Neilpatrickharris_howimetyourmother It’s kind of a saying, okay, it’s totally a saying — the more things change the more they stay the same. Tonight’s episode of How I Met Your Mother provided a great illustration of just that. Though it ended pretty much how it began, each of the characters changed in some way over the course of the episode.

The biggest change of all tonight was Barney getting old, very old. The start of the show featured Barney showing up at the bar dressed as an 83 year-old man. He was there to convince a poor young thing, Cindy, that she just had to sleep with young Barney Stinson or the world would be destroyed. Old Barney explained to Cindy that if she didn’t sleep with young Barney, he’d never be able to stop global warming. Old Barney even proved that he was from the future by noting that a girl (Robin) was going to slap a guy (Ted) in four seconds, and, sure enough, after he gave a little throat clearing, Robin slapped Ted. In a word — a word Barney would use — it was awesome. Plus, Cindy bought it hook, line, and sinker, and once old Barney disappeared and young Barney showed up, she was ready to go. Awesome.

The rest of the episode featured the gang packing up the apartment (Ted to move to Jersey and Marshall and Lily to go to their new place) and reminiscing about the "good" times that they’d had there. There were great stories about the various ways they destroyed the apartment, all of which had to be recounted in order to determine who cost Ted and Marshall their deposit.

First among the stories was Ted ruining a wall with his encyclopædia — true to form, he said encyclopædia, not encyclopedia and explained why — and an archway with his flail. It was funny, though not quite as funny as Robin getting drunk off of Molson, putting on a hockey outfit, saying Canadian things in a Canadian accent, and almost having a fight with Lily, the premature ending of which caused Barney to put his fist through a wall.

Things did get a little more serious though when the story of the scorch mark on the fireplace came up. It seems as though they had all attended an intervention for a friend of theirs who was abusing alcohol, and once that went well they decided to hold interventions for each other at pretty much the drop of a hat. In fact, they actually held one for Marshall who wouldn’t drop wearing a ridiculous, Dr. Seuss-esque, hat. There was also one for Lily who had spent time talking in an annoying British accent, one for Robin who had been obsessed at one point with spray-on tanning, and one for Barney who had been doing magic tricks with fire (which led to the aforementioned scorch mark).

The "serious" came into it when Ted learned that the group had planned an intervention for him, and had even gotten a new intervention sign, the previous one having been scorched. They decided not to hold the intervention, but there was a moment when everyone felt as though Ted was moving too quickly with Stella. Robin, Marshall, and Lily told Ted that they no longer felt that way about the relationship, but Ted still wanted to hear their fears, he was clearly getting cold feet about the relationship. Ted tried to get them to read their letters, but to little avail. Barney sent his up in flames before he got to anything but marriage being bad, Lily’s got mailed home to a student of hers in place of a progress report, and Robin didn’t write one figuring that she was his ex- and that nothing she said would mean anything (plus, as she rightly pointed out, she’s hotter than Stella anyway, so what did she care).

It took Marshall to explain to Ted that they were just worried that he was moving too fast, and that it was a fear they didn’t have anymore. Even so, it got Ted to thinking about how much he liked the apartment, about all the good times that had taken place there. It all made such perfect sense to him; everyone in the group’s life was awesome when Ted, Marshall, and Lily lived in that apartment, there was no reason to move on.

Thus, Ted, began to unpack. And then Marshall thought about it and began to unpack too. And then Lily jumped on board. And then Robin opted to back out of her trip to Japan. They all wanted their lives to continue unchanged forever.

Barney wasn’t present for this madness as he had accepted a never really offered bet from Marshall about how Barney wouldn’t be able to pick up a twenty-two year-old woman in his old man makeup. As the gang witnessed when they went back down to the bar to celebrate their newfound love of their old lives, Barney was successful and making out with a young lady. Watching the spectacle was more than a little disgusting however, particularly as Barney was terribly excited by the prospect that he would never have to grow up, that he could keep hooking up with young unsuspecting women when he was 83.

Ted, Marshall, Lily, and Robin quickly did another about face and decided to move on with their lives, and also agreed that they’d meet at the bar in exactly one year, drink a horrifically overpriced bottle of scotch, and reminisce. The show informed us that they didn’t in fact do that, after which they retired to the apartment upstairs, the apartment they had just agreed in the present to vacate.

But who was living there? And why? And how? That, kids, is another tale.

Thoughts, quotes, and questions:

  • Old Barney was awesome, everything he said was magical, but as I’m only going to choose one quote, how about this one, uttered when he was talking to Cindy about young Barney – "In order to save the planet you need to sleep with him."
  • Okay, here’s the question, and you probably know what it is without my saying it, but I’ll do it anyway — what’s your guess on who is living in the apartment and why? What changes?

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Posted by:Josh Lasser