This week's episode had a fair amount of both comedic and dramatic moments, though I think the strength lied with the latter, particularly in tying up the Ted-Robin aftermath and ending a much-needed plot point for Lily and Marshall.
The Comedy Highlights
The Drama Highlights
After Robin moved out last week, Ted now has an empty room to fill, which he promptly utilizes for various diversions including smoking 40 lbs. of pork loin and practical pottery (to replace all the dishware he lost after Robin left). Sadly, none of his endeavors prove fruitful (holes in coffee mugs, collapsing chairs, etc.) but I like that he's so immersed, in his Ted-like fashion.
- It's amusing to see what the writers think of life in the suburbs--or at least in Long Island, as illustrated by Lily and Marshall's new regular activities: table shuffle board, macramÃ© and a mandatory 9pm bedtime. They continually subject Robin, who is staying with them, to these foreign practices when she is clearly uncomfortable. Yes, at one point she's tempted by her "Snugget" (an alternative to a Snuggie) and gallon of ice cream, but eventually she makes a break for it in the middle of the night.
While I enjoyed Ted's recreational forays, they actually symbolized something more profound: he doesn't want to be reminded he's alone (without Robin). I thought it was touching how "Robin" (through Ted's subconscious) would manifest during his meat curing to confront him about what he was really seeking. She finally tells him what he's been longing to hear all along: that she will always be there, even if she's not in the room next to his.
- At this point the real Robin arrives, explaining she couldn't handle the suburbs and, contrary to appearances, Lily and Marshall couldn't either. She and Ted discuss how Lily and Marshall had tried hard to live in a large house outside the city, but that eventually they were forced to acknowledge it just wasn't a good fit--a perfect metaphor for Ted and Robin, which they both recognize through very subtle intonation and knowing eye contact.
- In the last scene, Lily and Marshall excitedly arrive at Ted's, only to find a completely empty apartment except for a wooden crib and a note. Ted confesses he thought the apartment was haunted by Robin's absence, but that it was actually haunted by him and all the old ways and memories he was stuck in; he needed a change, and he thought they did too. Thus, his home became their new one, a place to raise their new family--though not with the crib he built them, which breaks as they take in the momentous gesture.
You'll notice I haven't mentioned anything about Barney, whose new love interest Karma claims the episode's title. His story about really falling for Karma (whose real name when she's not a stripper is Quinn) and being fooled by her guise of taking him on "dates" at the strip club so she can continue to empty his wallet was seriously unbelievable. Barney is the king of con men and he's acting like a total dope--and I refuse to believe it's because he's blinded by love when they only just met (it's difficult to picture Barney being in love, period, although it was more convincing when directed at Robin, given their strong foundation).
Ted uses random hobbies to distract himself from a lonely, haunted apartment; in the process, he discovers he isn't alone, but that he needs to move out to start fresh. Lily and Marshall are given the apartment, thereby ending their miserable stay in the burbs, and an enamored Barney slowly breaks through with Quinn, a stripper.
(Image courtesy of CBS)