Barney has always been the group's resident horn-dog, shamelessly manipulating ditsy bimbos for his own personal ends. It's been a refreshing surprise, then, to see Robin equal him in shameless appetite with a fawning simpleton of her own, a "bad boy chef" named Nick--score one for both egalitarianism and Eros. Tonight, however, her unbalanced relationship reaches its logical conclusion.
The Sporting Life
It all starts when Marshall recruits Robin's Nick for his basketball team, and the strain disrupts their aggressive sex life. No longer blinded by his flawless man body, she comes to the realization that he's actually pretty stupid--Barney isn't the only one in the group who likes banging dumb models.
The rest of the group, as it turns out, was well aware of Nick's below average intelligence. Barney leads the charge on breaking them up, while Marshall is desperate to keep his basketball ringer--Lily just wants Robin to keep talking about sexy stuff, as she and Marshall are struggling to balance intimacy with parenthood.
Nothing Left Unsaid
When Robin proves unable to pull the trigger on her break-up, Barney takes the matter into his own hands: he arrives on the scene with a convincing speech about how he and Robin are in love. Nick is predictably crushed, though he does manage to bag two new female companions before leaving the building. Robin and Barney, meanwhile, are left in a nervous relationship limbo: their lingering mutual affection is no longer unsaid, simply unconfirmed.
Of course we already know where this is going: Barney and Robin will at least attempt to get married, Ted finds the mother, etc. But if every step along the way can match tonight's, I'm in no hurry: after weeks of false-starts, camera-mugging and half-baked scenarios, this finally felt like a really great How I Met Your Mother one-off; one which will likely play fine in syndicated randomness, but one which also rewards those still following the story. I don't want Barney and Robin's engagement to feel fake, which is why an incremental step like this feels right.
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