Here’s a word I’ve never used on this blog before: Bravo.
Bravo, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, for setting up a difficult challenge and then rising to it. After the death of Marshall’s dad, I wondered how the show could proceed. It would have to take the death seriously while at the same time providing at least a few laughs. “Last Words” certainly wasn’t the funniest episode ever, nor should it have been, but it was an emotional, heartfelt, and resonant half-hour.
Last Words smartly emphasized the gang’s predicament in trying to find ways to be there for Marshall. Even Lily wasn’t entirely sure where she was needed. Each character’s response seemed to fit in with their personality. Robin was self-assured, Ted and Barney sweetly juvenile, and Lily willing to do anything for Marshall.
Marshall’s obsession with his father’s absolute last words to him was believable, despite the fact that we saw a heartfelt conversation between them in Bad News. It also perfectly set up the dizzying emotional trip of discovering the voice mail, thinking it’s just a pocket dial, and then the glorious sound of his father’s voice coming on the phone to apologize for the pocket dial, say “I love you” and ask if he left behind his foot cream.
Marshall’s anger at the universe for the sick joke of the pocket dial was fantastically acted. The horror on Lily’s face was also resonant, especially when he said that his father would never meet their children. I’m not going to lie, I cried pretty hard during this scene.
So again, Bravo, How I Met Your Mother, you proved that you are still capable of knocking one out of the park.