It’s official: “How I Met Your Mother” has finally found it’s darkest timeline. For all of you non-Community fans out there (shame on you), what I mean is that the end of the world must be near because in Lobster Crawl, Ted’s story was the highlight of an otherwise weak episode that was seldom funny and often uncomfortable to watch. For the first time this season, the show dipped far below mediocrity and ventured into the realm of real disappointment. “HIMYM” showed it’s age like never before with this episode, and if the show can’t redeem itself with an excellent one in the weeks to come, fans may be pleading for season 8 to be the last.
In the opening scene, the gang has a new member joining them at MacLaren’s for a round: baby Marvin. Lily and Marshall bring him to the bar because Mickey is absent and they have nobody to babysit. When Ted offers to watch the little guy for them, they jump at the offer and Ted becomes their newest sitter. But the decision to hand Marvin off to Ted soon backfires, as Marvin crawls for the first time when Lily and Marshall aren’t there to see the big event. Ted gets a bit carried away (as he so often does) with Marvin and starts doing all of Marvin’s firsts without his parents being present. Eventually Lily and Marshall realize that the GNB Building project was Ted’s baby, and now that it’s over he needs something new to take care of. They step in and take Marvin back and set Ted up with a headhunter that he previously cancelled on.
Meanwhile, Robin and Barney’s relationship reaches a new low. After Barney apologized to Robin for the drunken kiss they shared, he told her that he was done trying to get her. So now that he’s not interested, Robin of course wants nothing more than to hook up with him. Lily explains that the situation is just like that time that Robin’s doctor told her she was allergic to lobster and could never eat it again: after hearing that news, Robin proceeded to eat as much lobster as possible. And now that Barney has said they can’t be together, she wants nothing more. For some inexplicable reason, Robin starts acting like a high school cheerleader as she drools over Barney and lavishes him with compliments. But no matter how hard she tries, Robin can’t persuade Barney to sleep with her. In a truly bizarre twist, Robin shows up at Barney’s apartment to find him already on a “date” with her co-worker, Patrice.
Robin’s storyline in Lobster Crawl was by far the worst of them. How incredibly predictable of the writers to make Robin be suddenly so interested in getting Barney after he just said he was done chasing after her. We know that they end up getting married, so all this will-they-won’t-they garbage is boring and unnecessary. But besides that, Robin randomly becoming like a middle-schooler around Barney was weird and way more awkward to watch than funny. Her ditzy actions were completely out of character—if Robin Scherbatsky wants to seduce a man, she knows better than to start acting like an idiot adolescent. Whatever the reason was for taking Robin’s character in this direction, it certainly didn’t work and it left this “HIMYM” fan feeling more uncomfortable than amused.
While we’re on the subject of weird jokes that just aren’t working, it might be time to address Lily’s strange lesbian side that comes out every so often. This kind of humor might’ve worked three or four seasons ago, when if was first introduced, but it just doesn’t fit as one of the show’s recurring bits. It’s difficult to explain why it’s not funny anymore, but at this point it’s hard not to feel awkward whenever Lily voices her sexual desires for Robin (most frequently) or any other women on the show. “How I Met Your Mother” has plenty of successful jokes that continue to be revisited throughout the seasons, but this doesn’t deserve to be one of them.
In an episode where Robin was so un-enjoyable and Lily and Marshall were sadly forgettable, Ted was strangely the strongest part of Lobster Crawl. Almost every week, there’s at least one reason for me to say, “Ugh, Ted is the worst,” as many “HIMYM” fans can probably attest to. But shockingly, Lobster Crawl never provided a reason for such commentary. Ted’s bond with Marvin was fun to watch and proved his parenting abilities. Though he might have been a bit overzealous as always, he meant well and did a fine job looking after his sort-of-nephew. It turns out that Ted may have some redeeming qualities after all!
The one other positive to come out of Lobster Crawl was Barney’s realization that everything he’s done since his split with Quinn has been a cry for help. It was a huge character development when he got all the way to the news station with Brandi and then decided not to have sex with her. This may be the turning point, in which Barney leaves behind his man-whore ways once and for all. The addition of Barney having Patrice over at his place for a date was a bit much though—just because he had an epiphany doesn’t mean that Patrice is suddenly Barney’s type. It would have made more sense if she had just been over to hang out, rather than a date. Still, this new revelation was a big moment for Barney and saved Lobster Crawl from being an utterly worthless episode.
It might be time to start worrying about the future of “How I Met Your Mother.” Season eight thus far has been a struggle, with far more drab and weak episodes than can be remembered of seasons past. Sadly, this beloved sitcom has undoubtedly begun showing it’s age. Lobster Crawl was easily the worst episode of the season so far, and let’ hope it will stay that way. Fans will continue to hope for improvement until the bitter end, but it may be time to start preparing ourselves for a very rocky finish to the series.