This week's episode seemed full of themes we've seen many times on HIMYM
: Barney dragging along Ted to create legendary moments, Marshall fretting about Lily (and her cheating sex dreams) and Robin feeling frustrated with her job (despite a big promotion). Sometimes it feels like nothing changes on this show (which can be good or bad). But despite some familiar plots, there were a few small ways in which the narrative was pushed forward that made this episode worth it. Plus, we saw the return of Ranjit!
Barney's Quest to Make Every Night Legendary
While Barney's perennial goal to make life legendary is far from new, his new goal to make every night legendary raised the bar (and left Lily and Marshall, the expectant married couple, running for the hills). Using his typical coercive skills, he manages to experience a string of legendary nights with Ted: The Night We Started a Mariachi BandThe Night We Ate Everything on the MenuThe Night We Brought a Horse Into the Bar
Of course, there are several suggestions that don't make the cut:The Night We Bungee Jumped Off the Statue of LibertyThe Night We Stole a Mummy From the Natural History MuseumThe Night We Partied With the Mole PeopleThe Night We Tracked Down Phil Collins, Became Best Friends With Him, Talked Him Into Reuniting With Peter Gabriel and Then We Got to Sing Back-up On the New Genesis Album and It Was AwesomeThe Night We Stole a Camel (and it was "dromedary")
Eventually Barney resorts to a fictitious "game of life" in which he is beating Ted (arbitrary points are self-assigned, e.g. 75 points for having a better wardrobe, 110 points for having a longer name). Ted plays along and the two ultimately agree they're neck and neck - until Barney mentions the challenge Ted gave him three years ago (of which Ted has no memory) to get a girl's phone number while wearing a dress. As Barney has recently accomplished this challenge, he is 500 points ahead.
Lily's Sex Dream With Ranjit
Meanwhile, Marshall is on a mission to discover the identity of Lily's sex dream lover by carrying around a color palette to measure the color of her face (vermillion = carnal shame, telling Marshall it is someone they know). When Ranjit arrives to take them to a fancy dinner and Lily's face turns the appropriate shade, Marshall gets upset, causing Lily to abandon their dinner. The two receive advice separately, Lily from Quinn and Marshall from Ranjit, who wisely advises the soon-to-be-father that he must remain the sane one during the pregnancy.
Robin's Career Breakthrough
Though the new co-anchor at the World Wide News headquarters, Robin still fails to be recognized by the security guard, a fact that convinces her she'll never be the famous, respected journalist she has been trying to be for so long. When she's asked to report the traffic from the traffic helicopter, her spirits are still down - until the pilot has a stroke in the air and she's required to land the helicopter over the live local news. Her success and escape from harm brings her overnight fame (she even appears on Letterman, in a photo of the actresses' recent real-life appearance on the show). Everyone contacts her in relieved excitement - even Ted, whom she has not spoken to since their awkward move-out, sends her an encouraging text that though they're not speaking, he's still glad she's OK.
The conclusion of the episode reveals a few facts that help inch the story forward towards this season's finale (three episodes left!): Ted and Robin are going to be OKBarney's need for every night to be legendary has stemmed from his need to be distracted from the fact that his girlfriend Quinn is stripping - forcing him to admit he loves herLily and Marshall patch things up when Marshall assumes all her sex dreams feature great fathers (George Washington, Bill Cosby, Ranjit), because he knows he will be a great father
At this rate it seems difficult to imagine the finale reversing the direction of this season in regards to Barney's love life - it's clear he and Quinn have built a solid relationship, and Robin is nowhere in the picture. If anything, it's been her and Ted - even their estrangement highlights the fact that Ted loves her. Will Barney marry Quinn in the end? Will Ted and Robin finally reconcile and become best friends again? We'll (hopefully) discover the answers to these questions in the soon-approaching finale.
Last side note: After Ted realizes Barney just needs a bro to help him forget his girlfriend's job, he brings back the green dress and manages to "get even" with Barney when he fulfills the same challenge. But who was that girl who gave her phone number to Ted? Could she have any significance to the story?
(Images courtesy of CBS)