Last Words (How I Met Your Mother)

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"Last Words"
How I Met Your Mother episode
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 14
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Written by Carter Bays & Craig Thomas
Production code 6ALH14
Original air date January 17, 2011 (2011-01-17)
Guest actors

Danny Strong (Trey)
Suzie Plakson (Judy Eriksen)
Bill Fagerbakke (Marvin Eriksen Sr.)
Ray Wise (Robin Scherbatsky, Sr.)
Michael Gross (Alfred Mosby)

Season 6 episodes

"Last Words" is the 14th episode of the sixth season of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother and the 126th episode overall. It aired on January 17, 2011.

Plot[edit]

Everybody goes to St. Cloud, Minnesota, Marshall's hometown, to attend the recently deceased Marvin Eriksen's funeral. Marshall is devastated, while his mother Judy is keeping herself distracted by doing chores (according to Lily, she has not eaten or slept in the last two days). Ted and Barney unsuccessfully try to make Marshall laugh by showing him multiple videos of men getting hit in the groin in odd ways. Meanwhile, Robin amazes the gang, as well as other people at the funeral, by providing them with virtually everything they need out of her purse (from mobile chargers to drugs).

Judy and Marshall learn that the funeral service will not be held by the Reverend, but by his son Trey (Danny Strong). The gang is surprised to learn that Trey used to bully Marshall in high school (especially since Trey is very short). Trey turns out to be extremely insensitive, though Judy agrees that Marvin Sr.'s last words should be the theme of the service. Marshall is reluctant to tell any such story as his last conversation with his father was over trivial issues, while the stories told by his mother and older brothers are very touching and inspiring. After charging his phone (which was out of power since before Marvin's death), Marshall discovers that he has a voicemail from his father. Marshall does not know what to do, and decides that he does not want to listen to it. Meanwhile, Robin runs into rough waters when she accidentally gives alcohol to Marshall's teenaged cousin. Lily takes the blame and faces Judy's outrage to let the latter vent all her emotions. Finally, an exhausted Judy eats and rests.

The group tries to reason with Marshall, who counters by asking them what their father's last words to them would be should their fathers die. They realize that none of them would have anything special to say. During the service, Marshall impulsively goes out to hear his father's message. He initially hears only scratching noises, assuming that his number was accidentally pocket dialed. An outraged Marshall says how much his father meant to him and how unfair it is that his last message to him was a "pocket dial". Just then, he hears his father's voice on the phone, telling his son he loves him—followed by Marvin asking for his foot cream as his rash had started to act up again. Marshall takes comfort in the fact that his father's last words to him were "I love you".

After the stories told by Judy, Marcus, and Marvin Jr., Marshall's turn to speak at the memorial service comes. He surprises the gang by deciding to keep his father's real last words to himself, instead telling everyone of how his father had told him to rent Crocodile Dundee 3.

Judy thanks Lily for what she had done during the course of the wake while making one last crude joke at Lily's expense, stating that it was the last time, apparently resolving their strained relationship. Ted, Lily, and Robin call their fathers to have meaningful conversations with them. Meanwhile, Barney calls his mother and tells her that he's ready to meet his father.

Production[edit]

This is the first episode since the season one finale, "Come On" to not have a cold opening; instead, it starts with the opening credits.

Eric Braeden was set to reprise his role as Robin's father, but backed out at the last minute, claiming that his cameo appearance was not "substantial" enough. This led to Neil Patrick Harris calling him out over Twitter, and Braedan later responding back in the media.[1] The part was recast with Ray Wise.

Chris Elliott reprises his role as Lily's father, but does not appear on-screen; his brief cameo just consists of a voiceover as Lily is talking to him over the phone.

Carter Bays stated that they intended to bring back Bill Fagerbakke as Marshall's father in future episodes, but during flashbacks.[2] He later appeared in several episodes.[3][4]

Danny Strong appears in this episode. Perhaps his best-known role is as Jonathan Levinson on Buffy the Vampire Slayer alongside Alyson Hannigan.

Music[edit]

  • "Nothing Shows" by Keegan DeWitt is played at the end of the episode.

Cultural references[edit]

  • At the funeral, a man says to Robin, "I hear you're a woman who can get things." and she replies, "I've been known to locate certain objects from time to time." This dialogue paraphrases lines from Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King (which was later made into the film The Shawshank Redemption).
  • Robin's "vice" bag is compared to Mary Poppins' magical bag.
  • During the episode Marshall tries to think of his last words with his dad, which he at one point thinks were about Crocodile Dundee 3, which Marshall's dad caught on the cable. Robin then gives Marshall the DVD after the service.

Critical response[edit]

Reviews for the episode were highly positive.

Donna Bowman of The A. V. Club gave the episode an A, noting it "[u]npretentious, unobtrusive, funny, balanced, and shot through with genuine feeling and unexpected grace".[5]

Robert Canning of IGN gave the episode a rating of 8.5 out of 10. He said the episode built up on Bad News' momentum and had more roles in store for the rest of the main characters, but criticized Barney and Ted's efforts to lighten up Marshall as weak and worse during a funeral.[6]

DeAnn Welker of Television Without Pity graded the episode at A.[7]

Henry Hanks of CNN.com's Marquee Blog compared the episode's impact to that of The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust" and the first episode of NewsRadio after Phil Hartman's death in 1998.[8]

Ratings[edit]

The episode achieved the highest ratings of season 6, at 10.51 million viewers.[9]

References [edit]

  1. ^ Bryan Alexander (2010-12-17). "Eric Braeden Snaps Back at 'Little Boy' Neil Patrick Harris for Twitter Slap". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  2. ^ Mikey O'Connell (2011-01-17). "'How I Met Your Mother': Carter Bays talks 'Last Words'". Zap2it. Tribune Media Services. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  3. ^ "Desperation Day". How I Met Your Mother. Season 6. Episode 16. February 14, 2011.
  4. ^ "Tailgate". How I Met Your Mother. Season 7. Episode 13. January 2, 2012.
  5. ^ Donna Bowman (2011-01-17). "How I Met Your Mother "Last Words"". The A.V. Club. The Onion. 
  6. ^ Robert Canning (2011-01-18). "How I Met Your Mother: "Last Words" Review". IGN. News Corporation. 
  7. ^ DeAnn Welker (2011-01-17). "How I Met Your Mother: Famous Last Words". Television Without Pity. NBC Universal. 
  8. ^ Henry Hanks (2011-01-18). "'HIMYM' juggles humor and tragedy". Marquee Blog. CNN. 
  9. ^ Bill Gorman (2011-01-18). "TV Ratings Monday: 'Chuck' Returns At Season High, 'Harry's Law' Premieres Little Better, 'The Cape' Falls". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved 2011-01-19. 

External links[edit]