HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER “Challenge Accepted” (8:00PM, CBS)How I Met Your Mother‘s sixth season finale snuck up on me this year. Part of the reason for that is because my lovely daughter was born on a Monday, we missed the previous week’s episode and our TV watching schedule has been interrupted by busts of crying every now and then. Anyway, this season has been an interesting one as it focused mainly on the non-Ted characters. Sure Ted was around with his doomed-from-the-start relationship with Zoey and the will-he-or-won’t-he plot regarding the GNB building project, but this season belonged to Marshall and Lilly dealing with Marshall’s dad’s death and Barney finding a girl who he might be able to settle down with. A lot’s been going on to widen this group’s horizons with the season premiere’s tease of a wedding in the somewhat near future. It seemed pretty clear from the beginning that it would be Barney’s wedding, but the real question was, “To who?”
This episode itself was a little disappointing, but not completely so. As always, the plot was well put together and the episode amazingly acted, but the blunder, as far as I was concerned, was the Lilly/Marshall sickness plot. The second Lilly got sick the missus and I were like “She’s totally pregnant.” The writers did an okay job masking the obviousness of this with all the grossout humor as far as Lilly’s sickness, but it feels ridiculous that no one in the episode thought “Hey, she might be pregnant.” The smokescreen didn’t work for a second on us and even though all of Marshall’s preparation for his interview was funny, it was ultimately pointless because we knew how this gag would ultimately end. It was a rare misstep as far as I’m concerned and they did an okay job of covering their tracks, but it just seemed so obvious.
Like this season as a whole, Ted took a back seat in the episode. While Lilly and Marshall dealt with their sickness, Barney and Robin were trying to stop Ted from getting back together with Zoey. It was some great stuff and those two characters and actors just murder everything when they’re together. Then, we almost end with Barney seeing that girl he had a thing for and after that the obvious reveal we’ve been waiting for: that it’s his wedding we’ve been seeing this year. I think this new girl is just a trick and that he’ll end up with Robin. Oh, also, I totally bought into the “And that was your mother” gag. All in all, it was a great season, with some Ted stuff that seemed like filler, but enough fantastic work by everyone else to really solidify this as a great season of television. Can’t wait to see what happens next!
OFF LIMITS “Las Angeles” (9:00PM, Travel Channel)I fully intended to tune into Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations last night, but Travel Channel had other plans for me. Instead, their new show Off Limits was on which was an okay replacement, but not really what I wanted to watch. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve really grown to like No Reservations and was excited about the new season, but after a few new episodes they went right back into reruns. Now they’re messing with me again by changing the time. Not cool Travel Channel, not cool. To make matters worse, my cable guide is all weird and doesn’t have information for the Travel Channel even though we definitely it, so I can’t tell ahead of time when things are on (without looking it up online, but that’s just SO much work). Anyway, this new show Off Limits follows host Don Wildman as he basically goes places that normal people can’t go. The premiere episode focused on Las Angeles and wound up being pretty interesting. He went into the hundred year old aqueducts that no cameras have ever been inside and also included tools that were just left there when the job was done as well as a tour through a Nazi compound in the Hills. While all that stuff was cool, the most interesting bit of info I learned from the series is that LA is on top of one of the biggest oil fields around which has resulted in oil rigs all over the place, many of which are hidden, especially in the fancier parts of town. Shows like these are fun to watch on a weekend when nothing else is on, but are not the kind of thing I will make a point to watch on a weekly basis, unless nothing else is on.
CASTLE “Knockout” (10:00PM, ABC)I was pretty disappointed with Castle‘s season finale last night. I had my problems with the show in the early parts of this season with it’s over-use of gimmicky plots, but I found tonight’s season finale far more insulting on a creative level. The season had gotten better as far as I was concerned and I was looking forward to this episode because it looked like we’d get a few more pieces to the puzzle of what happened to Beckett’s mom. Those episodes tend to be pretty epic with a fast pace and lots of action, but instead “Knockout” seemed to meander. Worse than that they threw in some hackneyed plot stuff that gets my goat. First off, SPOILER out of nowhere it was revealed that their boss Captain Montgomery was involved with the guys that were connected with Beckett’s mom’s death (the plot has gotten so complicated that I had to have the missus explain it all to me during a commercial break). I tend not to like these twists, not because I feel betrayed, but because they seem to come out of nowhere. I’d have to go back and watch previous episodes to see if there were any hints, but I didn’t catch any. Did Montgomery get shifty when the case came up? Or possibly sweaty? It wouldn’t have to be obviously telegraphed, but something should have been there. I felt very similarly when SPOILER Zach turned out to be a bad guy on Bones. It just felt tacked on and out-of-nowhere. Once they find out that Montgomery was somehow involved with the bad guys, Ryan and Esposito have a by-the-numbers fight where one believes it’s true and the other believes it but JUST CAN’T ADMIT IT TO HIMSELF. Blech.
Even worse was the near-the-end scene between Beckett and Montgomery where he explains what he did and what he’s going to do. Of COURSE he plans on taking on the bad guys solo and of COURSE he’s got Castle there to take Beckett away from the danger, which Castle does literally picking her up and dragging her away. Now, aside from not buying the very basis of this premise and not appreciating the melodramatic nature of the performances, I don’t buy for a damn second that bad ass cop Kate Beckett couldn’t free herself from a bear hug by an out of shape mystery writer. After that, he holds her against a car while she cries and Montgomery shoots the entire group of bad guys EXCEPT the main bad guy who somehow teleports behind him. Ugh. Thinking about it this morning just makes me more upset, because the show is absolutely better than this kind of writing. By the time we got to the final scene where SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER Beckett gets shot by a sniper while speaking at Montgomery’s funeral (he died of course). They make it look like she died, but I don’t really care much anymore. They’re either faking her death to draw this assassin guy out, which might get rid of some of the hokey gimmicks they relied on earlier this season for the upcoming one, or she’s just going to be fine. Her death wouldn’t just kill the romantic chemistry between the two leads (Castle told the “dying” Beckett he loved her, so we’ll see how this works out next season, I’m guessing she won’t remember and he won’t say anything about it) but also make the proceedings just too sad to stick around for. Castle relies on Nathan Fillion’s charm and him mourning for episodes on end would destroy that charm. Boring. Yawn. When does the summer season start?