After some arguments regarding the quality of Season 7, we venture forth into what could be the final season premiere for How I Met Your Mother. Promised to feature the closest look at the titular female, there were plenty of cliffhangers left earlier this year including a number of future plotlines, an engagement, a new baby and plenty of love triangles. But after eight season openers, does "Farhampton" still have the emotional drive to declare the latest installment a hit or has age truly affected one of television's hit comedies?
"Farhampton" was certainly entertaining, but had its share of dull subplots that felt completely overshadowed by the flashforward at hand. With a new look at our way "down the road", it certainly feels as if we are just one step away not only from finally seeing who The Mother is but also to Barney and Robin's wedding vows. Ashley Williams and Josh Radnor have incredible chemistry once more in a storyline that feels more like it trips up over itself than usual but has a touching conclusion that lends itself to our future sneak peek. But with the major story between Robin and Barney, it feels like we are simply rehashing a story in the same exact spot we were last year and it's become so incredibly dull that a large portion of the episode dies along with it.
Now rest assured fans still hanging on the edge of their seats: Barney and Robin will in fact strut down the aisle. For now, though, the writers just like to simply toy with us by giving the minimal amount of time to the actual wedding day. The wedding night, however, as Ted sits at a train station is perhaps the most important aspect of the wait yet. I know a decent number of people will be flailing with joy over the final image, but I feel as if the scene from the get-go was just a bit too obvious while the ongoing saga inside of the church is still left with just the smallest looks yet.
Of course the theme of the wedding is only matched by Victoria and Ted driving away into the sunset...until they realize that Victoria never left a note for husband-to-be Klaus. Though it seemed like a one-trick pony at times, it was great to have to one-two punch of not only Williams and Radnor sharing some great moments that convince you exactly why you should fall in love with the couple all over again (despite their ill-fated ending) but also giving Radnor a chance to hold an entire storyline on his sole shoulders to either sink or swim. For the most part, he does a great job but there are some conflicting elements that don't exactly help. Klaus' sister is a lame sitcom one-liner that is painful to watch yet thankfully she doesn't receive too much time.
It's actually the inclusion of Thomas Lennon's Klaus that gives the bad accents some justification and the storyline some fantastic emotional depth. What exactly Klaus' actions will mean as Ted is harboring a major secret will certainly have yet to be determined, but it's the words the runaway groom has to offer to Ted that speaks volumes and keeps the core heart of the series ever-present. Like a breath of fresh air, Lennon's quick guest spot is actually a very solid appearance that isn't as crazy as it could have been (and yes, I mean that in a good way).
However, what happens back at the apartment is where the half hour sort of drags on. Again, we are met with the daunting task of the gang trying to keep from a significant other that Barney and Robin used to date. It's a twist that just feels so beaten up in this series regardless of who in the group it is that you know exactly how it's going to play out. When Robin makes a surprising statement at the end, we get to see the storyline flop for a conclusion that allows everything to simply move on no questions asked. But with the wedding vows still hanging in everyone's minds and Robin's storage discovery, we wind up back to square one in the same exact position we found ourself with Nora and Kevin.
Thankfully, we have Marshall and Lily's sleep deprived jokes to inject plenty of humorous moments into the plot. Adding this with Neil Patrick Harris' always delightful turn as Barney, including a scene in which he recaps the entire series so-far in 52 seconds, it proved to be at least worth it. Michael Trucco reappears as the love interest previous known as "Crush", this time given the name Nick. Though this time around he's nothing more than a pretty face (or should we say body?) to look at, his short scene proves that he could at least have some brains in him. How exactly he'll click with Robin now that they're in a relationship certainly remains to be seen.
Overall, "Farhampton" will perhaps be the most notable due to its future flashes more than anything. The episode was really just used to close out some cliffhangers, while we are reintroduced not only to Barney and Robin's unique situation but also the pressures of parenthood as well. The performances are great and ultimately the tone feels more like the classic series we know and love than what Season 7 brought to the table. There are some concerns, though, that it feels as if this was only one half of what could have been an overly outstanding season premiere.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know either in the comments below or tweet us @FilmThrasher on Twitter!