Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Is 'Karma' good for How I Met Your Mother?

This week's How I Met Your Mother on CBS is called "Karma." Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) finds Quinn (Becki Newton, Love Bites, Ugly Betty) at a strip club working under the name Karma. Actually, they've both been there on a regular basis for over a year, but he finally notices her. Barney tries to ask her out, but ends up being played into spending lots of money on her. He is sincerely hurt, and seeing that, Quinn decides to give him a chance. Meanwhile, Ted (Josh Radnor) tries to decide what to do with his spare room, and Robin (Cobie Smulders) crashes in the suburbs.

Season seven has been the year of Barney looking for a serious relationship. The writers have tried him with Robin, but that didn't work out. He ends his next relationship because he thinks that he can get back with Robin, but is let down. Now he's considering Quinn. Has he learned his lesson, or will he toss Quinn aside at the first chance for another shot with Robin?

Quinn is a great character, played by the wonderful Newton perfectly. She is a match for Barney in every way, with similar personalities. If anyone has a chance to truly turn his head from Robin, as it should be, after he was scorned, it's Quinn.

So might Quinn be the woman Barney is going to marry in the flashes of a wedding seen earlier this season and last? Well, it's hard to tell. Perhaps Robin will be the bride, because she's familiar, and it's what many fans want. But it might be the bolder, more realistic move to go with someone else. And should that be the decision, Quinn might just be the perfect girl to make that happen. Plus, keeping Newton working on television is a worthy goal.

It's kind of a shock when Ted decides to move out of his apartment, where he has lived for the entire run of How I Met Your Mother. But Ted is desperately looking to make a change, because what he has been doing for the last seven years has not given him the result he seeks. He wants a wife, and he is failing over and over again. So the smart thing to do is make changes, any see if one can get different results. Giving up the apartment unsticks him from his comfort zone, and could be just what he needs.

Still, it's heartbreaking to see the place empty at the end of "Karma." It is some comfort that Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel) will be back in it, given it was once their home. But it won't be the same.

While staying with Lily and Marshall outside of the city, Robin is unhappy, and thinks that they are, too. This plot culminates in "Karma" when the couple sees Ted's gift of the apartment. The question is, is this the right decision for them? They were willing to live in the suburbs for their child, but both prefer city life. Will they feel guilty for putting their own needs above the kid's? Or will they make peace with the fact that many kids are raised in New York City and do just fine, so why not theirs? This story is probably not yet over, though moving back downtown seems to be the right decision.

"Karma" is a terrific example of how How I Met Your Mother is fully recovered from the slump it was in for awhile. Tune in to CBS Mondays at 8 p.m. ET later this spring for more fresh episodes.

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