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HIMYM: The Over-Correction (S8Ep10)

Posted on the 13 December 2012 by Tvtree @EmmaGThomas
HIMYM: The Over-Correction (S8Ep10)
Tonight 'How I Met Your Mother' showed that it can still deliver.
The episode shifted the group dynamic but somehow managed to be better aligned with the general tone of the show than the last several episodes.
In last night's episode, "The Over-Correction", Robin's worst fears were realized. Barney was actually dating Patrice.
Or was he?
Robin's determination to discover whether Barney really had feelings for her co-worker (and arch-nemesis) carried most of the plot.
Cobie Smulders (Robin) has proven time and time again in this series that she is a strong actor, yet rarely in past seasons has an episode rested on her shoulders. That trend has been broken recently, especially in "Symphony of Illusion" (S7Ep12), an episode where Robin replaced Ted as the narrator. While "Symphony of Illusion" may have stepped outside of the show's normal comfort zone (it's part of what I call the 'HIMYM depression era') it still highlighted Smulder's breadth as an actress.
Considering the fact that many viewers of the series are now more interested in the Robin/Barney courtship (and potential wedding) than they are about Ted/the mother suggests that this is a good move on the part of the writers.
Based on talent and audience interest, I'd say that Smulders is a good choice to carry the show for now, and that lessening the focus on Josh Radnor (and Ted) is an intelligent choice.
This episode of 'HIMYM' began with Robin discussing Barney's new relationship with the rest of the gang.
Robin claims that she is concerned for Patrice because there is no way that Patrice knows who Barney really is. Under the guise of being a good friend (but in reality because she feels rejected by Barney), Robin tells Patrice about the Playbook, but she doesn't believe her.
The gang tell Robin she is being ridiculous, and that Barney is just "over-correcting".
And suddenly we add another word to the 'HIMYM' lexicon.
What is "over-correcting"? It's when you've been hurt by someone you've dated so you date their complete opposite. Like when Ted broke up with Victoria and then dated a prison inmate or when Barney broke up with Quinn and then dated Patrice (ex. courtesy of this episode).
The gang also discusses how everyone has borrowed something from Ted and not returned it. While this part of the conversation is completely random, it is the impetus for most of the humor in the episode. And somehow despite how contrived it feels it actually works.
The episode then breaks into two distinct storylines: Robin and B-plot.
In the former we see Robin attempt to steal the Playbook from Barney's apartment so that she can prove to Patrice who he really is. She claims that she is doing this for Patrice, but of course she is really doing it for herself. What isn't entirely clear is whether she's doing it because she really has feelings for Barney or because she feels slighted by his rejection of her in lingerie (something that Lily told the rest of the gang about...awkward!).
Robin gets into Barney's apartment but Barney comes home early and she has to hide in his closet.
Overhearing Barney on the phone she realizes that he is planning on staying in for the rest of the night decorating for Christmas and watching movies, and that Patrice is joining him. Since she obviously can't stay in his bedroom closet for the rest of the night she calls Ted for help.
Ted initially refuses to help because he thinks it's crazy, but eventually caves to her demands.
He distracts Barney (a Hugh Hefner sighting!) and Robin rushes out of the bedroom closet. But wait...she still hasn't found the Playbook.
Right when she finds it Barney is opening the front door again. Robin runs back to the closet with the Playbook but leaves her purse behind.
She calls Ted and asks him to come back and get the purse. He initially refuses, but then Robin informs him that she discovered his red cowboy boots in Barney's closet (one of the borrowed/never returned items!). The fact that Robin threatens them with "her" pocket-knife (actually labeled 'property of Ted Moesby') makes him come rushing over.
He distracts Barney again (another celebrity sighting!) and grabs her purse. But then he gets panicked when he hears Barney at the door and hides in the utility closet.
Robin then discovers that Lily is hiding in the other bedroom closet, because she comes to Barney's house to pump breastmilk ("He has all the 'Real Housewives' even the reunion specials!").
Lily joins Robin in her closet and tries to dissuade her from using the Playbook to her advantage. But Robin refuses and leaves the Playbook where she knows Patrice will find it.
Patrice confronts Barney about the Playbook and they argue on the balcony.
Robin and Lily escape the bedroom closet but can't make it to the front door so they hide in the utility closet with Ted.
Barney claims that the Playbook is no longer who he is, drops it in a trashcan ('property of Ted Moesby') and lights it on fire.
Robin, Lily, and Ted gasp in shock as they peek out of the closet and watch the Playbook burn.
This is apparently enough to persuade everyone, including Robin, that Barney really is serious about Patrice. However, Robin claims it just shows he's not himself and that they should do an intervention.
Instead, they do an intervention on Robin. (Because, honestly, she is going a little crazy).
The real question at the end of the episode is what is real and what is a play. No matter what one says about "over-correcting" it seems ridiculous that Barney would change so suddenly over-night (this is one of Robin's arguments too, and for once she may have a point). The show has used misdirection before and maybe they're using it again now. So, is Barney faking? And if yes, why? For Robin? Or for another reason entirely?
The B-plot, which at this point barely seems worth mentioning, involves Marshall discovering that his mom and Lily's dad are having sex or, as Lily's dad so eloquently puts it, "family with benefits". While Jason Segel's reactions are humorous and the side-story isn't too distracting, it is bizarre to see Segel so separated from the rest of the cast.
It has been suggested that if a ninth and final season were to be approved, Segel would be the least likely to sign a new contract. The actors' current contracts expire at the end of this season. Although everyone has adamantly denied that Segel's cooperation is an issue, this episode did feel as though it was an attempt to see if the show could function if Segel was not in the picture.
The answer? Oddly it can, although I'm not sure that could be maintained for an entire season. But a few episodes here and there? Maybe.
'How I Met Your Mother' airs on Monday on CBS at 8/7C

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