How I Met Your Mother Review: "Bad News"

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Let’s start with the lighter side of this week’s episode. 

I would have gladly volunteered to be Barney’s partner for the Regional Doubles Laser Tag Tournament in an abandoned JC Penny store out in Poughkeepsie, but that’s just me.  Loved when he tried to steal the model vagina from the doctor’s office.

At a Specialist

Meanwhile, Robin and her glasses were back at World Wide News, but so was Sandy Rivers, Robin’s old co-host and Ted’s nemesis. Sandy Rivers struck me as more of a porn star name, but then again so would Robin Sparkles. So those canceled each other out, I guess. Score one for Sandy, though, for giving Robin the nickname "Sche-poopy."

I also loved the montage of all Robin’s embarrassing moments on television that Sandy uncovered. Well, that Greg uncovered is more accurate. What a tremendous tribute to our favorite newscaster and Canadian Teen Beat idol. Let’s Go To The Mall, Big Fan, Neat & Discreet... I celebrated the entire collection. Let’s just hope at some point we get to see the owl attack footage.

The high five Marshall gives Lily while he lamented how they have had unprotected sex 203 times in the past four months without conceiving was amazing. Only to be topped by Barney, who stated that not being able to get a woman pregnant is “The Dream” and how he would give up his first born not to be able to have children.

The bald-headed moustache guy who told Marshall he reports to the doctor’s office every Thursday looked like the love child of Rollie Fingers and Colonel Mustard from Clue and was fantastically creepy.

Marshall’s mom slayed me when she repeatedly told him through the bathroom door about her two-piece bathing suit. And the top is so low cut your father says he has front row seats to the Minnesota Twins... Picture it!

Was the Breathe poster on the back wall of the doctor’s office a pregnant Robin sitting Indian style? It was featured multiple times, but I could not tell one way or another.

Marshall and Lily at the Doctor

Lastly, we have to discuss the closing scene, which we learned was the culmination of the episode long countdown. As I saw the empty work bench in Marshall’s dad’s house and then the cab pull up and the light turn on showing the numbers ‘0001’ I felt my stomach start to tighten.

I knew before Lily said it: Marshall’s dad was dead. After going back and watching the scene again, I noticed the cab light said ‘ON DUTY,’ instead of the usual ‘OFF DUTY.’ Maybe it was nothing, but I felt like it definitely meant something. There was a lot of number play in this episode.

We had the countdown from 50 featured throughout the show (e.g. the 48 on Marshall’s hot sauce, the number 47 on Barney’s Laser Tag application, the stock market being up 35.34 points). I think the countdown was ultimately counting down to the pivotal moment in Marshall’s life.

Lily stepped out of the cab and the light reading ON DUTY meant that it was his turn to step up and be the father. With his dad’s death, he no longer was the son; it was his time to become the father. Marshal asked Lily in disbelief, “My dad’s dead?” and then uttered through tears that he is not ready for “this.”

I don’t think he was ready for the shock of losing his dad, of course, but I also think it pertained to his feelings about becoming a father.

It has been said by some viewers that they felt Marshall and Lily’s flippant attitude toward conceiving did not rest well with them. Perhaps the writers addressed such critics in this moment to close out what was one of the most poignant and moving episodes of the series.

It’s rare that a show can take one’s emotions on such a roller coaster ride in the span of thirty minutes. Some might say the reality of the final scene was out of place and cast a pall over the usually care-free nature of the sitcom, but I would hesitate to do so. I think this week’s episode uncovered yet another amazing layer to what is one of televisions best shows.

As for Marshall, he will be just fine and will most assuredly rise to the occasion when the time comes. I was reminded of a quote from Superman’s father Jor El: “You will travel far, my little Kal-El, but we will never leave you - even in the face of our deaths. You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father. And the father, the son.”

My feelings for this show mirror those of Marshall’s father for him. Whether How I Met Your Mother makes me laugh or cry, I love it no matter what.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (276 Votes)

Yeah like Padriac was saying, Carter and Craig have confirmed that it is a countdown... and honestly I bawled my eyes out at the end of this episode, and when I first watched this episode to now, I still do. RIP Marvin Eriksen


I just re-watched this episode on netflix, and to the person who remarked they saw a big number 9 on a folder, i suggest you go back and re-watch as well, there is a big countdown from 50 to 1 throughout the episode. What brought me here though is that i was googling whether or not that poster in the fertility doc's office was in fact a pregnant cobie smulders. I am almost positive it was since the writers love hiding weird stuff in the background, but I have not found any information to corroborate that fact. This article is the closest I've come to confirmation. On a side note, I wish there was a tumblr dedicated to all the ridiculous posters and signs in the background of the sets, such as Marshall's childhood bedroom or the bar. So many random weird things.


I had a feeling that Marshall's father was going to pass away in this episode. I noticed in the slapsgiving episode where they talk about the future of lightsabre technology and it being 3-4 thanksgivings away, when they show the short clip at the end of the episode and Marshall is carving up the turkey, his father isn't at the table. I had a feeling it was going to happen eventually. Anyway, it was a very sad and moving episode, definitely one of the best of the series.


I have a feeling Marvin's death will be directly related to, what was foreshadowed earlier this season, Marshall's leaving his job at GNB. Marshall will realize how important each moment is and that if he doesn't follow his dream of being an environmental lawyer now chances are he never will. I also liked on another review the idea that this will lead to Barney looking to connect with his own father. Hard to say for sure what will come out of what could be the most tragic happening in the show's six seasons though I'm sure Carter and Craig will not disappoint.


This is one of the best episodes I've seen in a long time. The whole father marshall 'death' plot was totally unexpected. It was a surprising twist. The way Barney portrayed to different characters into faking to believe to be another one was amazing which held in my amusement. I was laughing so hard when Lily was resisting to let the doctor examine her uterus. It was plain hilarious.


@Virg- why are you even here? LOVED this ep! but one question, who thinks they're too flippant with the baby thing? Why must it be a big drama? It's a sitcom.
I loved how they brought back the Sensitiser

Leigh r

Great review! Funniest moments were Barney stealing the vag statue and Marshall and Lily's high five. My roommate and I someone didn't pick up on the countdown which leaves me feeling a bit idiotic!! I only remember seeing a big "9" on one of the folders. The ending threw me for a loop and I shed a few tears.


So funny and so sad!


first of all, to the person who said he doesnt understand why anyone woudl think this show is funny, why are you reading a review and commenting on a show you hate? seems like a good use of your time. now, on to bigger and better. as always a great review! so many things i missed!!! like the on/off duty light. how poignant. unlike the reviewer, i did not it coming. usually i can smell that stuff a mile away, but i definitely didnt see that happening. i thought maybe the dr had switched lily's test results and she actually couldn't have a baby. unfortunately the news was much worse. i feel so bad for marshall. even though he is fictional. thanks again for the review. i will definitely keep reading this one.


Despite the sad ending, I thought this was a great episode and great recap. I agree that it is rare to find a show that can successfully hit highs and lows in 30 minutes but I think this one did it well. This is one of the few sitcoms I watch that actually can make me laugh out loud - love it! Although I do hope that Marshall's father's death doesn't cast too much of a dark shadow over the entire season.

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How I Met Your Mother Season 6 Episode 13 Quotes

Lily: How did you do it?
Barney: Oh god you found one of the cameras.

Lily: We're doing it a lot.
Marshall: And everywhere. The kitchen, the bathroom, the living room, outside in your waiting - the kitchen.