In "The Autumn of Break-Ups," we said goodbye to Victoria and to whatever dignity Barney Stinson and the show had left.
Sorry about being melodramatic up there in the lede, but one day after writing in an Animal Practice post-mortem that having a live monkey get involved in storylines never worked because its 2012, Barney Stinson befriended a dog to be his wingman, and even though the world does not revolve around me and this episode was delayed a week because of Hurricane Sandy, this show is completely trolling me.
To How I Met Your Mother's credit, the whole storyline was introduced in a cold open that concluded with a classic iris wipe transition, which kind of came off as an apology.
And images of Neil Patrick Harris with a doggie are a lethal combination that could destroy the internet with cuteness. Like this one.
And this one.
That was probably more "unsanitary" and "disgusting" than "cute".
What did work was how "The Autumn of Break-Ups" continued to document Barney's downward spiral after him and Quinn ended their engagement, and Robin's unflinching decisions to help her close friend cope instead of appeasing her current boyfriend Nick. Surprisingly enough most of the laughs in the episode actually came from Michael Trucco's Nick, who it turns out hosts a public access cooking show.
Unfortunately the mean man of the kitchen just couldn't seem to nail down the perfect catch phrase that would catapult him to superstardom. Instead he was only able to offer such brilliant combinations of words like "Make sure he has a ticket…because it's all aboard the chow chow train" and "Bon Appesweet!" Nick's innocence ruining any chance of him ever being perceived by the public as a true culinary son of a bitch stopped being endearing when the man groaned to Robin about spending more time with her friend than with him, despite the fact that moments earlier he witnessed Barney attempt to JUMP OFF A LEDGE.
Yes, Barney seemingly attempted to commit suicide, only to be stopped by Robin. It was very strange. Ultimately, the dog's owner called and asked for Mr. Sprinkles to be returned, and Barney got some from the woman with Robin's help. Good riddance Mr. Sprinkles and that storyline.
On to Ted and Victoria, the perfect couple that we all knew was not to be. After a seemingly lovely couples dinner the night before, Lily and Marshall (Marshall throughout the episode was purposely acting sassy and therefore the less we talk about that the better) informed Ted that Victoria was dropping massive hints about wanting a bigger commitment from the man she ran away from her own wedding to be with. Even though as a youngin' Theodore Evelyn was a member of The Mosby Boys detective group (it featured Ted, Ted's sister and Squirrelock Holmes, a squirrel that went rogue the first chance he got), he did not pick up on her hints at all, and only when confronting Victoria did he discover that "Oprah" and "Gayle" knew what they were talking about. Victoria – who most of us loved back in season one – pulled out her wedding dress and flat out asked if she should keep it or never…ever…need it again. Amazingly, it took Ted another conversation with sassy Marshall and Lily to figure out what he should do.
Even though Victoria went from being a pretty cool chick to a human road block to the protagonist's eternal happiness, it was an emotional moment. She said yes.
Ted was happy.
And then Victoria Emily Waltham'd it and said she'd only marry him if he ended his friendship with Robin. It made Ted sad.
Victoria explained that Robin was the reason they broke up the first time and there's too much history. In some way the pastry chef must have known that she was breaking off her engagement ten seconds after agreeing to marrying Ted – nobody in their right mind ever picks the side of the person that demands they pick a side. And even if they chose the demander, that person always secretly hates them forever. And what kind of person would end a close friendship with someone anyway? Someone you'd want to marry?
Ted considered his options. "I can't imagine life without Robin. but she'll never be in love with me. She'll never be my wife. She'll never be the person I grow old with. But Victoria could be." So Ted made a phone call to Robin to meet him at MacLaren's to tell her something urgent…
At the bar Robin sat down across from Ted in their booth as The Swell Season began to play. Ted began by saying he was hoping it wouldn't come to this when suddenly Victoria was the one sitting across from him. A long time ago, Ted chose Victoria over Robin. That wasn't the case this time. "I'm not in love with Robin. But she's like family to me and I can't end that. Can you accept that?" For anyone who had ever seen the episode "Drumroll, Please," the following image is going to sting.
Victoria's final line of "I really hope you get her someday" would have elicited thirty four nos from my mouth, but we know Ted and Robin isn't going to happen. We just have to throw some coins in our local fountains and hope they don't have T-Mose pining over Robin all over again to pass the time.
In the closing scene, Robin is left in the dark about why Ted and Victoria broke up, because Ted insisted to Marshall and Lily that she never know. Future Ted confirms what we assumed about the lie that exists for no reason: Robin will find out.
R.I.P. Victoria. We'll always have The Buttercup Bakery.
Things to Say To Your Aunt's Special Friend
“If you really want to get pregnant, just stop taking the pill!”
“My goal is to eventually say things are are so sassy and wise, that there is no possible response other than ‘mm’ or ‘mhmm.’ And if this is a place where we can share our dreams, I like to think that it is, I hope, someday, to earn a ‘testify…"
"Ted needs to see me. It's not what you think he just wants to have sex. Kidding. It's just a little hand stuff. Kidding again…he's more of a boob man."
"Lose the Mosby nerds and focus on the crime fighting squirrel: that's gold."
"Robin is our deep dark pit where our relationship goes to die. But the nicest girl in the world; salt of the earth."
"Come again Miss Fudge?"
"I got to go back to the farm with my special friend Maureen, which I now realize is my lesbian life partner. Surprise."
Things to Ponder While Trying to Build Oprah in a Day
So Marvin's dead apparently?
Is it weird that we never found out what Victoria's last name is?
Did Josh Radnor have a sore throat? His voice sounded a bit hoarse in the final scenes, but it could have been on purpose to convey feeling rattled and unsure of himself. Either way him and Cobie Smoulders did a particularly great job this week.
Roger Cormier would never intentionally mess with the density of your pastries.