Following a battle of sexes that ended with the first departure in our Autumn of Break-Ups, our attention turns to the new parents of the group as Marshall and Lily look to continue their normal lives following the birth of Marvin. As Lily's father strolls back into town, it's the return of Barney's single life that easily provides contrast to the other couples in the group. But did the parenthood focus provide a great insight into the drastically changed dynamic for Lily and Marshall or did it reek like a dirty diaper?
Though "Nannies" doesn't exactly hit all the right spots, it's actually the showcase of Marshall and Lily's parenting storyline success that proves to work in an incredible favor. While the return of single Barney launches the best of Neil Patrick Harris back into the spotlight as well, it's the predictability on one part of the nanny storyline that is thankfully countered by a fantastic emotional ending that is an ultimate nostalgic redemption song for the ongoing past of Lily and Mickey.
The battle of the couples storyline left very little to be amused by and what also doesn't help is any character development what so ever. With their breakups inevitable, this week simply felt like filler for Robin and Ted to do just something while the real meat of the half hour was left to the rest of the gang.
Going into Lily and Marshall's nanny drama tonight, it was incredibly clear from the beginning exactly what was going to happen by episode's end. The only thing that left a major question mark once we got rolling is how exactly we got there. For the most part, it's proved that this parenting situation is not exactly as dead in the water as we would have hoped. With a child possibly weighing down our favorite couple, in turn we receive easily the first big hilarious turn of events regarding parenthood and it is the center of the episode.
There was just something so fantastically amusing while having two intersecting plotlines actually lean against each other to become a massive entertaining story for the entire half hour. With Barney back and single again, we see this time he's in a weird stasis of trying to recapture the playboy we all know he can be while seemingly anchored down by his years in back-to-back relationships. As his last one was the farthest commitment he's ever gone, it's clear reverting back to the single life keeps getting harder every time. Barney masks this to an obvious degree as the night goes on, but thankfully Harris delivers a fantastic return to this character as it seems like the once held back performance can now go all out (although last week certainly proved otherwise).
Still, there was really any character development with anyone. Robin and Ted just have playful games as they continue to recognize problems with their respective partners, but really it feels like an offbeat rehashing of last week's episode. With break up reminders always present, it'll be interesting to see whether or not that same intrigue felt last week carries as the weeks progress. But the real bummer is that still there seems to be little to do with either Victoria or Nick.
Nick is just sitting pretty with nothing to do and there's very little character depth for Michael Trucco to build off of, despite some great chemistry with the gang. Ashley Williams is the exact same way as the fantastic chemistry she once had is now completely hollow and fails to even be played with at all. While it's clear they're prepping us for departures, it'd be nice to have a little more inclusion to have a more devastating effect when the time eventually comes.
However if this episode should be noted for anything, it would be the first major emotional moment of the season. For years now, we have relived the Mickey/Lily dynamic under the same analysis as she has: he was a shit dad and their relationship has always been uneven. For years now, the writers have been slowly building on that to the point where he could be an incredibly reliable figure but still with a decent number of horrible qualities to prevent us from ever trusting him. But whether or not this is the final season, HIMYM has delivered perhaps a fantastic emotional conclusion to this saga.
Seeing the true origins story of Mickey and Lily, realizing that he was never quite the deadbeat that Lily paints him out to be, was incredibly moving with a flashforward tribute at the end that certainly tugged at the heartstrings as well. To see him step up and really be there for her in both respective time periods after his true comedic moments as a horrible father is touching and provides really a great first indication that if we are in fact going into the final year than at least we'll have some heartfelt conclusions such as this.
Overall, "Nannies" at least worked two-thirds of the way but didn't quite succeed overall in terms of two-fifths of the gang. Hopefully we'll get more development and better plotlines than what was dished out here, but it's the emotion that truly marks a great flag in the possible ending comedy. With Barney back, single and ready to mingle, hopefully it's a return to form for NPH who certainly showcased that he can bring some strong performances to overshadow even the weakest aspects of an installment.
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