'How I Met Your Mother': Making peace with 'Rally' and the run to the finish

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how-i-met-your-mother-rally.jpgComplaining about the time-marking nature of "How I Met Your Mother's" final season is, at this point, not a useful exercise.

It's exhausting to write about, it must be exhausting to read about, and it can surely be tough to watch, even in an episode such as Monday's (Feb. 24) "Rally," which had some pretty good comic bits and callbacks to earlier points in the series. This is the path the show chose to take this season, however, and considering filming on the series finale is just about done, it's not changing.

So let's all stipulate from here on out that we wish the Mother had been involved earlier and more often in this season, and by extension her future relationship with Ted explored a little more deeply. That while the jumping around in time that has occurred during Barney and Robin's wedding weekend has occasionally been fun (see below) as it filled in old gaps or circled back to previous seasons, it has not been enough to fill out an entire season. And that our biggest hope is that five weeks from now, the show manages to stick its landing.

Cool? Cool.

Now, on to the specific parts of "Rally" that worked:

- The revelation that Stinson's Hangover Fixer Elixir is just a placebo, and that Barney reality was proffering it as a show of love for his friends. We need a reminder every now and then that for all Barney's general awfulness (Gen. Awfulness [salute gesture]), there's a reason the other four value him as a friend. This was that reminder -- plus they got to return the favor by telling him they pulled a Weekend at Barney's. Although, show of hands, who was slightly disappointed the bear shown in the teaser was just from a video and not the wedding ring bear(er)?

- Ted's first and last time eating bacon. Not cool, Ted's mom. Not cool.

- Lily and Robin's post-kiss switcheroo. Lily's not-very-well-concealed attraction to Robin is among "HIMYM's" longer-running jokes, and Alyson Hannigan has always played it very well. Her body language and vocal inflection here were spot-on as she struggled even more than usual to contain herself. But as with many things, the event didn't quite live up to the hype, and Robin was the one left grasping.

- A couple of the flash-forwards. We learn A) how Marshall lost his hair -- his run for judge in 2020 was mighty stressful, it appears; B) that Robin and Barney make it back to Argentina in a couple years (though the baby joke was kind of cheap); and C) that the Mother is around in 2022 and about to publish a book that will further her cause to end poverty.

After "Rally," only four episodes stand between us and the series finale. What did you think of Monday's episode?

Photo/Video credit: CBS