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How I Met Your Mother- Episode 9.17 "Sunrise" Review- A great episode makes us reflect on what love really is


“You are going to lose this. If you keep lying to me, if you keep cutting me out of decisions, if you keep using words like ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ when you talk about our marriage… it’s not like it will happen all at once. But if you keep acting this way, little by little you are gonna lose me. Is that what you want?”- Ghost Lily talking some sense in to Marshall.




There is a reason I started this review with that quote (spoiler alert: it will be one of my picks for quote of the week) and it is not just that it was one of the highlights of the episode, but because I feel it represents some of the biggest flaws in How I Met Your Mother’s character: their stubbornness. Being stubborn means you won’t give up until you achieve something, you can’t let it go, and that sometimes it can be rewarding when you achieve your goal and usually makes the best workers at their jobs, but when it comes to personal relationship being stubborn, not listening to what the other has to say and being stuck on your own idea can mean the downfall for that particular relationship. The main characters on this show share that flaw, and that means losing something in return for their stubbornness; Lily’s pursue for her art dream meant losing Marshall back in 2006, for Marshall it meant risking his marriage now, for Barney it meant years of regrets for letting Robin go, for Robin it meant a lot of pain for not accepting she loved Barney back in season 7 and for Ted, who has been the one to suffer the most for his stubbornness, it meant 9 years of chasing the wrong girl, losing multiple chances of happiness.

Stubbornness is a double edge sword, and all the characters in this show have suffered from it, but no one has suffered as much as Ted did; he has never been good at letting things go, for instance he never forgot about not receiving a thank you note for the coffee maker he gave Marshall and Lily on their wedding, after he and Victoria broke up he always wondered what it could have been like if they remained together until she returned, by the end of season 4 he was reluctant to start a teaching job because he couldn’t let go of his dream of building a skyscraper (which eventually happened) and he never, ever, let go of Robin. I think one of the reasons he had to wait so much for The Mother is because he wouldn’t be worthy of meeting her until he has finally learnt how to let go, and The Mother (as seen last week) also has to let go of Max’s ghost. Neither of them can be truly happy and they can’t meet until they can finally move on, and tonight’s episode is all about that, about how Ted finally took that step forward, one that took 9 years to take.

All of Ted ex-girlfriends know this, and they make a surprisingly welcome come back in the episode: he never tells Robin that he was on a quest for her locket, but Stella, Victoria and even crazy Jennet tell Ted the same thing: he hasn’t let go of Robin and he is acting crazy. Ted tries to convince them that he has to do it, and once he confronts Jennet in Central Park on the bridge, his defenses wear down and he finally let her know what he thinks love is and why he is so persistent:

“If you are looking for the word that means caring about someone beyond all rationality and want them to have everything that they want no matter how much it destroys you, it’s love! And when you love someone, you don’t stop, ever, even when people roll their eyes or call you crazy, even then, especially then! You just don’t give up, because if I could give up… if I could just take the whole world’s advice and move on and find someone else, then that wouldn’t be love, that would be… that would be some other disposable thing that is not worth fighting for”.

Ted, you worked so hard on finding the words to describe what you feel that it makes me sad to say this: that whole thing was bullshit. True love is not one sided, it’s mutual; if it truly destroys you then it’s not actually love, because there is hatred there, hatred for one self. Many hopelessly romantic people think that sacrificing and giving up everything for another person is the true expression of love, but that’s just the expression of obsession.

True love is what Marshall and Lily have, and the episode proves it, so let’s talk about them: Marshall is trying to convince himself that he was right all along and that he would ultimately win the argument, but then ghost of Lily warns him that he is going to lose her if he keeps going behind her back and just think about who wins and who loses; this is what opens Marshall’s eyes and it is what makes him come to terms with going to Italy, because Lily is more important than winning, and that is true for Lily too, who comes back and as Marshall is willing to sacrifice his dream to become a judge for her, she is ready to sacrifice her own for Marshall. From the beginning both of them knew they were going to stay in New York, Lily was actually hurt not because Marshall took the job, but because he did it behind her back, and by accepting that they may go to Italy and telling Lily that he just wants to be with her, Lily realizes that they are in the same page and that what really make sense is to stay in New York. No matter how strong their fight was their relationship is so strong that it withheld all the injuries they inflicted on each other, and that is because both of them were ready to give the other one what they needed; it’s only when there is no consideration for the other when things are doomed, love has to be mutual, otherwise it isn’t truly love.

Ted’s relationship with Robin has been condemned since the beginning because they don’t share the same love; sure, Robin loves Ted, at one point she loved him as a romantic partner, but Ted is the one who has always been ready to sacrifice everything for her and not vice versa. What drove Robin away from Ted is his selflessness, which makes her aware that she can never give him the same thing back, but it is also a reflection of how little he thinks he is worth. Think about to how many heights Ted has gone for every women he has been with, that’s only a reflection of how far he thinks he has to go because he himself is not enough, and that’s why none of the important relationship he has been in has worked out, because deep down the women who he has been with can feel that and, with Ted being such a great guy, they don’t want to be the reason he looks down on himself and they can’t repay the same gestures, so it’s not fair for him. The right woman for Ted, the one he will truly love with his whole soul and heart will be the one who makes him realize that he is as good as her other half is, and that’s The Mother, not Robin. We’ve already seen the flash forwards and how the two of them get along so great; Ted is happier than ever, and that can only be because he sees that The Mother loves him just as much as he loves her. Both of them are broken, but together they can see what they are truly worth for and make sense of who they are: they fit, and that’s why Ted has spent 9 years telling this story, so we can make sense of what it means for him to be with The Mother, she is the woman who made him realize he was worth loving.

A romantic gesture is not always a cry for low self-esteem as this review may seem it look, the true romantic gesture is when you give your partner what they really need, may it be a kiss, a ride on a balloon around the world while showering in roses, or a simple ‘I love you’, but it has to be equal to what your partner is willing to give you back, otherwise you are overcompensating because you feel you are unworthy of your partner. Going back to season 1, picture the season finale when Ted has a whole orchestra and roses for Robin; that’s not what she needs, because that’s not something she is ready to give Ted back, just as she will never be ready to give him a family, which is one thing Ted has always wanted. That would sum up what Ted is going through with Robin.

By telling her what he truly feels, that she has always been top 1 and that he is moving to Chicago he can finally understand clearly that the lesson he learnt as a kid was wrong; if you love something you don’t have to hung up to it in the fear of losing it forever, you have to be able to let it go if necessary. There is a saying that goes like this: “If you love something let it go, if it come back to you it’s yours, if it doesn’t it never was” and that applies perfectly here as The Eternal Flame plays while Ted lets go Robin’s hand; she was never his, he idealized her and he now understood that he has to move on, he needs to find the one who can give him what he needs. It’s a perfect moment of closure for a sweet episode, one that shows us how far Ted has come on his way to meet the right girl. And he is closer than he thinks.

Grade: A-

Stray Observation:

-I left out the whole Barney part of the story; to be honest it was the weakest link on the episode for me; funny at times, but pretty ok at best, yet I’m willing to let it slide as it is his way to pass the torch on his old life in order to start the new one with Robin. Also, I came to like it much better on my second watch (I originally planned to give the episode a B+, but I upgraded the grade after realizing how much good the episode had in it).

-This is a pretty different review from what I usually write, I focused mostly on describing love and what I think Ted goes through, but the fact that the episode made me think all that is pretty awesome, isn’t it? Not every TV show makes you evaluate and question your vision on subjects such as love. Also, I really liked the episode because it finally resolved many of the issues that have been in the air for the season and hits pretty good emotional beats and satisfying resolutions. The laughs are pretty stale, but one still has to appreciate the emotionally affecting episodes, because I’ll surely miss them when the show is done.

-The last time I felt so inspired writing a review was with “Bedtime Stories” when I made the whole review on rhyme; good times.

-This Stray Observation is credited to Donna Bowman of The A.V club, and it is mandatory that it is here:
Top five Ted girlfriends (“there’s kind of a running email chain about it,” Robin confesses): 5. Stella. 4. Zoe. 3. Slutty Pumpkin. 2. Marshall when they pretended to be a couple (“The Fortress,” season 8). 1. Victoria. Bottom five: 5. Blah Blah. 4. Boats Boats Boats (Becky). 3. Karen. 2. Zoe. 1. Jeanette.

-Some people think Ted could have gone as far as going into the water to look for the locket; me? Nah, that thing is lost forever.

-Lots of callbacks from Barney! Quinn is mentioned, “have you met Justin?”, “Clothes don’t matter?!”, “Tonight I’ll teach you how to live”, and many others.

-Marshall insisted he was never in worse shape than when Lily left him, and then his ghost dad steps up offended; loved that bit and it was great to see Marshall’s dad one more time, even if it was in ghost form.

-Robin still doubts about the marriage! Tonight she thinks Barney may be bailing on the wedding! Get it together sister! The man loves you, get it straight! Seriously, this is why Ted still chases after you.

-In the end Robin finally told Ted that the night they went out she wanted him to kiss her. Nice detail going back to the pilot promise writers!

-And we take a break until February 24th with an episode named “Rally”. This is the last hiatus for the show and then it’s all new every week until the finale. I’m going to miss this show so much…


About the Author - Pablo
I'm currently studying Psychology while also writing fantasy books (one already published in my home country, Chile, you can check it out on the facebook icon). I watch many different types of shows, including my favorites Revenge, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time and about 23 more. Currently writing reviews for Once Upon a Time, How I Met Your Mother and Community

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