by Grace Crawford

Images courtesy of Bay & Thomas Productions and 20th Century Fox.

Images courtesy of Bay & Thomas Productions and 20th Century Fox.

9×13: “Bass Player Wanted”

If you read my last review, you know that I wasn’t particularly happy with the way the rehearsal dinner went. It was fine, yes, but there was nothing really good about it. So I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy this episode as much as I did—until the Mother showed up. I was pretty much hooked from that moment on.

It was Marshall versus the Machine once again, and he trudged down a country road while carrying his son and a suitcase. Then a van pulled up behind him, and who should be driving but my new best friend? She mentions that she’s the bass player in the band that’s playing the Farhampton wedding that weekend, but that she used to be the lead singer and is now about to be kicked out. Oh, and the van isn’t hers—it belongs to “the devil.”

On that note, there’s a strange man hanging out with Robin and Lily who offers them sugar cubes and wants to know all their secrets. As the Mother narrates his actions, this man—Darren, the lead singer in the wedding band he stole—finds the weak points in the relationships between Lily and Robin, and between Ted and Barney. He earns their trust before casually mentioning that Robin supports Marshall pursuing his dream, that she thinks Lily is hogging all the attention on her wedding weekend, and that she feels like she’s losing her best friend. Darren then sidles over to Ted and Barney and lets slip that Ted is moving to Chicago in, like, two days.

Lily and Robin get over these problems really easily, which either proves that they’re wonderful friends or that the writers aren’t sure how to create and maintain conflict between women. But it’s very sweet, because Robin gets Lily to take out all of her anger on Marsh-pillow, and after a while it’s incredibly sobering to see just how angry and betrayed Lily actually feels about having to lose her dream so her husband can have his.

Ted and Barney, however, aren’t doing so great. Barney is hurt and betrayed because his best friend—and he won’t let Ted get away with “Marshall is my best friend,” not this time—is leaving and didn’t have enough common decency to tell him. And it comes out, however subtly, that Ted really isn’t over Robin yet, and that he’s willing to move to Chicago just so he won’t have to see her married to his best friend.

I actually didn’t even think until right now how painful that would be, for a friend to just up and leave like that without saying anything. I’ve had that happen before, and it’s horrible to know you can’t just see that person’s face whenever you want, especially when there’s a distinct possibility that you might never see them again. I was pretty taken aback by Barney’s reaction, and so was Ted. Which was why he snuck into a liquor store and stole a 30-year-old bottle of $600 Glen McKenna.

Let’s go back to Marshall and the Mother. They’re hanging out in the van, talking about the band she used to have before Darren stole it, and how she doesn’t have the courage to take it back. That rings true for me, too, because when she said, “I don’t handle confrontation well,” or something along those lines, I was like, “Holy crap, this woman is me.” Or, more accurately, she’s the woman I’d like to be.

She’s kind of a dork with her driving gloves and “I was going to gas [the van] up and wash it” before she returned it, but she’s also kind of a badass with her sumbitches and her bass guitar and her putting a little bit of fear into Marshall. She doesn’t need to be saved, but she appreciates when she is. I’ll explain, ’cause there’s a little bit of plot left.

Marshall gets to the hotel in time to see Lily whaling on Marsh-pillow, and they see each other, and the expression on Lily’s face—that expression of rage, misery, betrayal, and utter heartbreak—that’s some real emotion there, and I felt it. They simultaneously call “Pause,” which is their way of stopping an argument, and even though I know they’ll have to unpause at some point, it’s nice just to see them together again after being so long apart.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 9.11.53 PM

For once, I don’t have a funny for this.

Then everyone gets together and Ted pours them some Scotch, but before anyone can drink it, Darren comes out and breaks the bottle. (The third fourth? one this weekend.) And before I quite knew what was happening, Ted punches him in his friggin’ face. Darren staggers into the bar and gives the Mother her band back, even though she had just psyched herself up enough to fight him for it. And once she finds out it was the best man who did it, she tells Linus to buy him a drink—and Ted gets the Scotch he’s been wanting all weekend.

Did they meet? No, that’s still a while away. March, to be exact. But I think I can wait that long, because after all the silliness and the shenanigans of the first half of the season, I think things are about to get good. We’ve opened up Pandora’s box, and all the secrets are flying out. I may not have been a fan of the fact that all this conflict seems to have been wrapped up inside of a single episode, but something monumental is going to happen with Marshall and Lily, and I’m both excited and afraid to see what that is. So after the Christmas break, I’m going to keep watching, and I’m going to see this season through to the end, based on the merit of this episode alone. Let’s see what happens.

Final Grade: A-

Items of Note

  • Apparently one bro going to prison for another bro is “the dream.” Wonder how Robin’s gonna feel about that, Barnacle.
  • The Mother pretending to be psychic to scare the pants off Marshall. Classic.
  • Marvin’s first words were “skunk junk.” But it’s actually really sweet that Marshall said it was “mommy.”
  • Oh, Lily. Although I’m sure there’s plenty of fanfiction about you and Robin just everywhere on the Internet, it ain’t gonna happen, sweetie.
  • Is Glen McKenna actually a real Scotch? Or is it one of those things that was just invented for the show? Because if the second, that should be released at once as a tie-in project. Although I suppose we won’t be getting any of the 35-year-old stuff until the actors are having a three-and-a-half-decade reunion on Letterman or something. Dang.
  • The Mother’s got the Kennedy special, too. Man, she’s gonna be sloshed when she meets Ted. That’ll be fun.
  • Marshall is gearing up for the second-last slap. This is gonna be legen— wait for it—

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