Say what you want about this show – it’s definitely had some ups and downs already this season – but I have yet to see a TV show that can do continuity quite as well as How I Met Your Mother. This week brought back many of the classic gags: Ted’s red cowboy boots, the Intervention banner, the Playbook AND Bro-Code, and more that I can’t even think of right now because I’m reveling in TV-continuity-done-right happiness.
Anyway, this week focuses on the theme of, you guessed it: Over-correction. Essentially, this is a theory of the gang‘s that means that when someone makes a bad decision, once they get out of it they over-correct by doing the extreme opposite of whatever their previous decision involved. For their example, they discussed Ted’s second relationship with Victoria – once those two broke up, because Victoria was so nice and wholesome, Ted dated her polar opposite: a prisoner.
This topic is brought up because Barney is still dating Patrice – to Robin’s dismay. [Is it just me, or is it basically obstacle after obstacle getting to the Swarkles – Barney and Robin – wedding?] Robin has decided that the reason he’s dating her is because he’s trying to get back at her for shooting him down. The gang tells her that it has nothing to do with Robin, but has everything to do with Quinn. Barney was engaged to Quinn, a relationship that failed, so he over-corrects by dating the opposite – sweet, caring, naïve Patrice.
Another running theme of the episode involves Ted‘s unwillingness to loan items to his friends and acquaintances, because no one returns anything they borrow. Marshall‘s mom is coming to visit, and so Marshall asks to borrow an air mattress from Ted. Ted refuses to let them borrow it because they still have so much of his other stuff they’ve borrowed. Of course, much of the fun in this episode comes from the fact that, by the end of the episode, all of Ted‘s property is shown to be distributed among all of his friends.
Anyway, back to Robin‘s obsession with Barney and Patrice‘s relationship. Robin heads over to Barney’s to try and find The Playbook to convince Patrice that her “honeybear” Barney is not who she thinks he is. Once she gets there, she starts to snoop around the apartment, but is unable to find it by the time Barney gets home from work. She hops into his closet and calls Ted for backup.
Ted drops by and manages to get Barney out of the apartment long enough for Robin to be able to sneak out, but instead, Robin takes more time searching the apartment for The Playbook – which she eventually manages to find. Unfortunately, at that time, Ted and Barney return to the apartment, so she goes back into the closet – but forgets her purse lying on one of Barney‘s tables.
Naturally, she calls Ted back, asking him to distract Barney yet again. Barney doesn’t fall for it this time, so Ted has to sneak into the apartment and grab the purse, but the he finds himself trapped in Barney’s living room closet instead. Robin finds out, and calls Lily for backup – only to find out that Lily is hiding in Barney’s other bedroom closet.
Lily leaves her closet and joins Robin in the other closet. The two swap stories about why their both hiding in Barney’s closets. Lily tells Robin that she comes over to Barney’s to pump breast milk for Marvin while Barney’s at work. She heard Robin opening the door to Barney’s apartment and so, thinking it was Barney, Lily jumped into the closet.
So, they’re all chillin’ out in the various closets around Barney‘s apartment, and Marshall calls from the closet in his own apartment – having been traumatized by making a surprising discovery: he walks in on Marshall’s mom and Lily’s dad sleeping together. He doesn’t get to tell her over the phone, but Lily will find out about it by the end of the episode.
While all this is going on, Barney and Patrice are in Barney’s apartment [though NOT in a closet] decorating for Christmas. Robin, having found The Playbook, sneaks out of the closet and puts it on Barney’s bed for Patrice to find. Once Patrice notices it, she brings it to Barney’s attention – only for Barney to BURN THE PLAYBOOK [in a trash can belonging to Ted]. He tells Patrice that he’s trying to change – that she makes him want to change and be better.
The Playbook’s burning sets off the smoke detector, so Patrice and Barney leave the apartment to go explain the situation to Barney’s building’s superintendent. That gives Lily, Ted, and Robin a chance to get out of the various closets and leave Barney’s undetected. In the end, the gang (minus Barney) decide to hold an intervention for Robin. They can’t sit and watch her consumed with her obvious obsession with “helping” Barney.
Anyway, about Marshall‘s mom’s visit – she comes and ends up hooking up with Lily’s Dad. Marshall and Lily find out – and are completely grossed out, understandably – but decide to accept a relationship between the two by the end of the episode. However, Mickey takes that time to inform them that neither is looking for a relationship – they’re just going to be family… with benefits. [Yeah, just try and get that image out of your head.]
So bascially, this episode was really a great one – and much better than the last few episodes have been. It was fun – and rewarding for fans who have kept up with all the previous episodes and their running jokes – and everything a TV sitcom should be. Next week will be the last before the winter hiatus – a special two-part episode, so don’t miss it.
The Final Page airs Monday, December 17th at 8/7pm. Synopses:
Part 1: Robin takes steps to have Patrice fired from WWN, while Marshall puts a jinx on Barney. Later, Ted invites his architecture professor to the dedication of the GNB building; and Marshall and Lily bump into an oddball acquaintance from college.
Part 2: Christmas approaches and Ted wrestles with whether to tell Robin about Barney’s intentions involving Patrice, while Marshall and Lily get an early Yule gift, a night away from Marvin, but a case of separation anxiety strikes and threatens to ruin the evening.