How I Met Your Mother
The Magician's Code Part 1

Episode Report Card
Ethan Alter: C+ | 4 USERS: B+
YOU GRADE IT
Storytime at the Apollo

If you thought that Community had a monopoly on the whole “fake clip show” thing, think again. “The Magician’s Code Pt. 1” filled up much of the twenty minutes prior to the birth of young Marvin Waitforit Eriksen with cut-aways to manufactured memories that Ted and Robin recalled in order to keep his mother occupied while she vainly waited for her drunk-as-a-skunk hubby to make his way back from Atlantic City. As is typically the case though, Community did it significantly better, although honestly, the fake clips here were funnier than anything else in the episode.

We begin mere seconds after the previous episode ended, with a newly-reunited Robin and Ted rushing into the Eriksen abode to find Lily wracked with contractions on the sofa. Going to the hospital is out for the time being because the contractions aren’t four minutes apart yet. And besides, Marshall isn’t there and she understandably wants the big lug present at the birth of their first baby. So to kill time -- and to keep Robin from telling more stories about all the foals she ushered into the world during her forced exile to her family’s ranch one summer or Ted from showing off more of his cheesy labor announcement e-mail (the full version of which can be viewed here) -- they start telling her stories from their past.

What kind of stories? Well, there was that time she and Ted had the worst cab ride ever, where their driver assaulted a squeegee man. And who can forget the time that Robin bragged to the boys about spending the night with Toronto’s own Neil Young only to have them tell her it wasn’t Neil Young when they laid eyes on him. (As a good Canadian, you’d think she’d be able to spot a fake Neil Young from 50 yards away. Isn’t his face emblazoned on the national currency up there?) The best of their stories is “Where Does that Door Go” in which Ted spots a heretofore unseen door in MacLaren’s and, one-by-one, each member of the group passes through it to discover that… well, you’ll have to wait for the next episode to learn the button on that particular gag.

While Ted, Robin and Lily are walking down memory lane in Manhattan, Marshall and Barney are desperately trying to find a way to get home from Atlantic City, a normally easy commute that’s complicated due to an unspecified “Big Thing” that’s going down. (We really hope the writers don’t devote an entire Season 8 episode to solving the mystery of the “Big Thing.” If they didn’t care enough to come up with an explanation this time around, we’re definitely not going to care another year from now.) First Barney suggests that they play a “Win This Motorcycle” slot machine game, but that plan fails to work out when they realize they’re feeding their coins into the wrong slots. After that, Barney just tries stealing the motorcycle, a plan that, while bold, inevitably results in him being temporarily detained by the casino security detail. (They’re forced to let him go, however, when they discover that there really is no rule against riding motorcycles through the lobby in the casino handbook. Details matter, people!) Finally, he gets them out of the AC by scoring two seats on a senior citizens bus bound for the bright lights of… Buffalo. Despite their pleas, the driver refuses to make a pit stop in Manhattan so that Marshall can be present for this joyous event. Their begging and whining does pay off when the elderly riders pull an “I am Spartacus” moment and demand that the bus head directly to the Manhattan hospital where…

Lily has gone to give birth. Apparently, her unborn child had grown sick of having to listen to all these dumb stories because the contractions are now much more frequent and poor Mom has passed the point of no return -- i.e., it’s too late for an epidural. Marshall’s still nowhere to be seen, but her dad does briefly stop by and delivers a heartwarming pep talk before ruining everything once again by talking about vaginal tearing. Then it’s back to pushing and Lily seems on the verge of delivery when her husband finally bursts into the room and holds her hand as she huffs and puffs through the final stage. Not long after, the whole gang gathers around her hospital bed and gazes down at the sweet face of the doll playing Marvin Eriksen, whose middle name -- Waitforit -- was the price Marshall had to pay for Barney’s help in getting them both back to New York. That all of the characters (including Lily and Marshall) think that this is somehow an awesome middle name just confirms what terrible people they’ve become. Poor Marvin; at least he’s got excellent grounds for a child abuse lawsuit when he comes of age.

How I Met Your Mother

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