How I Met Your Mother Season 7-05 ‘Field Trip’ Recap

Robin (Cobie Smulders) is seeing a court appointed therapist named Kevin (Kal Penn) in the new episode of How I Met Your Mother. After two sessions however, Kevin abruptly tells Robin that he is moving to Alaska. Turns out though that he was lying. The fact is, Kevin is attracted to Robin but because he’s her therapist he can’t go out with her.

At first, the two find a way around this by sitting next to each other in a diner and pretending to have a friendly lunch but their mutual attraction eventually forces them to admit that they are more than friends. At McClaren’s Robin attempts to justify her relationship but is told that dating her therapist is creepy. Ted (Josh Radnor) especially underlines how Robin dating her therapist is a really bad idea.

“Robin, if you asked 100 people who’s the worst person you could possibly date, they’d all say your therapist, except the one’s saying Barney.”

Ted, meanwhile, is stressing over his first class field trip. Ted is taking his Intro to Architecture class to see the new GNB headquarters as it’s being built. Naturally, Ted hopes to have a Stand & Deliver moment where he inspires one of his students to get on the path to becoming an architect. Of course, as Marshall (Jason Segal) points out:

“Ted, no one takes an Intro class to get to get on any other path than the path to not being hungover anymore. I learned that in my Intro to Something-ology class.”

Marshall is concerned that his new boss, legendary Environmental Law watchdog Garrison Kootes (Martin Short) has gone soft. A major pharmaceutical company has been dumping chemicals in a lake, killing fish. While Marshall is ready to drop the legal hammer, Garrison surprises Marshall by accepting a wildly unfair settlement and then using the money to throw a party back at the office featuring multiple cakes.

Indeed, Garrison has given up. In Martin Short’s best scene yet in his short How I Met Your Mother stint, Garrison explains to Marshall that the fight for environment is over and that all that is left is to earn just enough money to buy cake while we wait for the Earth to come to an end. Short’s delivery sells the comic doom better than I ever could describe as does Marshall’s sobbing over cake response.

If you’re wondering about Lily (Alyson Hannigan), her arc in “Field Trip” consisted of eating cake and convincing Marshall not to swear around the developing ears of their still gestating baby. You can probably guess what Marshall meant when he called the Pharmaceutical company lawyers “Sons of…parents” and “Mother…Nature-Lovers.”

Finally, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) is distressed to learn that Nora (Nazanin Bodiadi) doesn’t like Ewoks. In fact, her favorite part of Return of the Jedi is getting to see Ewoks die. Barney’s natural response is to invite his friends to break up with her for him while he runs away. If you didn’t already guess that Barney has an emergency suitcase hidden in the booth at McClarens now you know.

How I Met Your Mother “Field Trip” is a rarity in pop culture, an earnest defense of the Ewoks. First, Ted and Marshall compare Marshall’s boss to a Ewok, cute and cuddly until they go into battle and then they will “crush your metal skull with giant swinging logs.” If you couldn’t guess that Ted’s field trip is a disaster then you just weren’t trying. On the bright side, the field trip ends up at Barney’s office where Barney takes advantage of this small audience to lay out his case about why he should break up with Nora over Ewoks.

Here, the How I Met Your Mother writers lay out an ingenious theory about why some people hate Ewoks and some people love Ewoks: The Ewok Line. Essentially, the theory is thus, anyone born before May 25th 1973 is too old to appreciate the Ewoks while anyone born after that date loves the Ewoks because they reminded them of Teddy Bears.

From this theory Barney extrapolates that Nora is lying about her age, she’s 29 but The Ewok Line clearly makes her 37, and thus he must break up with her. Later we find out that Nora had only seen Star Wars a year ago making her an adult when she saw the Ewoks for the first time and thus is unable to appreciate them.

The level of work that went into Barney’s storyline (see the list at the bottom of this recap), is essentially a toss of a story compared to Robin’s trouble dating her therapist and Marshall’s concerns about his boss, making this storyline look like a lot of work for not much pay off. That being said, it worked for me. It’s goofy as hell, but Neil Patrick Harris sells the Ewok love with a perfect comic gleam in his eye. Then again, I’m probably just geek enough to have wanted to see Barney’s Ewok history slide show.

How I Met Your Mother “Field Trip” ends on a pair of sweet moments. First, Marshall confronts his boss. After showing Garrison an ultrasound picture of his child, Marshall tells Garrison that he’s not going to give up on the environment. Later, as Marshall is struggling through his argument with the pharmaceutical company, a newly inspired Garrison rescues him and vows that he and Marshall are going to save the planet.

In the end it seems that Robin and Kevin can’t date. Everyone keeps reminding them that their relationship is creepy because they met under such vulnerable circumstances. Robin however, has a solution: for two hours she will act as Kevin’s therapist. This makes them even on the intimacy issue and, in their minds anyway, able to date.

It’s a sweet moment and it left me eager to see where Robin and Kevin will go in this storyline. This also provides a timely way to extend the Robin-Barney storyline without having to continue to torture Robin. How will Kevin react to spending time around Barney knowing that Robin only met him because her jealousy over Barney spilled over into mild violence?

There are a number of different places where the show can go with this storyline and it will be fun watching them get there. Keep in mind; we don’t know who it is that Barney is marrying. Kal Penn is only signed for a handful of episodes but that could always change.

Random notes:

  • How come no one has said anything about Ted’s ridiculous looking beard? He looks hungover and as if he hasn’t showered in a few days. My guess is that the beard growth must be related to a movie Josh Radnor is making, otherwise it would not go unmentioned  by his friends.
  • Barney’s Edward and Jacob debate had a more unique resolution than I expected. Somewhere, Edward James Olmos is smiling.
  • Barney’s Ewok Slideshow includes:
  • Ewok Historical timeline
  • Ewok Solar System
  • Ewok Home Planet: Forest Moon of Endor
  • Endor Topography
  • Ewok Vital Statistics
  • Reproduction
  • Ewok Anatomy
  • Ewik Evolution
  • Ewok Recreation
  • Ewok Weapons and Tools
  • Ewok Clothing
  • Ewok Diet
  • Tribal Identification
  • Ewok Hairstyles and
  • The Ewok Industrial Revolution.