In the time since the How I Met Your Mother writers decided to drop the shocking revelation that Robin was pregnant, the effect has worn off. In my review of “The Rebound Girl” which aired on Nov. 21, I discussed how crazy this news actually was. I must have forgotten that way back in some of the earlier episodes Future Ted tells his children that Robin doesn’t have children; so either it’s a false pregnancy, or something sad happens. All of this leads us right into this week’s episode.
“Symphony of Illumination” starts right where we left off: in Marshall and Lily’s (future) house. Well, sort of. Before the continuation of Robin telling Barney she’s pregnant the episode actually starts with “Future Robin” telling her children how she met their father (Barney). While it’s fun to see the whole “How I Met Your” routine through Robin’s eyes, it’s hard to forget that Future Robin doesn’t have kids.
Barney’s initial reaction to the news is wiped clean and he is in fact happy that Robin is pregnant, causing her to faint. Over the course of the episode, Lily has to go to a baby store to register for her baby shower and invites the two of them along. Robin sees how much hard work is involved, which pushes her further away from wanting to have children, while Barney meets Insane Duane, his best friend prior to Ted who disappeared after having a kid. Slowly Barney begins to agree that having a baby would be awful.
The funniest moment of their storyline is when the doctor tells them they’re not going to have a baby and the two have a choreographed dance to celebrate. The cheer from this moment leads perfectly into Marshall’s arc, where he and Mannheim and Steamroller (his hands) want to make the best—no, the most awesomely epic Christmas display—on his house.
He meets Scott, who offers to help with the display, but instead turns into a punk kid who “eats sandwiches” and traps Marshall up on the roof. Seeing Mr. E, as Scott calls him, act like a middle-aged father is hilarious and proves that Jason Segel can make over the top humor come down to earth and be believable.
While all of this is great fun, the episode turns somber when the doctor calls Robin back in to the office and reveals that our favorite journalist can never have kids. Ever. Sure, Robin never wanted children, but now that there is a different dynamic, we can expect her character to grow. The second half of the episode focused on a depressed Robin who wouldn’t tell the group the news. Ted tries to comfort her, but is unable to do so. In the end Future Ted reassures his children that Robin was never alone and rattles off a list of accomplishments she did that can become future episodes. If you listen carefully, it also makes it seem like she is not Barney’s future wife. That’s just a hunch that I have, and it breaks my heart, because I really want it to be her.
Even though her storyline has ups and downs in this episode, it’s mostly down. And since it’s the last episode before the holiday hiatus, it leaves us all thinking about where this series is going. Will the writers shift focus back to Ted’s never-ending quest to find the one he loves? How will Lily’s pregnancy unfold? Can Marshall continue to carry the brunt of slapstick? When will Barney’s future wife be revealed? Most importantly: how will Robin’s life unfold? This seems to be her season so far, and I have a feeling she’s going to play an integral role in all of the characters lives.