How I Met Your Mother Review: Bittersweet Symphony

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This week's episode of How I Met Your Mother -  "Symphony of Illumination" - had this Gentile thinking Christmas came early, but in the end I was left feeling like I had been Rickrolled instead of Mannheim Steamrolled.

While some parts of the episode were tough to swallow - like how my mom told me I had to finish my peas before I got pie - these served as key ingredients to a pretty tasty helping of the sitcom from Joe Kelly and gang.

What a tremendous performance from Cobie Smulders, treating us to equal amounts of humor and heartache. From the bathroom beat down to the "play it again Sam" egg nog for one on the park bench, she took us to the roof top of emotion... only to pull the ladder out from under us and send viewers crashing back down to Earth. I so wanted those to be her and Barney's kids. Robin has always brought out the best in the Barnacle and the prospect of her pregnancy sent him into a flurry of fatherly fuss with such adorable moments like when he freaked about giving her the wrong rocks glass.

You're What?!?

Robin's seriousness at times did not upstage her humorous moments, though. We-B-Babies was the set for some of her funniest moments this season, from shooting herself in the head with Lily's registry gun to calling that baby "cute as crap." I did feel sorry for Barney, though, who missed a number of great joke opportunities with the whole pole vaulting story. I'm sure he would have interjected, saying he thought most Canadian women hoped they would meet a nice guy and settle down only after spending most of their twenties "vaulting poles." 

Marshall's scenes out in East Meadow were pretty funny, what with Scott cranking he and Lily's stereo while "eating a sandwich" in their house. Kids these days are so tech savvy. Hats off to the little punk for thinking to ask Lily to send him pictures of her, ummm... hats. More importantly, however, all the father/son references were setting the stage for what will surely be an emotional Christmas for Marshall without his own father.

Ted, meanwhile, is one of the closest things Robin has to her own family in the States. His line about how she couldn't fire him because he was "union bitch" was one of the best quotes of the episode - but was overshadowed by the intense back and forth the two long time friends enjoyed. Ted realized in the end that actions speak louder than words, especially if those actions are timed up to ACDC's "Highway To Hell."

Robin has brought so much light into Ted's life it was fitting that in one of her darkest hours he was the one to illuminate her world. Just like Ted said to Robin, it's not How I Met Your Mother's job to cheer us up each week, but that doesn't mean its writers don't try. It's a fact of life and a darn good one. I couldn't give the episode five stars because I selfishly want to still see Barney and Robin end up together... and while that still might happen, and while I was happy to hear all the amazing things Robin goes on to do in life, the realization that she never will be a "pole vaulter" left me a bit sad.

I don't think I was the only one, right?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (374 Votes)

Best episode for me yet. This one has it all with some real heartfelt storyline. Specially the narrator being Robin was a nice touch and an unexpected one.
Kid having blond hair symbolises that she fancies Barney.
Nice work by Ted at the end. What a nice way to end the episode with ACDC's Highway To Hell.


Cobie Smulders rocked this episode... I was crying and laughing all at the same time. I truly love that the show is moving the characters forward but I can't help feel so sad that Robin and Ted may not end up together. I've been a fan since the very first episode aired and haven't missed an ep so I'll honestly forever be siding on the hope of Robin and Ted ending up together. There's this huge part of me that believes when all is said and done these two will be happiest togther and stories Ted has told will be re-worded in some way to better explain what the audience was never let in on... because Ted is a terrible story teller. Lol, or something like that...


@ Kim I agree with everything you wrote. I am a huge Barney/Robin fan but I think I'm OK with them not ending up together. I really can picture Barney marrying someone else and growing up to be this great dad. Robin will always be in his life but as a best friend rather than partner. This show can be quite realistic, and isn't that storyline how life and love tend to work out?


I have to admit, initially I was very annoyed with the writers. I wanted Barney and Robin to be together so badly, and then they just pulled that away. I did feel strung along. But thinking about this episode, I realize it has done something for me. It has legitimately closed the Robin/Barney arc. And not because she can't have kids, since the writers left that option open. This episode, in conjunction with the last one, shows us what the series failed to show us with Robin and Barney's initial break-up (which was not very compelling) -- why Robin and Barney just don't work. Their lives are headed in two very opposite directions. As Robin states at the end of this episode, she still wants to travel. She still wants to focus on her career. In The Rebound Girl, Barney acts like he expects his "child rearing partner" to actually be a settled person, a stay at home, traditional view. He wants children. He's growing and realizing he really does want the love and commitment he's been denying himself for years, and that includes not just a wife, but a whole family. He's always liked kids, he just used to be afraid of the commitment and emotional investment they represented. That's not why Robin didn't and continues to not want them. And while Barney may still have reservations about his feelings for Robin, I think Robin has realized that Barney still isn't the man she needs, and if Kevin's reasons for liking her weren't enough to convince her that as much as she loves him she and Barney don't work, this cut off future is. She may not realize how it cuts off a future with Ted at the moment, since he isn't as baby nuts as Barney, but it does that as well. So at the end of the day, the episode not only helped me, as a veiwer, accept the end of the Barney/Robin romance, it made me willing to root for Barney's next love interest, who sounds like the real deal. It occurs to me now that when Barney asked Ted in a previous episode if he chose the right tie, he was asking the brain of the friend group, following his head, while Lily is the heart of the group. So he'll remain hung up on Robin for a while. But at the end of the day, relationships aren't just about who you love, they're about who you make a good team with too. Who shares your goals. So I now hope he follows his head, even if his heart is unsure.


@joyeful: Ditto. I was so looking forward to this episode but at the end of the day I felt cheated. I really hate this "imaginary" characters. It happened in Ugly Betty (twice!) and that messed up my willing to keep watching the series. I'm not bothered with Ted, Marshal and Lilly are still funny but getting repetitive so that leaves us with the incredible Robin and Barney - now this, they messed up, so why bother? Well, there's the Christmas break and hopefully things will turn around. For now, and this is my personal opinion, I'm disappointed.


@stuart nooo i think youre wrong! thank god there is a show with serious and sad moments! yeah its a funny show, and there were also funny moments. but honestly Desperate houswives, for example, is a drama - well i dont think so, there is drama but not ,,real" drama . So im glab HIMYM is sad sometimes!!


i just thought about this......... U know how only robin and Ted have only narrated the show. Well....... I was just thinking they should have an episode where Ted is narrating( to his kids in the future and all) and right while he's narrating BAM! Future Barney comes in the middle and starts narrating on HIS point of view and how he saw it and he could also just start saying some funny random comments. And future Ted could be like arguing with future Barney, hahaha it was just a though and it would be pretty hilarious if that happened. By the way....... AWESOME episode!!!! Though I am a HUGE robin and Barney fan ALL THE WAY......... I just have this gut feeling now that they aren't gonna end up together. Arghghhh just tell me who is BARNEYS BRIDE ALREADY!!!!! I hope its robin ( fingers crossed )


what is the air date of the next episode ?


I think I'd really enjoy a How I Met Your Mother caption contest!


I feel ted saying she never became a "pole vaulter" simply means she will never become a pole vaulter as she dint actually disclose what she was actually upset about Ted would never know that "pole vaulting" was actually meaning "having kids" so there is still a chance that she had/adopted kids. and Ted did once say that she was very good with kids specially his kids. And no matter what Barney and Robin should end up together.

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How I Met Your Mother Season 7 Episode 12 Quotes

Here's twenty for picking up a girl with only one word and here's another twenty for that word being boner.


So you're pregnant? Huh, looks like nobody told your boobs.