I almost used the headline “Burning Down the House” for this recap, but I decided to put that one in my back pocket until later. Later meaning when we get the full story about how Jeanette burns down Ted’s apartment.
We only got a small peek at the moment on last night’s episode (in the classic, “this happens later” How I Met Your Mother way), but one thing is pretty clear: This fire won’t be an accident. Yes, after seeing Jeanette in all her crazy glory tonight (talking to Marilyn Monroe’s cat via séance? Okay…), I think it’s safe to assume that the arson portion of this courtship will come after a huge, colossal meltdown that I can’t wait to see. Note: There should never be an “arson portion” of a courtship.
That’s not to say that last night’s meltdown was small by any means. In fact, as soon as Barney and the rest of the gang started encouraging Ted to break up with his “crazy” girlfriend, I became elated because I knew this would not come easily for poor Ted. What I loved most about this plotline, though, was how it became much more than another crazy girlfriend doing crazy things, which can become a tiring — and sort of insulting — picture for TV to continuously paint. At the end of the episode, after we had our fun watching Ted battle Jeanette, who’d barricaded herself inside his room, Robin offered up some advice she got from a special guest star (we’ll get to that): Ted was sort of to blame for Jeanette’s madness. Mixed signals, she explained, can drive a person crazy. Via flashback, we learned that Ted was very much guilty of this offense — he’d kissed her after they “broke up” and he hooked up with her while trying to break up with her a second time. Jeanette might be a resident of planet Cray, but Ted was an overlord.
Realizing Robin was right, Ted thought the gang was going to recommend an immediate parting, but to his surprise, Lily said he should continue to see Jeanette because “I think you need to go be with your crazy girl for a while” because he wasn’t exactly in the best mental state either. As we know, it eventually goes up in flames — literally — but I feel like this lesson about mixed signals is something Ted needed to learn now before encountering the most important person in his life.
Which brings me to Mike Tyson. (Six words I never thought I’d see in a HIMYM recap.) He was the aforementioned special guest star, and regardless of your opinion of Tyson, in the world of HIMYM, they found a pretty perfect way to work him if into the story.
The B-plotline of this half hour had to do with Robin’s Marvin-phobia. Early in the episode, we learned that Robin had somehow managed to avoid holding Marvin all these months, and she was happy to continue doing so. That plan came crashing down, however, after Lily left Marvin in her care so that Lily could chase down a bus on which they’d left Marvin’s favorite pacifier. When Marvin started crying, Robin ended up relying heavily on the kindness of an old woman to help her care for Marvin. At least, that’s what she led Lily to believe. Almost two decades down the line, after revealing pieces of the story to Lily throughout the years, Robin finally confessed that it had not been a kind old lady who helped her care for Marvin that day. It was Mike Tyson. (Or, as Lily called him in the flashforward, “Sen. Mike Tyson.”) Only you, HIMYM. Only you.
So, guys, what did you think of the episode? How great was the sequence about Ted’s apartment being used as Marshall and Barney’s storage facility? (A canoe!) What did you think of Tyson’s cameo? Did you enjoy the flashforwards with Robin and Lily? (Actual text from a friend: “These wine confessions will eventually be us.”) Did you appreciate the co-crazy aspect of the story as much as I did? And did you notice that sweater vest-clad Marvin (pause for extreme cuteness explosion) had the bus-floor pacifier back in his mouth at the end of the episode? Ewww…