Season 8, Episode 7
This week we take a bit of a trip through memory lane as Marshall’s old law school buddy, Brad, returns to the show. Brad has been prominently featured in several episodes throughout the series, but he has never really had as big of a role as he is about to have. Brad is always a welcome addition and usually very likeable, though it seems as if that likeability is about to be severely tested. We’ll get to that in a bit.
The title, which I initially misread as the tramp stamp and thought it would have something to do with Ted’s old tattoo, is instead a play on that and has to do with Marshall being a stamp tramp and giving his seal of approval to way too many things, which will come into play when Marshall, trying to help out his down and out buddy Brad, gives him the stamp of approval to his boss at his new firm. The gang is convinced that this is a bad decision, which we find out at the end of the episode that it is, albeit for very different reasons that we initially thought.
Brad is granted an interview at Marshall’s law firm, and is not exactly in the best place mentally. He is also very candid with Marshall’s boss and then causes Marshall to get taken off of the project he is working on. Since Brad has always been a likeable person, it was a little weird to see him acting so weird and out of it. Then came the twist. Brad was only acting like that so that he would be granted access to the law firm and on information that would help him in an upcoming trial. So now, the likeable Brad has become a shady person, and really I’m just left asking why. I wonder what this will lead to overall, since we do know that now the trial is positioned as Marshall vs. Brad with Marshall’s job hanging in the balance.
It was a bit tough to see Brad so callously throw away their friendship just to gain an advantage for his upcoming trial. We know that the two go way back and anytime a friendship is that strong, even if they hadn’t seen each other for a while, it is hard to see that all thrown away. This episode lacked a bit of focus as instead of focusing on one major thing, which if I had to really pick one, it would be this one, it instead focused on three rather insignificant storylines.
The other storyline that took over the majority of the episode came when Robin volunteered to help Barney find a new strip club. Yes, it was as ridiculous as it sounds, as well as rather pointless and a bit maddening. I get that getting Robin and Barney together, with their amazing chemistry, is a top priority right now, but I would think there would be better ways to get that done. Back in season five, when the two were a couple, they stopped doing a lot of the things that defined them as individuals, even going so far as having Robin be angry at Barney for still visiting strip clubs. I believe that this is Bays and Thomas trying to correct that and having the two, even if they aren’t a couple quite yet, maintain those things that define them even as they become closer.
The problem with that is that this just wasn’t really a good or really funny storyline. They seem to keep hitting us over the head with the ‘Lebron James leaving Cleveland thing’ and it makes sense since Ted is from Ohio, but you would think we have heard enough of that by now. I might have chuckled at Barney holding a press conference for his ‘decision’ and then subsequently choosing to take his talents to ‘mouth beach,’ but it didn’t really go past that chuckle and smirk.
So Robin and Barney have a bit too much to drink, which leads to Barney kissing Robin as the show ended. Now, this is not to say that the kiss would not have happened if the two weren’t drunk since we know they have strong feelings for each other regardless of whether there is alcohol involved or not. Once again, for I believe, the third of fourth time that this has happened in the series, an episode ends with a cliffhanger of Barney and Robin kissing, only this time Robin walks away. I hope this is the last time we get this type of cliffhanger with the two as I strongly believe that it is time to permanently put these two together.
Ted and Lily were left out from the major events in the episode but they were definitely the MVP’s this week. I loved the call-backs with Ted finding the old videos of himself. It’s always a treat to watch college Ted in all his douche-ness. It was also great for Ted to realize that perhaps he wasn’t always as awesome in college as he really thought he was. The origins of Dr. X were also awesome as was the moment when Ted confessed to Lily, even if she and everybody already knew, that he in fact was Dr. X, all so he could win an argument.
Lily also got in a lot of great lines this week and a bunch of great shots in at Ted. But perhaps her best moment was an emotional one when we see old footage of Ted and Marshall where Ted tells Marshall that falling in love at 18 is not crazy, as well as the crazy idea that Ted himself would find his wife at age 23…wishful thinking. Lily realizes that Ted had given her the ultimate stamp of approval way back then, and the two share a great moment where Lily thanks Ted for it.
We have gotten a bunch of average to good episodes this season, but it doesn’t really feel like we have gotten any classic episodes. Maybe that will change upon repeat viewings but it doesn’t usually work that way. Here’s to hoping that the next pack of episodes hold a couple instant classics in there. With the episodes coming so quickly after one another, and being so close to the finish line, I think we certainly deserve it and more importantly, this show needs to go out with a bang.