Quick Take: How I Met Your Mother, "Karma"
"No matter how many things you put in this room, I'll still be here." - Ghost Robin
Review: How I Met Your Mother, "Karma"
(S0718) I'm of two minds about "Karma." On one hand I'm annoyed that How I Met Your Mother decided to pull the old "wiping the slate clean" trick, and reverse course on many of this season's plot threads (Marshall and Lily move to the 'burbs, Robin and Kevin's relationship, Ted still carrying a torch for Robin, and so on). On the other hand, I wasn't much of a fan of any of these stories, so it's kind of a relief to be free of them.
As an individual sitcom episode -- not taking into account its influence on season-long arcs -- "Karma" is damned good. It nails both the comedic and emotional components that viewers have come to expect from How I Met Your Mother.
"Karma" is not "18 Miles Out." What I mean is that there was no one part of the episode that was appreciably stronger or weaker than the others. Of the four stories packed into last night's episode, all are good in their own ways.
Let's talk about Ted (Josh Radnor) first. If we flash back to the last new episode of How I Met Your Mother, we find Ted expressing his undying love for Robin (Cobie Smulders). As it turns out, Ted's love is unrequited. Robin loves Ted, but she isn't in love with Ted. To avoid any awkwardness, Robin moves out of the apartment she shares with Ted (the same apartment that Marshall and Lily used to share with Ted). Ted spends the rest of the episode doing what all guys do after their beloved stomps all over their heart: smoke meat, build furniture with questionable structural integrity, mold clay, and talk to Cobie Smulders' ghost.
Robin takes refuge at Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily's (Alyson Hannigan) suburban abode. Marshall and Lily take the role of "gracious hosts" a bit too far and wind up closer to "kidnappers" when Robin tries to flea back to Manhattan.
Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) meanwhile, is head over heals for Quinn (Becki Newton), the woman he met, and bedded, last episode. As it turns out, Quinn A.K.A. Karma, is an exotic dancer at one of Barney's favorite gentleman's establishments. Quinn works Barney for all he's worth; convincing him that they can go on dates, but only at the club and only if he's constantly shelling out twenties. It's karmic (get it?) retribution for all of the lies Barney has told to women over the years. Eventually he wises up to her scheme, and has a come-to-Jesus-moment mid-lap-dance.
"Karma" comes to a very touching climax when Robin escapes the Seventh Circle of Hell known as Long Island and tells Ted that Marshall and Lily don't seem to be adjusting well to suburban life. Ted, in a moment of inspiration, figures out how he can rid himself of Robin's ghost and help Marshall and Lily at the same time. He moves to a new apartment and gives Marshall and Lily his old one. He even turns Robin's old room into a nursery. It's really very sweet, and very well done.
Lingering thoughts on "Karma":