'How I Met Your Mother': The Exploding Meatball Sub Disappoints

This week's episode took a superficial and unfocused look at what makes relationships work

bahr_himym_thumb.jpg

CBS


How I Met Your Mother returned this week with an episode called "The Exploding Meatball Sub." Though an exploding meatball sub does actually factor into the plot, the episode is mainly about relationship challenges, specifically whether it's preferable to have a fully supportive, albeit predictable, relationship like Marshall and Lily's, or a volatile and challenging but always interesting one like Ted and Zoey. It takes a full episode and Future Ted's 20 years of perspective to assure us that ultimately the supportive and predictable relationship is superior. He has this wisdom to offer because Present Ted doesn't go with his instincts and break up with Zoey, even though she is protesting his dream project with court orders, pickets, and loudspeakers. We're told that he would have to learn his mistake "the hard way," because Future Ted teaches his kids lessons in the context of the broader narrative, not by explaining away oversimplified resolutions in the moment.

Written by the longtime but infrequently used HIMYM scribe Stephen Lloyd, also responsible for "Cleaning House" (easily one of the worst episode of the season), this episode was superficial and unfocused. Marshall quits his job at GNB for an unpaid volunteer position at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Lily tires of her own selflessness, and Barney plots an elaborate revenge against Marshall (for pointing out some errant meatball sauce on Barney's tie) with the use of an exploding meatball sub. The exploding sub and Barney as the mad scientist is a funny bit. But for a season that has managed to tell complicated stories in a variety of interesting and coherent ways, this episode tries to mash in too many unbelievable and humorless details such as Lily's impulsive, uncharacteristic, and unaffordable almost trip to Spain. And yet, regardless of the execution of this episode, the fundamental tensions between Zoey and Ted, Barney's unreconciled feelings about his father, and Lily's bottled up issues leave plenty for the writers to explore in the four remaining episodes of Season 6.

Presented by

Lindsey Bahr is a writer based in Chicago.

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we still save the night sky?

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we still save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Desegregated, Yet Unequal

A short documentary about the legacy of Boston busing

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

Social Media: The Video Game

What if the validation of your peers could "level up" your life?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Entertainment

Just In