Well this season has been quite the emotional roller-coaster for Barney. First the guy finds out he has a dad (who he thought was his uncle mind you) and then he finds out his
uncle dad now has a whole separate life…complete with another son. That kind of news would be devastating to anyone, especially someone as emotionally insecure as Barney.
The reason HIMYM is such a success is because it’s simply a show about people. The writers have done a fabulous job developing very real and complex characters. And while all the characters on the show have an interesting story, Barney’s story might just be the most complex.
While we have always gotten hints that there was more to Barney than meets the eye, we didn’t truly see another side to him until season 4, the season where he admitted he was in love with Robin J Let me get this out of the way--YES I do ship Barney & Robin so if that’s going to annoy you I advise you to stop reading now.
Okay, still with me? Let’s continue.
I feel that some of the best episodes of the series have dealt with Barney’s feelings for Robin (i.e. “Benefits”--AWESOME episode). Now I will be the first one to say that the beginning of season 5 was less than stellar. Barney is definitely more fun to watch when he isn’t in a committed relationship, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be happy once the series comes to an end. Actually considering how much he’s emotionally matured throughout the series, it wouldn’t make sense for him to not end up a changed and happy man.
Tonight’s episode “Hopeless” was filled with tons of emotional growth. It seemed to be a real turning point for the Barnacle. This episode was a direct continuation of “Legendaddy” (which oddly I just realized I never did a review for). “Legendaddy” ended with Barney walking out on his dad, mostly because he couldn’t handle the fact that his father was never there for him. “Hopeless” shows that despite the pain, Barney still wants his father in his life.
Barney invites his dad to go clubbing with the gang. He does this with one goal in mind: to get his dad to realize that the partying life is awesome and to drag him back into it. In order to do this, Barney feels he needs to make the circumstances of his life look perfect (further proof that Barney constantly hides behind a smokescreen of awesome, afraid to come out into the real world). This fake front includes being friends with “awesome people.” Although he already has some top notch friends, he forces the gang to take on different “cooler” personas. According to Barney: Marshall is now a playwright, Lily is basically Meryl Streep, Lily and Marshall are in an “open marriage,” Robin is a professional scotch drinker, Ted is himself with MANY restrictions…and last but CERTAINLY not least Ted & Robin are dating.
Now why do Ted & Robin need to be dating to give Barney’s dad the perfect impression? This is Barney’s reasoning:
I can’t have any single female friends lying around. My dad will be all “Why don’t you marry Robin? You guys are cute together. Deep down you know you were never happier than when you were with her.”
When Barney said this line, I literally jumped off of my couch and ran towards the TV. I didn’t even realize what I was doing until I was inches from the screen. I guess I was so excited at the prospect of Barney having feelings for Robin again, that I needed to get as close to the TV as possible to take the whole thing in (yeah it makes no sense, but just go with it). After Barney says that everyone gives him a strange look--especially Robin. This made me smile. I truly feel that this line, along with Robin’s reaction, was put in there to foreshadow things to come. Why else would the writers have Barney say something like that??
Anyway, as planned, the gang goes with Barney’s dad to a club. Long story short, Barney’s dad fakes being drunk to trick his son into bonding with him (an oddly similar tactic used by a certain someone earlier in the episode ;) ), Lily and Marshall have a competition to see who is better at the whole “open marriage” thing, and Ted & Robin are constantly at each other’s throats.
In the club Robin sees a dude who she apparently ran into at a department store a few years back. He is super hot, and she is really excited that she has the chance to talk to him again. However, staying true to “himself,” Ted comes up to her while she’s talking to cute boy and announces that he is her boyfriend. Needless to say this pisses Robin off. She wants Ted to tell the dude (for now I will refer to him as cute boy) that they are broken up to which Ted replies “I would have stolen you a whole orchestra. K, what’s the rest?” This broke my heart. It was the exact exchange that happened when they really did break up, and to me it was so cute (and so sad) that he remembered.
While Robin is trying to convince Ted to go over and talk to cute boy, Ted learns that she got this “crush” while he and Robin were still dating. Angry, instead of telling cute boy they are broken up, Ted announces to the whole bar that he and Robin are engaged. This causes Robin to miss her chance once again (but we do learn from future Ted that cute boy does eventually come back into the picture).
So while Ted & Robin are bickering, Barney leaves the bar with his “drunk” dad and thinks they are having this epic time, because he is too drunk to understand what is really going on. When his dad finally confesses that he’s not drunk, Barney finally gets that he and his dad aren’t so different after all.
In order to get back on time to go fishing with his other son, Barney’s dad cons one of his driver’s ed students into driving him all the way home. After having somewhat of a breakthrough with his dad, and despite not wanting to go fishing, Barney ends up going along for the ride.
During this ride the two of them have a heartfelt conversation. Barney basically admits that he loves his party hardy lifestyle, but he isn’t sure if he likes that he loves it. He starts to make it clear that he wants what his dad has--a stable life, a stable family, the whole enchilada. He also makes it clear that he fears he is too broken to get to that point in his life. In a heartwarming moment his dad reassures him that Barney is nowhere near as broken as he once was. He tells Barney that he can have whatever life he wants. When Barney asks "how" his dad says "a magician never reveals his greatest trick." This is truly touching because when it comes down to it the answer to that question is different for everyone (plus Barney and his dad both love magic....so win win).
Finally Barney concludes that maybe his dad is right…maybe he can have a different life, and maybe all he needs to make that happen is the perfect girl. When Barney starts to say his thoughts out loud, the driver tries to tell Barney that he will meet this girl soon…but then Barney throws a bombshell on the audience. He says that he might have already met her.
Okay to be honest, when Barney said that statement I don’t think he was talking about Robin. Barney is so screwed up right now and is just starting to figure things out. Even if he does have feelings for Robin I think they are buried so deep that he isn’t quite sure how to dig them out yet. So who else would Barney have been talking about? Easy--Nora. And although this might seem bad for Barney and Robin, I really feel like it’s a good thing. The two of them still aren’t emotionally ready yet. Maybe by dating other people (i.e. Nora and cute boy) they will finally realize their true feelings .
All in all this episode showed great emotional growth for Barney and in my book was a definite WIN.I am so happy that he is finally allowing himself to be vulnerable again, and I am especially happy that this is occurring because of his father. Barney needs a good father figure in his life, and if he lets his dad in, he might just get that.
What did you guys think of the episode?? Do you think Barney will be closer to his dad now? Do you think his comments about Robin foreshadowed anything?? Chime in below!