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)

I kinda felt sucker punched by the ending of this episode. The story was well told, and everyone had their A game on with the acting. But the frame wasn't necessary...they could have told the story just as well (probably even better) without Robin talking to her imaginary kids.

C f ohara

Ina Hammett what was with the storm trooper? I missed it.


you guys you rock the world thanks to rodin


Great episode? I don't think so. This show is supposed to be funny but like shows before it, it's begun to take itself way too seriously. Why these huge depressing stories and arcs in the last 2 seasons? What's the point? The writers should concentrate on us laughing as opposed to seemingly getting us to "emotionally connect" with the characters. Get Ted in relationships and why they don;t work, get Barney back to doing what Barney does best, Marshall and Lilly have fortunately remained pretty stable in their characters fortunately ... as for Robin, she's always been off and on in HIMYM ... overall a great fun character tho and she works off Ted well ... keep her smiling and happy please. Why is it that friends shows (except Seinfeld) always go the way of drama instead of sticking with comedy?


@ Chris: Yeah youre right about that, but i mean she could say she had a normal appointment - like you have every year ;) I just think its a little bit weird that she doesnt even think about Kevin.
And i also hoped that Barney goes to Robin and asks if she is alright, but he didnt. And robin doesnt seem like she has massive feelings for barney anymore - so it doesnt look too good for those 2 What i really love about HIMYM is the drama every now and then. Those are normal people and shit happens in life.. I love it, its sad but good. I hate those normal comedy shows where nothing bad happens.. thats like real life, and thats why i cried with robin ;) ah but i think she will be fine. She never wanted kids and many women dont have kids...


I loved the episode! I've been pretty much disappointed with the last season and a half (not because they haven't talked about the mother yet, but because the depth of the writing - with the exception of Marshall's dad's death last season, characterization, and emotional impact have gone downhill). This episode was so sad, but had hit all of HIMYM's storytelling strengths. I cried at the end when Ted set up those Christmas lights for her.

Childish gambino

Great episode. If this were any other comedy, or if this episode happened a year or two ago (before marshall's dad died). I would assume that the show would pull some "Baby Mama"-esque hijinks and Robin would miraculously be pregnant in the finale. But now id probably guess that she is either going to adopt or really and truly come to terms with the thought of never being pregnant and being ok with it (not that quick 5 min rationalization she did in the park, but something deeper over the course of a few episode)


amazing episode! did you notice the stormtrooper at the end of the scene?...


I am so sad about the ending, I really want Robin to be happy , and the prospect of her having kids was taken from us. Also, I don't think they want Robin and Barney ending up together which hurts too.

C f ohara

Tamara fair pount about Kevin, but I don't think Robin could or would have talked to him about it because she might have had to explain why she was at the doctor to begin with which was of course was because she thought she was preggers. Since they haven't had sex yet that would let the cat our of the bag about her one night stand with Barney. Im sure she could have worked around the truth but Kevin as we know is pretty perceptive by trade.

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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.