If HIMYM wanted the fans to believe and acknowledge the relationship between Ted and Zoey as a landmark in his life then the show failed because Zoey never evolved into a fully realized character, and the show never bothered to spend the time to make a living, breathing relationship between two people. If, instead, the show wanted to comment on the insignificance of the relationship through the Arcadian metaphor then the show succeeded; however, I doubt the latter was the intention of Carter Bays and Craig Thomas because "Landmarks" emphasized the significance of Zoey in his life as well as the significance of the relationship in the show's canon. Just because characters consider the relationship significant and possibly life altering doesn't make the relationship exactly that in the show.
Ted spends the bulk of "Landmarks" fretting over his testimony at the hearing/meeting. Remember, his dream as an architect is building a skyscraper in Manhattan. GNB gave him the opportunity. His road block turned out to be a decaying and decrepit "landmark" in the spot where the new building would be built. Protesters, led by Zoey, lined the streets, fighting for the preservation of the building. She and Ted hate one another until, suddenly, they didn't. Their feelings transformed to love. She ruined her marriage for him, and he nearly ruined his career for her. I'd ask why (and I have in past reviews) but the writers don't have an answer to that question. It's just how it is. The characters have nothing in common until they seemingly decide they're attracted to one another, confuse those feelings with love and then, bam, a relationship happens in which Ted seriously considers Zoey as the potential mother of his children. Until Robin states the obvious, none of the other characters question Ted or his relationship. None point out the glaring differences between the two people. No one psychoanalyzes Ted (and they should considering he has sexy dreams about his mom) about why regards any woman he meets as the future mother of his children.
Robin tells Ted that The Arcadian will break his relationship up regardless of his testimony. If he supports Zoey, he'll resent her for ruining his career and his one-shot at building a skyscraper. If he argues that The Arcadian isn't a landmark, Zoey will resent and end things with Ted. The point: Ted was doomed from the beginning of their relationship. This is no surprise to the audience who knew the relationship would end because we know Ted meets the mother at a wedding. What's frustrating is how wasteful the relationship is. I welcomed the relationship with an open mind because I hoped the relationship would be a pivotal point in his journey to the meet the mother. I'd entertain the possibility that the GNB gig would lead to the mother but we know the wedding's where he meets the mother. I'd suggest that the gig leads him to wedding but it'll be Skippy's wedding. So, I wonder, why did Ted's arc need Zoey and this relationship? With better and more focused writing, the relationship could've been something. Instead, it's just a waste of time. The fact that the series earned two more seasons is terrifying because HIMYM gets worse and worse.
Ted chooses his career over Zoey. They break up. Ted stands sadly. Earlier in the episode, the writers dropped anvils when drawing parallels between the relationship and The Arcadian to manipulate the audience into feeling something about the relationship rather than nothing. But it's as forced as the entire relationship was on the audience by the writers.
The other parts of the episode were bad too. Marshall defends the building until he suddenly doesn't. Zoey paid for the man to defend the building and he plays a part in the removal of the iconic lion's head. Barney's trying to save his job. There's a divorce subplot involving Arthur for some reason.
Now that Zoey's gone, maybe the final episodes of season six can build momentum for the future. Once upon a time, I'd write that I'm indifferent about the introduction of the mother, that I'm content with the journey; however, the journey's directionless and a complete mess. It's time to re-focus and introduce the mother because the writers have no idea what to do with its characters and their relationships. Of course, I wonder if Ted's relationship with the mother will be as poorly constructed and written as he and Zoey. But that's for another time.
Right now, this show is really, really bad.
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