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Just when you thought this season of How I Met Your Mother was done dropping the bombs, off goes another. A seemingly average episode ended in explosion with a twist only a soap opera could do better — or worse.
I like surprises in TV shows, but How I Met Your Mother has historically done very well sneaking them in under our noses. The big news that came from “The Rebound Girl” felt more like the “out of their asses” brand of surprise, which essentially wiped out the previous 21 minutes and 30 seconds of the episode.
Yet I can’t complain. Those previous 21-ish minutes weren’t all that good. Cute, but not up to muster. To start, we jumped back to a topic of three weeks ago in “The Slutty Pumpkin Returns” when Lily and Marshall were debating a move to suburbs except that the root cause was Lily’s pregnancy brain. Their cramped apartment was a fitting and amusing way to visually illustrate it all, but it seemed really soon to be revisiting the same issue of move or not move.
On the other hand, there was more promise with Ted and Barney doing something desperate and stupid in light of their current situations. Yet much in the same way Ted and Barney learn the lesson that “bro parenting” is not as good of an ideas as it seems, so do we learn that it’s not as funny of a concept as it sounds. The HIMYM gang has had some far-reaching ideas that the writers use to help comically exaggerate the feelings of the characters, but “bro parenting” doesn’t have legs beyond when Ted and Barney conceive of it (pun not intended?) at MacLaren’s.
For one thing, the fact that anyone would still think that a good idea after sobering up the next day is kind of ridiculous. To compensate, the ridiculousness would need to spiral into hilarity, but even though we don’t know where Barney got the baby from, it never goes far enough to be, well, legendary.
Meanwhile, it’s obvious that Robin is getting too invested in what Lily and Marshall are planning to do that she’s clearly hiding something, but considering the tumultuous nature of the past couple weeks, it could’ve been chalked up to the affair or any aspect of it. Pregnancy did not seem the likely direction, yet here we are.
Robin’s unbelievably cliché episode-ending remarks felt like a cold wake-up slap in the face, but once you get over the shock (and the soap opera banality), there’s more that can be inferred from this big news.
The context of Robin telling Barney and then cut to black suggested to us that this is Barney’s baby and now she has to really really decide if she’s going to be with him or more drastically keep things hush-hush. However, technically there’s an equal if not greater chance that this is Kevin’s baby. Why then, would Robin decide to share that news with Barney first before anyone else? Clearly she has a gut instinct or feeling that she either trusts/loves Barney, thinks it’s his baby, or both. It’s very telling of where her character is that she chose to tell him.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but under normal circumstances, the “who’s the baby daddy?” subplot starts with the more involved boyfriend finding out with usually an appeal to a neutral best friend as to what to do. This just seemed like a carefully planned way to go about it.
With Robin just becoming pregnant, whose baby it is wouldn’t be resolved during this season if we’re using a real-world timeline. It would be more likely that Robin would have to decide on keeping it or not and then telling Kevin about it. It would make sense if Kevin wanted to keep it under the assumption it was his, therefore creating unbearable tension for Robin, who would be worried that her baby would actually be Barney’s, or to be frank — not come out half Indian. She’d have to decide between telling Kevin about the affair or risk him finding out the hard way. This would have the potential of lasting several episodes as Barney would see it as his only way to win her back. The “X” factor would be Ted, as last week we know he saw Barney in Robin’s room. He could figure out what’s going on if this plot progresses far enough.
Let the speculation run rampant, but truth of the matter is that speculation over what happens does not an episode make. Fans are more likely to talk about what they think will happen after the Holiday hiatus than what happened in that entire episode, which inherently makes “The Rebound Girl” one of the season’s weakest.