to leap, then Barney, then Lily and, finally, Ted. So with that literal leap, Ted takes the metaphorical leap, calls Tony and accepts that professorship at Columbia. And it’s a good thing he did, too, because if he didn’t, he would have never met the woman that would mother his children, because she was a student in his very first class as Professor Mosby.

For as silly as that leaping sequence may have been, there was something about it that hit just the right emotional note, and I couldn’t have been happier to hear that Ted had accepted the professorship job that I knew felt so right for him to take when Tony first mentioned it. It was also very well done on the part of the writers for Stella’s return to serve two purposes. Not only for Stella to encourage Ted not to give up searching for The One, but also for him to take Tony’s job offer, both of which lead to him meeting the love of his life.

I look forward to next season where we get to start playing the guessing game “Which One of Ted’s Students Is He Going to Bone?” and a further exploration of a BRoLove relationship. And maybe next season, Marshall and Lily will actually have a baby. Because I still think they need one. And she can be played by Baby Satyana. And it would be great.

Other funny:

  • “I mean, you’re very pretty but you’re freakishly tall and don’t believe in ghosts.” –Marshall, on why he assessed Robin as an “eh,” while lovingly putting his arm around miniature, ghost-believing Lily
  • “Hat buildings don’t design themselves.” – Ted (Apparently, I love jokes about oddly-shaped buildings.)
  • Lily’s attempt to get Marshall not to jump by telling him she’s pregnant. He immediately rushes to her side in disbelief, but ruins it all by muttering about how he’d noticed she’d gained weight recently. At which point, Lily says she was kidding, but is so offended that she snarls, “I hope you die.” So Marshall returns to the ledge, “That’s all the permission I need.”
  • Since this was filmed months ago, Alyson Hannigan wasn’t quite so pregnant in this episode. But still, through the whole thing, she held a “31” in front of her belly. Awkward . . .

The Husband:

And even more Hannigan belly-covering was done by a bowl of popcorn, a printer and, of course, the use of a body double to do the patio-jumping stung.

A great season finale, much better than last year but not as good as either the s1 finale (when Ted and Robin finally got together, and Lily left Marshall for San Francisco) or the s2 finale (when Ted and Robin break up before Marshall and Lily’s wedding). Barney has completed his journey to become more than just a punchline machine, and despite what some of the non-‘shippers have to say, Barney and Robin are perfect for each other.

And Ted learned, at least to me, to stop being the douche that everyone says he is – me, I think he’s just passionate and yet kind of lost – and to go into a field that will teach him about responsibility and maturity. His firm didn’t last very long, true, but I never expected it to amount to much anyway. He was born to be a teacher.

As usual, this show contemplates the idea that we can’t always get what we want, but at a certain age we also have to recognize what we have really isn’t altogether that bad. And if it sucks, it’s only for now.