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Episode: Farhampton (Season 8, Episode 1)
Synopsis: How I Met Your Mother is back and they picked up right where we left off last season. Ted (Josh Radnor) is at a train station and meets an old lady who asks him about the wedding he was just at. We flash forward to Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin’s (Cobie Smulders) wedding where they’re both freaking out about going through with it. Then we flash back to the “present” where Barney and Quinn (Becki Newton) have gotten engaged on the day that Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) bring little Marvin home. Quinn asks Robin and Lily to be her bridesmaids (rather than ask her stripper friends) without knowing that Barney used to date Robin. Marshall and Lily spill the beans because they’ve basically become zombies that can’t hold conversations due to their lack of sleep now that they have a baby. Barney had gone through great lengths to hide his history with Robin. Quinn and Robin are both insulted, but Barney finds a way to resolve his issues with them, which included explaining his and Ted’s full history with Robin in less than a minute. It helps that Robin is dating someone (with killer abs) now.
Meanwhile, Ted and Victoria (Ashley Williams) return to the church where Victoria is supposed to get married because she didn’t leave a note. Ted has to find a way to break in to her room and leave the note that they’ve written by getting past a large, German bridesmaid. During his many attempts, he finds out that Victoria’s fiance, Klaus (Thomas Lennon), is also trying to run out on the wedding. Although this makes Ted feel better about “stealing” Victoria, in talking to Klaus he realizes that she probably isn’t the one he’s meant to be with.
After last week’s disappointing premiere of The Office, I worried that this episode would be nothing but exposition with few laughs and little emotion, but I was wrong. While the storyline with Ted and the “leaving you at the altar note” had some weak moments, Thomas Lennon was great in bringing something different to that story as Klaus. Among the funniest moments were Barney’s one minute recap, Marshall and Lily’s fish bowl haze, and the way Barney photoshopped Robin out of several of his old pictures.
What sells this episode though is the emotions the audience feels in the final minutes as Ted realizes that Victoria isn’t the one and, in a tear-jerker, Barney sends Robin to a storage garage that contains a box that has all of their pictures and other objects that symbolize their time together. Most of the time it takes a full season or at least an arc building up over several episodes to pull off moments like that one, but “Farhampton” gets it done in one episode. It’s seriously one of the strongest season premieres that the show has ever made. And if the premiere is this strong, the rest of the season could be legen… wait for it…