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HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER Reveals Secret In “The Magician’s Code”
In a strange way, I almost wish How I Met Your Mother’s seventh season had ended with just Part 1 of “The Magician’s Code.” It certainly felt more like a finale, what with the birth of Marvin Wait For It Erickson being a big enough moment in the story for things to end. Having things carry on into Part 2 and revealing Barney’s bride sounds good on paper, but it just didn’t work out the way I had hoped. For all the twists and turns that happened, the ending wasn’t at all a surprise. The show tried so hard to be unpredictable that it ended up being completely predictable.
Let’s start with Part 1. Delivering a baby is a classic episode, especially in sitcoms. Every show needs to do this at some point, and with the more classic comedies it usually happens in the later seasons when the characters have gotten old and started settling down. Getting Marshall, who was last seen completely wasted in Atlantic City with Barney, to be at the birth of his son was a feat in and of itself and could have easily satisfied me as the finale. The jokes were funny on both ends of the story, with Robin and Ted recounting stories from over the years, some one-note, others told in multiple parts, and Barney doing his best to find a way back to New York for Marshall, which at one point involved stealing a motorcycle and riding it in the casino. It wasn’t the show’s most ingenious episode, but it provided the necessary moments to keep me involved in the proceedings. This could have very quickly gone down a bad road, as can happen with baby delivering stories of this type, but the show stuck the landing. It even managed to make Chris Elliot’s Mickey tolerable in a weird way. He’s such a difficult character to work with. By his very nature he’s a terrible father, so it’s nice to see him do things right from time to time.
Getting Marshal home ultimately serves as a reminder to Barney why he loves Quinn. I like Quinn. She has charisma to match Barney’s, so getting the two of them back together is a must. Unfortunately, they don’t reconcile until Part 2 gets rolling, when things start to get messy. It became immediately apparent the second Robin mentions Victoria we’d be seeing Ashley Williams at some point in the episode. She’s always welcome on the show, but this entire half of the episode felt like it should’ve been pushed to next season’s premiere. Or maybe just changed entirely. I like what they’re doing with Victoria; it makes sense. Ted needs to cross off the women in his life he may have a chance of happiness with before he can find the mother. He has eliminated Robin, and now all that’s left is to finish things with Victoria. So in a sense, I’m glad she came back, but I’m disappointed it was at the expense of her marriage.
It’s like Ted said; he was left at the altar and he just couldn’t do that another man. The right for him to do was to let Victoria go and marry this other guy. But this is the point when the episode starts needlessly throwing twist after twist at us. First Ted decides to run away with Victoria, then he doesn’t, and then he does again and the two ride off into the sunset together, hand in hand. It all happened so fast. They should have gone to the wedding and confronted the groom, or something! But they didn’t. Now we have to deal with the consequences.
Barney and Quinn’s storyline was highly amusing, as Barney is taken in by airport security for refusing to reveal what’s in his magic box because a magician never reveals his tricks. “It’s the magician’s code,” he says. From there we’re treated to some pretty funny scenes, but the cherry on top is the eventual reveal of Barney’s trick. I enjoyed how self-impressed Barney was at his magical prowess. And then of course the trick had to lead to him having a ring to give to Quinn, asking her to marry him. This is all good so far. I want Barney to marry Quinn. And then we flash foward.
We’re back to Barney’s wedding day and Ted is called away by the bride. Predictably, the bride ends up being Robin and my heart sinks. I knew in that moment I did not want Barney and Robin together. Seeing him in his tuxedo, nervous for his big day felt right. Seeing Robin in the same way, but in her wedding dress, was just wrong. That’s the only way I could describe it. It left me feeling so so wrong. Not only that, but it cheapens Barney’s proposal to Quinn in the present. Now we know they’re going to break up. We know Ted and Victoria are going to break up. These twists and turns can be exciting, but we know the end game already. All the fun gets taken out of the twists if you know what the end result is. If they had revealed Quinn as the bride, it would have worked because they showed the proposal in the present first. That would’ve strengthened what we see in the future. Instead, it just weakens everything.
All I can say at this point is I’m about tired of all the misdirection and curveballs. This show has been on too many years for it to go on like this indefinitely. Season 8 had better be the last year and it better end with Ted finding the mother. Or I’ll cry, loudly and obnoxiously.
And shouldn’t Ted’s kids already know who Barney marries? How can that be something they don’t know?