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How I Met Your Mother: 'Last Words'; Rent Crocodile Dundee 3

"It looks like your Dad came through for you one last time." - Lily

Though it took half an episode to get there, 'Last Words' ended up being another fine episode of this mostly amazing season of 'How I Met Your Mother'.

Of course, as I mentioned last time in my review of 'Bad News', I felt that in order to make the shock of the previous episode work, the follow up would have to really bring something special. For the most part, I felt it did that. There were some bits that didn't quite work, like the varying silly things Marvin said to Marshall on his way to the cab(*). There were some bits that /really/ didn't work, like the game to try and make Marshall laugh or the awful reverend played by Danny Strong - who wasn't done justice with such a crappy character.

(*) As Alan Sepinwall pointed out in his review, we had already just seen Marshall and Marvin have a lovely heart-to-heart, and we didn't exactly need to see a slightly contrived series of set ups that involved Marvin being casually offensive.

But none of that really compared to the second half, which focused on Marshall's heartbreaking dilemma of whether to check the voicemail or not. It's a terrible situation to be in, one that I hope I never have to find myself in. So when Marshall phoned his voicemail and he put it down seconds later, I knew what was coming. And then boy did the tears come. I'm a cryer - I'll happily admit that. But Jason Segel really nailed it(**) this week, and so as Marshall angrily shouted at God at how unfair this situation was, as he sighed to Lily that Marvin was never going to meet his grandchildren, and as the friends stood by, helpless, my glasses completely fogged up.

(**) Last time someone mentioned in the comments section that 'Bad News' should be Jason Segel's Emmy submission, a point which I argued because it didn't show Marshall at his funniest, but here there was enough humour and pathos from Marshall that I could be comfortable he stood a chance if he submitted this one.

And even though I could sort of see it coming, the actual message from Marvin was just beautiful. Short, simple and sweet, it gave everything Marshall needed to hear. It was my favourite type of writing - just a real honest human moment where the fourth wall came down and I was able to pat Marshall's shoulder as a viewer.

Though I felt uncomfortable with the comedy at first, Robin as the fixer turned out to be a really great running gag that gave Cobie Smulders something to do in an episode where she would have otherwise been a little redundant. Nice little jokes worked too, like Barney giving the girl her phone number back (***), and how Lily let Marshall's mom abuse her to keep her happy.

(***) Funny how I was inherently against the idea of Barney hooking up at the funeral, but this joke I enjoyed, mostly because of Barney's horrible mistake. Nice one, writers.

I like where the next few episodes seem to be heading (though I haven't read any spoilers on this show, so please try and keep them to a minimum in the comments section!), and I'm just generally very pleased about this season as a whole.

All hail the bullets:
  • Looking at this episode compared to some of Jason Segel's best work on the short lived 'Freaks and Geeks', I think it's interesting to see how wonderfully he can play frustration with his awful Dad on one show and be devastated at the loss of a great Dad on another show.
  • Loved the little callback to the ridiculous Eriksen diet, with Judy eating what I believe was a salad?
  • No great episode of 'HIMYM' would be complete without a ridiculous Barney history lesson, this time telling the 'real' tale of Nathan Hale.
  • Bob Vance. Vance Refridgeration.
  • I saw a preview clip which featured no laugh track for the episode. I like the laugh track mostly, but the flow of the clip wasn't odd at all, and I wonder if the laughter track should have been removed just for this episode.

Bloody great work from Jason Segel (and Alyson Hannigan), and R.I.P. Marvin Eriksen.

What did everyone else think?

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