Ted's back with Stella? What what what?
I know it was only a throwaway reference at the front of Future Ted's narration, and then the set-up for Marshall randomly talking in falsetto when he didn't need to on the phone with Ted, but the idea that Ted and Stella are now dating, despite how we left things at the end of "Ten Sessions" -- and what that means in terms of Stella's probable Mother-hood -- kind of overwhelmed my experience of watching "The Chain of Screaming." There were a number of really good things in it, nothing cringe-inducing like some of the punchlines in the otherwise-brilliant "The Bracket," and yet my mind kept doing mental calculations about how Sarah Chalke might be able to balance filming the final season of "Scrubs" with doing more "HIMYM."
Because, seriously? If they went to all the trouble of establishing that Ted and Stella are now going out, on the heels of their big romantic mini-date a few episodes ago, and all the rumors that Chalke is going to appear a few more times this season... my Mother-Sense is buzzing loud and long. I have no inside information on this, nor do I especially want to get any, but I have to assume we've landed our mom.
As for the rest of "The Chain of Screaming," like I said, I was distracted. I think it was a very good episode, and going back over the events in my head, it feels like it had all the traits I associate with superior "HIMYM" -- fun with flashbacks and altered perspectives (The Ninja Report), Barney being Barney and developing theories, a healthy dose of Marshall and Lily, gags about the reality of life in New York (Ted's pointless car), etc. -- and so I'd like to think it was good, but, again, distraction, so much so that we're going to go straight to the bullet points:
- I like that, in the week "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is going to open, we got a Marshall spotlight episode. That said, seeing Marshall scream, first at Barney (who is so in denial he didn't even register Marshall ripping apart the entire tissue of lies his sense of identity is based on) and then at Artillery Arthur, reminded me that, great as Jason Segel is on this show, the role doesn't often allow him to show all the colors he displays whenever he's in an Apatow joint. Marshall's such a happy guy, but Segel's usual fearlessness goes to another level whenever he gets to play comic rage.
- Who was your favorite faux-Marshall? At first, I was sure Robin-as-Marshall had the title sewn up, as her crazy, gun-toting Canadian-ness has always been comic gold, but then the sexually frustrated Lily-as-Marshall began fantasizing to Arthur (as we learned from the "American Pie" movies, a horny Alyson Hannigan is a funny Alyson Hannigan) and, even better, grabbed her crotch, and that was all she wrote. We have a winner. (Ted The Corrector-as-Marshall was amusing, too, but not in the ladies' league.)
- Loved the entire flashback to Gary Blauman -- who, per IMDB, previously appeared in Barney's office in season one's "Life Among the Gorillas" -- telling off the boss, starting with the "And you made our friends, the North Koreans, look bad!" all the way through his failed big gesture.
- The messy snacks running gag was another winner, and worked because everything (even the cigar) was at least twice the size it needed to be. Props to the props department for their work on that.
- So now that Marshall has quit his job, I suppose we're done with the possibility of John Cho making another guest appearance and possibly crossing paths with Barney. Grr...
- Are we to assume that Ted selling the car (and no doubt taking a beating on the depreciation) will just help Marshall pay the mortgage, or will help subsidize Marshall taking a loss on unloading Dowisetrepla? I'd like to think that Lily and Marshall will continue to be Ted's roomies, but Future Ted's narration back in the first Dowisetrepla implied that buying that condo was a mistake that had very long-term implications for Marshall.