Episode Reviews

Bad News

Bad News continues the season long baby storyline and revisits Robins career while counting down to the heart wrenching reveal.

'Barney's Doppleganger"

In a very Marshal centric episode, “Bad News” is another shining example of what makes How I Met Your Mother such a powerful show. In our lives, we are always confronted with what seems like an endless wave of bad news without much relief, and it’s up to our own personal convictions to determine how we weather the storm. Do we spend our energy to fight the current, or do we embrace the news and steer into the icy skid of disaster?

“Bad News” is a continuation of the season storyline concerning Marshal and Lilly’s attempts to have a baby. After months of trying, they have yet to conceive and are starting to worry that they might not be able to conceive at all. For the fans of the mythos of the show, you will recall that the last time we saw the doppelgangers was in the fifth season episode “Robots versus Wrestlers,” where Lilly and Marshal decide to not attempt to have a baby till they’ve seen all five doppelgangers. The fact that they have been attempting to have a baby without success though, should not be any surprise to longtime fans of the show, as the universe, especially in HIMYM, is fickle and at times unforgiving.

Fortunately though, with “Bad News” we finally see the Barney doppelganger, the appropriately employed fertility specialist Dr. Stangle. There has been two fake doppelgangers (Cab Driver, and Kristoff Doppelganger), but now we have definitive proof that the other universe version of Barney, is a polite mannered doctor who looks at women’s lady bits all day. I can’t even imagine a more perfect profession for the alternative Barney, as it fits so well with the real one.

Meanwhile, in our side story, we have Robin starting her role at World Wide News. Unfortunately, her attempts to escape her past and move forward in her career is halted by the ultimate foil of her life, Sandy Rivers, her former co-host and never ending source of suffering. In the same vein as many of the episodes of the season, the writers treat us to a great montage of Robin’s past exploits from the life of the show, including revisits to the “Robin Falling in Poop” report and the entire collection of Robin Sparkles videos.

Finally though, the most memorable and powerful scene in the show’s history, has to be the revelation of the death of Marshal’s father. This season, HIMYM has made great strides to up the emotional quotient of the series, and this episode is no exception. While longtime fans of fiction would probably have guessed that Marshal’s father would meet some type of tragedy, (Marshal missing his regular calls, constant reminiscing of Marshal’s childhood relationship with is Father), it does not take away from the shock and raw emotion of the message that your father has suddenly died.

Jason Segel provides a command performance during his portrayal of a heartbroken Marshal. The expression of pure elation to the sudden emotional crash of shock and sadness draws the viewer in ways few actors have achieved. Those 20 seconds of scene easily tear into the emotions of the viewer as you watch in seemingly slow motion the emotion of Marshal’s face. As many episodes of HIMYM, it is a story that anyone who has lost a parent, family member, or friend instantly relates with personally. It is a powerful message capped with the simple “I’m not ready for this,” a phrase that runs though anyone’s mind who has to deal with this situation. HIMYM’s writing strength lies in relating to its viewers on a realistic emotional level, and this is the strongest example of such.

Despite being a Marshal centric episode, the entire episode still has a great sense of cast and story balance that allows HIMYM to be the powerhouse of strong writing and a great ensemble cast that far exceeds the best of many other shows. For long time fans of the show, it’s a great reminder of the creativity of the writers in regards to Robin, as well as a reminder that the writers have not forgotten the history of the show and all the various teases they’ve left in place over the years.

Other Thoughts

  • Lilly and Marshal have been trying everywhere, possibly including Stangle’s waiting room.
  • The picture in the background of the exam room looks a lot like a pregnant Colbie Smulders
  • “Like A black cat walked though my uterus”
  • We see the return of Ted’s Sensory Deprivator 5000
  • “Were you planning on sleeping with the host of the show?” “Well now that it’s Sandy I’m not!”
  • “We’ve had sex 203 times in the past 4 months” (High Five)
  • Robin’s nickname ends up as Sparkles for the rest of her career.
  • “My sperm is fine!”


  • Barney has cameras watching Lilly
  • Barney might have a Swedish cousin, Bejorny


There is a bit of controversy concerning the countdown gimmick in the episode. Throughout the entire episode, a hidden countdown counts to the final reveal of the “Bad News”, Marshals’ fathers death. Some think it’s a silly gimmick that distracts from the episode while others think it was a clever addition. To be honest, I didn’t even notice it until after the fact while doing research on the episode. Check out this page for information on the numbers and a collage of the countdown itself.


My friend Lesley brought to my attention that the final scene in this episode was done in a single take, without any rehearsal. Segel didn’t know what Lily would say when she got out of the taxi and everything you see on screen was genuine shock. [ Source IGN-TV ]

By Kien Tran

Based in Dallas, Texas, Kien Tran is an avid television enthusiast. After spending hundreds of hours wasting away on a couch, he decided to actually do something creative with his hobby and created this very blog.

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