How I Met Your Mother Season 6 Episode 13 Bad News - Numbers Mystery

Funniest and Saddest

Note: Reader Discretion advised and this goes without saying, if you care about spoilers a lot then this article is going to spoil the whole episode for you.

I’ve recently watched Episode 13 (season 6) of How I met your Mother that was aired on 3rd January 2011 and I do have some things to tell you about it. So let’s get started.

This episode can be considered as the best and the saddest episode of the whole season (6) and I know that you might take that line as a negative comment, but please don’t! It is very hard to create two of the most shaking feelings in the same episode and Pamela Fryman (Director) has well directed those feelings.

This episode made me laugh so hard that I really, truly, literally (whatever impresses you) fell off my couch. I didn’t know that the concept of two Barney’s could be so hilarious that I’d remember this episode forever. I knew that sooner or later, we will eventually see Barney Stinson’s doppelganger, however, the doppelganger Barney (Dr. Stangel) was a completely different person. When he saw Barney (and his ridiculous acts), he had only one thing to say, ‘Ok, You have to go’.

This moment is definitely not looking that funny right now because you can’t see ‘expressions’, but wait till you watch the episode in person.

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Spoilers Ahead! Funniest One!!

Now it is the time for some big spoilers, so read with caution.

This episode is about Lily and Marshall trying to figure out if any of them is infertile, because after trying to have a baby for the last four months, they are worried and especially Marshall, because he doesn’t want to let his father down. He doesn’t want to say that he might be incapable of giving him grandchildren.

So, as the story progresses, we come to know that Dr. Stangel is a specialist in reproductive anthropology and of course, doppelganger Barney!

The moment that actually threw me off my couch was when real Barney dressed himself as Dr. Stangel and told Marshall that he should never hope for becoming a father (in Dr. Stangel’s office) because he is way too infertile to even think about it. However, because of real Barney’s ridiculous theories and talks, Marshall came to know the truth real soon and that’s when Dr. Stangel (real one) and Barney happened to be in the same room and the situation got way off board and I was kind of ‘on floor’.

"Bad News"

Now, for the saddest part, when Marshall was so darn happy to find out that eventually he will able to get Lily pregnant and give his parents some grandchildren, he had to listen what he would never want in thousand years.

He borrowed Ted’s phone to make a call to his father and stepped out of the bar, a taxi stopped right there and Lily stepped out of car.

Marshall hugged her tightly without even noticing her tears and stopped dead when he heard those words,

“Your father… he had a heart attack… he didn’t make it…”

It looked as if Marshall’s heart stopped at the very moment and his legs would just leave his side and crumble. But they held on and he held on to Lily and hugged her tightly for some strength and whatever it takes to accept such devastating truth.

So, as I was watching the 13th episode (Season 6) of HIMYM, I already had a connection with each and every character and my closest connection was with Marshall and Lily. So, when Lily was in tears after getting off that taxi, I felt something like that could have happened and when both of them were crying outside that bar, which became a witness for many of their joys and sorrows, Marshall said, I am not ready for this, I am sure as hell, my eyes watered a little and trust me (I know every guy says that), I am not that sort of emotional guy.

So, you will only feel what I felt after watching this episode. Robin started work at her new job and dealt with the situations (pretty funny) bravely, Barney officially met his doppelganger and Ted got the invitation for being the best man at Robin Scherbatsky’s marriage.

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Comments 50 comments

Mike 5 years ago

Underneath the number 19 it says countdown. its when marshall is in the bathroom at Dr. Stengal's office!


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wealthier 5 years ago from Seoul

hahaha, So Interesting, I haven't seen the season 6 yet, but this hub made me look for it and watch soon.

"How I met your mother" the funniest show that I've ever seen.


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

I am sorry to disagree Racheal, but I did not like the end at all. I agree for the first part though, the episode was actually pretty great. But the bad news was not just 'bad', it was the 'worst' news that anyone could ever get.


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Racheal Ambrose 5 years ago from Indiana

That episode was great, especially the end.


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

Anytime Tim.


Tim 5 years ago

Thanks :) i watched the scenes from 6 to 1 about 10 times till i got it ;)


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

Hi Tim, yeah you are right. Number 5 is said out loud by Barney and gestured too.


Tim 5 years ago

Can anyone help me? I just can't find the number "5"... or is it the only number that is spoken when barney gives marshall a high five? ;)


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

Definitely Bingaling


bingaling 5 years ago

One of the best episodes of the season!


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

Well, 15225 (i wish you could put your real name), number 6 appears when Marshall goes to Dr. Stangel to take his reports and he takes a file and drops it in the dustbin, that's where number 6 is.

As for 'six days' and '6 related to Gold Fish', they are just coincidences and do not relate to the mystery, that's going on here.


15225 5 years ago

What's with the number 6 then? I keep hearing like, first Lily says that they've been trying for six days and then Marshall's dad calling and asking if they he has any 6's for their game of Gold Fish. Maybe it's just a coincidence :-)


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

congrates . :-)


anatolia 5 years ago

found it :)


anatolia 5 years ago

i can't find no 38. can anyone help me?


mitchell 5 years ago

number 1 is on top of the cab as lilly gets out so probs counting down to marshals dads death


Ethan 5 years ago

the countdown was simply to the news of marshall's fathers death. the first time i saw this episode i noticed the numbers 49 to 47 and had to rewind to check if that's really what i saw. i watched the whole episode following the numbers and it created suspense. i was sure it would end with number 1 and the news that lily was pregnant. but as you no it didn't..... i think the producers did this to build the suspense and have people believe it would end with a life not a death. to me it made the episode memorable!


Dixie48 5 years ago

What I find extremely clever is the way they show number 5 with Marshall high-fiving Barney.. Brilliant.


Mithila 5 years ago

Actually most people would find it disrespectful/insensitive to give information of someone's death, particularly if they were as close as Marshall and his father, over the phone. It seems to me, the only way for Lily to give Marshall the news was to be with him, as to comfort him.


Alex 5 years ago

FYI-

The "countdown" was used to countdown the actual bad news of Marshall's father's death. It was confirmed by the executive producer, Carter Bays, on the podcast loaded on cbs.com. Links below:

http://www.cbs.com/primetime/how_i_met_your_mother...


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

Hi Avery, I am absolutely sure that that 'truth' wasn't the one that gave Marshall's father a heartattack because there was no reason to.

Marshall's father himself accepted that he would never believe that Marshall was unable to give birth to another line of Eriksens, so the case could have been anything.

Cardiac arrest doesn't necessary happen because of some shock and in this particular case, it was not even a 'shock' to Marshall's father.


Avery 5 years ago

there's something that intrigued me,

when marshall was trying to .. well masturbate, and he tries to leave.....just before Lilly screams that he is going to masturbate Ted narrates : ''and marshall was very thankful lilly said the next thing'' ......how could he be thankful if that lead to him telling the truth and his father's death!


Nestism 5 years ago


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

That's a great info Patrick. Now I know it too. :-)


Patrick 5 years ago

haha kksonikiya i found it first


Patrick 5 years ago

Throughout the episode, big numbers appear on ordinary objects counting down from 50 to 1. This is a countdown from the beginning to the eventual bad news which is told right after the "1" is shown. The countdown was an idea taken from the 1988 film Drowning by Numbers; through the course of that film, the numbers 1 to 100 appear in order, sometimes seen in the background, and sometimes spoken by the film's characters.[2] According to Bays, it was used to give an early signal to the audience that something big was about to happen at the end of the episode.


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

First thing Mithila, you don't have to apologize for anything and second, that's what i think too. I have been telling here that the countdown was only related to the episode and nothing else and we might see another one pretty soon (may be not).

However, when you mentioned all those things about Lily knowing Marshall's father's death earlier (because she had to come all the way from their home), i am beginning to think that, why did she not call Ted? I know the matter was related to Marshall. But I am talking specifically about the mobile. Marshall did not have his mobile so he used Ted's mobile. Lily could contact on Ted's number and talk to Marshall, not that it would make any difference. It would still be a 'bad news'.

Countdown had to be brought to One (Not 0) and that's why they (directors) turned some 'natural' scenarios. I mean, who wouldn't try to call on such mishap.


Mithila 5 years ago

*sorry about the grammatical errors and if you found it lacking clarity, I was gathering my ideas as I typed this.


Mithila 5 years ago

All the numbers appeared, in order and without skips. The title of an episode is 100% ALWAYS related to the episode content, and with this in mind there was no other REAL 'bad news' other than the definite death of Marshall's father, thus asserting that this was the 'bad news'.

It is not in any terms an indication of the TIME of Marshall's father's death as although he is not at his work-bench (unlike throughout the episode) and the clock is at both 2 & 1, Marshall is on the phone trying to contact his father and seconds later, Lily arrives. Lily would have known the news of the passing more than a few minutes before the shot of the work-bench as she had to take a taxi to tell Marshall the news. However, it may be argued that the shot of the work-bench was of a time before his call and that indicates the exact moment of his father's death.

Conclusively, the final countdown is indefinitely to Marshall hearing the "BAD NEWS" of his father's death - where at 0001 Lily exits the taxi, teary-eyed, to give Marshall the news.


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

Come on Patrick, countdown doesn't mean that. Countdown means that something will happen once the countdown is down. Like the countdown to new year, what happens, New Year!!

I still believe that that countdown was for 'Bad News' and it did happen after the timer reached 0.


Patrick 5 years ago

It might be that the countdown means that 49 good things happen to marshall and lily and when it comes down to one its the one horrible piece of news


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

@Maria Pretty clever and sad too. I don't know but i don't want to see that episode again. I know, it's the funniest one, but the thought of Lily and Marshall crying over death scares me and this episode has one.


Maria 5 years ago

Hi again,

I watched the episode again and yes, it looks like it was the countdown to "Bad News" as the title is called "Bad News". There's more symbolism again I noticed when his dad asks Marshall if he has any "sixes" and then towards the end you see the Dr throwing out the folder with number 6 on it. Then when Marshall is talking to the dr he says he had a bad feeling. Then again when Marshall comes out just before Lilly gets out of the cab there is an expired meter (symblosing his dad has passed away). Pretty clever episode!


Julian 5 years ago

Maybe you're right. We'll see...


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

I doubt that, however, they might come up with another countdown, only this time, it will be for a happy news. May be when Marshall and Lily finally have a baby or when Ted finally meets his 'The One'. In any case, it might take a while.


Julian 5 years ago

Maybe... I dont know. Perhaps they will explain the countdown in some upcoming episode...


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

i believe that it was just a countdown for Bad News. You see from the very start of the episode and the countdown we were hearing good news one after another. All worries were solved with big or little good news until we finally hit 0001 with the Bad News that Lily said to Marshall.

I guess that's the point of having a countdown.


Julian 5 years ago

Yeah you´re probably right k-mo. Maybe it was like a "game" or something for the fans.


k-mo 5 years ago

i watched for da 2nd time....and i saw all the numbers 50 to 0001 are written. in most cases they are written on books, magazines and bronchures held by the characters. there is sometimes consecutive numbers which are written in the same place(1716 in the tin where marshal was to put his sperm, 1413 sandlers apartment) the number 9 is used as both 6 and 9(it is 9 when barney is holding the hospitals register and 6 when dr. stangler is holding it.) the # 4,3 & 2 are shown in quick succession from the time marshal borrows the phone to the time he starts calling. some n0s like 39 and 12 are more hidden.(12 btn marshal & his dad wen the dad is advising him, while 39 behind sandler when he says he had had sex with robin.) finally in the video where robin's past is shown some numbers are also there like 22,23 etc...

hope av helped those who could not have seen some of the numbers though i think it was a way of testing if the die-hard fans could av recognized and also to make them debate about it(which i think they succeded in that or what do you think?)......it can not be countdown to the the death because it was 50 the first time, after months it was 49 while it was in matter of seconds(or urguably mins) that the number fell from 6 to 1.


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

That might be true. As a matter of fact, I searched it deeply on Google and Yahoo and several people are agreeing to that possiblity that 50 was a countdown to Marshall's father's death. But why did they put it anyway? There are several bad things going on in HIMYM, like Marshall and Lily breaking up and things like that. But they presented a countdown for death only! Sounds a bit strange to me!!


Julian 5 years ago

I don´t know. Maybe it's just a countdown to the death of Marshall's father, as Andy wrote earlier. But I have no idea why the countdown starts at 50. Maybe it's the age of Marshalls father or something.


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

Then what's going on here Julian. What's with all those numbers and signs? Are they just numbers without any significant meaning and we are the one trying to figure out some hidden meaning (that was never there)? or there are some clues regarding the progress of episodes or events?


Julian 5 years ago

The numbers meaning can´t be either hours or days, because in the beginning you see the number 50 on the doctor´s desk and Lily says that they "have been trying for six days". Then the voice-over says that "months went by" and after that you see the number 49. And there is another strange thing I discovered about the numbers. The number 44 is seen two times. First on a sign behind the bar, and right after that on the back of a mans shirt.


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

That can't be it. That would imply that after talking to the doctor, Marshall's parents arrived after 2 months. But, they arrived right when their previous doctor gives them the number of Dr. Stangel. If there's a connection, it has to be something different.

Could it really be hours and not days?


Andy 5 years ago

At the very beginning when they're in the office and have been the trying "for 6 days" the calendar reads 50. The next time they're in it is down to 49.

Does anyone know what the numbers actually mean? Or is simply a countdown to the death of Marshall's father?


Apoll0n 5 years ago

hey, i recognized these numbers too, so i don't wondered that something is happening in the end, but e.g. the number 12 was very obvious to see and for instance the room number 1413 was hardly to see...


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

In which episode was it 50 Roon? I want to watch it again.


Roon 5 years ago

The number 49 was originally 50 so what ever the connection is it has to do with the count down from 50.


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kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior Author

thanks for your comment Maria and thanks for your wonderful observation. Now that i think about it, there might be some connection and i've to see the episode once again to figure it out.


Maria 5 years ago

Thanks for that write up on that episode. I agree, it is definitely one of the funniest and saddest episodes yet on HIMYM.

I want to note something throughout this episode which I noticed you didn't mention. At the start, there is a number 49 on the dr's desk. This number decreases as the show progresses until Lilly shows up in the taxi it ends up at 001 and seeing that gave me goosebumps because I could tell something was going to happen. Not sure if you realised all these numbers showing up in different scenes, some of them are pretty obvious and some are not. I'm wondering why start from the number 49? Do you think it's the number of hours before Marshall finds out about his father?

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