And Why It Was Such a Great Episode
(some spoilers to follow) “Platonish,” season nine, episode nine of How I Met Your Mother, is my favorite episode in HIMYM’s recent history. Without a doubt it’s my favorite episode so far this season (and apparently I’m not alone in thinking that, either, as it’s the highest rated episode so far this season on IMDb), and it’s one of my favorites from the past couple seasons. There’s been a few disappointing episodes the last couple seasons of HIMYM. Not that they were horrible by any means, but they weren’t—in my opinion—quite up to the quality that so many episodes have been in the past (and I definitely am not as disappointed with recent seasons as I know some people are—I’ve always enjoyed every single episode, even if occasionally not as much as others). That changed last Monday. “Platonish” is really the epitome of why HIMYM is the great show that it is. It brought me back to past HIMYM episodes and seasons, and the reason why HIMYM is so amazing. It brought many laughs, and it also brought me close to tears. Which is the thing I have always loved about HIMYM—it’s not always just about the comedy, but it’s about the story—their story. The comedy isn’t the most important part, it’s the characters. Which leads me to the next thing that was so great about this episode: the characterization. HIMYM does such a great job of characterization—especially in past episodes/seasons—and I was so relieved and overjoyed to see that again in this episode (not that it was completely absent in recent episodes, but I felt at times it wasn’t as good as it’s been in the past). For the first time, we really get a great look into the character of The Mother. We know some of her awesome interests, we know how she gets along with Ted, we know some of the things she likes and hobbies she has…but we’ve never really known her—not until now. This episode shows us what an amazing person she is. She does an amazing thing for Barney, and you can just see the level of her care for other human beings—he’s a complete stranger, and she could just go “get away from me, creep” or something to that effect (which would be totally justified, especially since she heard him call her a “target”), but she doesn’t. She decided to help him. Which really just speaks volumes about her character. It’s easy to push people away who you think are weird or acting wrongly. It’s easy to just ignore someone and later talk behind their back about how troubling their actions may be or something like that. And that’s exactly what she could have done. She could have gone home to her boyfriend, tell him how she met someone that troubled her today (or even not mention him at all), and just go on with her life. But she doesn’t. She doesn’t judge him or condemn him—she helps him. She sees that he’s having troubles, that he’s hurting, and she tells him what he desperately needed to hear, and you can see where he is now, in a large way due to her. This is really where HIMYM differs from other sit-coms. It’s not just about crude jokes and bringing in laughs from the audience. It’s about the characters and their stories. And, on top of that, it’s (overall) a lighthearted show (it is, after all, a comedy), which makes it just simply fun to watch like a comedy should be. But it’s so much more than that, too. And if that wasn’t enough this episode, we got Hammond Druthers back again. It’s no secret that Brian Cranston is an amazing actor—if you’ve seen just a single episode of Breaking Bad you know this—and he definitely doesn’t disappoint here. His character is always a great addition to the story, and in this episode particularly. Now, at the end, Ted’s character is still basically where we left off, but I didn’t have an issue with that—it was mostly one big flashback, and this time it was mostly about Barney and The Mother, and it gave us so much of them. Overall, I thought this episode was amazing. It wasn’t perfect—not at all—but it had some great moments, and it had, essentially, everything that makes HIMYM such a great show: funny moments, heartbreaking moments, serious moments, amazing characterization, and great guest stars.