"Last Words" is the fourteenth 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.
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.
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. 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.
According to co-creator Carter Bays, they intend to bring back Bill Fagerbakke as Marshall's father in future episodes, but during flashbacks.
- "Nothing Shows" by Keegan DeWitt is played at the end of the episode.
- An Eriksen-style 'salad' (mainly consisting of junk food and mayonnaise) is mentioned
- The episode continues the storyline of Barney's absentee father. He initially believes his father was Bob Barker in "Showdown" but stops believing it in "Cleaning House". In "Natural History", Barney learns the man he thought was his uncle was actually his father.
- The scenes in which Marshall's parents left took place offscreen during the timeline of "Bad News".
- Marshall uses his "Lawyered" catchphrase.
- Ted's father calls him "T-Dawg" as Ted had presented himself to the class in "Definitions".
- Lily's father continues to propose ideas for new board games, which were tackled in flashbacks during the season 5 episode "Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap".
- Robin's father is angry at her because she is still unsuccessful and he was never proud of her, as shown before in "Happily Ever After".
- Barney and Ted keep quiet when Marshall says his dad was his best friend. Both of them usually get offended when Marshall claims someone else to be his best friend.
- Barney wears a suit at Marshall's father's funeral, despite the fact that in the Season 2 episode "Monday Night Football" he said he never wears a suit at a funeral.
- In discussing the significance of last words, Barney claims Nathan Hale's actual last words at his execution were "I'm peeing my pants!" He has been known to make fake history lessons, as seen in "The Goat" and "Big Days".
- Lily and Judy finally make up after Marshall's speech, after one last shot by Judy.
- 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.
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".
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.
DeAnn Welker of Television Without Pity graded the episode at A.
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.
The episode achieved the highest ratings of season 6 so far, at 10.51 million viewers.