James Canellos ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
On the eve of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin’s (Cobie Smulders) wedding, the groom is missing due to Robin and Ted’s (Josh Radnor) drunken shenanigans. It sounds very similar to The Hangover; however, instead of hanging out with a baby, a tiger, and Mike Tyson, Barney takes two socially inept twenty-somethings, Justin and Kyle (Brian McElhaney and Nick Kocher), under his wing. These characters were not particularly memorable, and with all the alcohol Barney’s consumed, there’s no doubt he won’t even care what their names were.
Thankfully, the young men are not the main subjects of the episode. This episode deals with the insecurities of the three male leads and their struggles to leave the past behind them as another day emerges on the horizon. While this seems like it would be a good idea for a more serious episode, “Sunrise” has trouble finding what kind of tone it wants to set, as the episode moves from Ted and Robin to Marshall (Jason Segel) speaking to the ghosts of present day Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and 2006 Lily, and then to Barney’s story.
“Sunrise” doesn’t seem like it knows whether to go for the heart or a laugh–especially since this episode had so many guest stars appear, including Stella (Sarah Chalke), Victoria (Ashley Williams), Marshall’s father (Bill Fagerbakke), and Tim Gunn as himself. These surprise guest stars made the episode all the better, and Ted’s previous girlfriends’ commentary on his desire to please Robin led to the night’s best moment. When Ted declares how love means never giving up, it’s something that’s been building up inside of him for a long time that he was never able to admit to the gang, and it was liberating to see that he knows he’s getting a little obsessive.
It’s almost unfair to talk negatively about this episode, since the series’ high Mother (Cristin Milioti) arc last week was a tough act to follow. While that episode knew how to be subtle, the word does not apply here. When Ted is referring back to his childhood best friend (a balloon) and how it flew away, he declares, “Never let go of what you love.” Later on, he holds Robin’s hand and finally lets go, which wouldn’t be so bad, had she not literally floated away. It was hilarious in all the wrong ways, and so ridiculously cheesy and unnecessary.
Barney and Marshall had much better conclusions to their stories. It was funny to see Barney trying to preserve his legacy of being the ultimate Bro by handing a disheveled version of The Playbook off to Justin and Kyle. Marshall and Lily reconciled, and Marshall realized how to be an even better husband than he already was, so their marriage is just going to be a million times better than everybody else’s. All these events happen as the sun emerges on a new day. The creators really did need this episode to clear out any unnecessary drama before the big wedding towards which the season has been building.