How I Met Your Mother Episode 8.17 "The Ashtray" Recap

Alyson Hannigan and Kyle MacLachlan

Reminiscent of The Burning Beekeeper from last season, this week’s episode tells a story from several points-of-view: that of Ted‘s, Robins, and then Lily‘s – all of which tell the story a little differently than before. During this, Barney is determined to insert himself into the story – since Ted called it a “crazy story,” which to Barney means that he must have been present because crazy stories are his thing.Lily, Ted, and Robin HIMYM 8.17 The Ashtray

Anyway, before we get into the episode, this story needs a little background: a while back, Ted dated Zoey, who was the ex-wife of the Captain. Eventually they broke up, but Ted maintains that the Captain (Kyle MacLachlan) holds a grudge against him to this day for dating his ex-wife. This week, Ted receives a call from the Captain, who asks Ted to call him back – but doesn’t explain why he is calling.

First, Ted recounts the story of the last time he saw the Captain, as he remembers it – which basically amounts to Ted, Robin, and Lily going to an art show where they run into the Captain. Ted says that the Captain was very rude to him and invited the three of them upstairs to his apartment to show them some of his artwork, where he proceeded to threaten Ted with a harpoon before promising to leave him alone as long as he doesn’t try to steal his current love [A.K.A.: his yacht] away from him.

Ted and The Captain HIMYM 8.17 The AshtrayBack in the present, the Captain calls again and Marshall – hoping the Captain might be calling to invite him, Ted, and Barney out for a ride on his boat – answers the phone and hands it to Ted. The Captain then reveals why he called Ted: he wants Robin’s phone number. The three talk for a second, and they agree to give the Captain Robin’s number; Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) insists that Robin won’t be mad at them for doing it.

Later, Robin shows up at MacLaren’s, mad at them for giving the Captain her number. She then tells them her version of the story, in which Ted had recently “eaten a sandwich” [that means smoked pot, for those of you unfamiliar with that running HIMYM gag] and thus was not a reliable source for what actually happened that day. Robin and Barney in HIMYM 8.17 The Ashtray

Robin corrects Ted’s version of the story, adding that the Captain was actually very nice to Ted, and spent a great deal of time hitting on Robin. What Ted claimed was a harpoon was actually a TV remote, and adds that the Captain asked Robin back to his bedroom to show her a painting, but when she got back there he tried to hook up with her.

Robin said she shot him down at the time, but told him to give her a call in a year and a half – hence the phone call now. At Marshall’s urging, Robin calls the Captain to let him know she was engaged. When she tells him that, the Captain reveals that he actually thought he had gotten a hold of Lily, the kindergarten teacher married to Marshall. She puts him on hold, only to have Marshall tell her to give the Captain Lily’s number, again insisting that she won’t be mad.

Lily, Ted, and Robin in HIMYM 8.17 The AshtrayLily later shows up at the apartment, where the entire gang is now present, mad that they gave the Captain her number. She then reveals that not only was Ted stoned, but Robin was drunk – having just taken several shots while at a “work meeting” at a local bar. So, she proceeds to set the record straight as to what really happened. [Barney still was not present in this version, either.] Robin was the one who hit on the Captain, not the other way around.

So, the real story is that they went to the art gallery and ran into the Captain, who was there with an art consultant. Lily recommends that the Captain buy a certain painting, but the Captain brushes her off because she’s “just a kindergarten teacher”. Lily was mad that he didn’t take her seriously – after all, she used to be a great artist [doesn’t that just seem so long ago?!] – and she’s assuming he’s probably calling her to try and get her to return it.

Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson in HIMYM 8.17 The AshtrayAfter she tells the real version of the story, Lily calls the Captain back, only to learn that he is actually trying to get a hold of her because he bought the painting Lily recommended back then – which is now worth millions. So, the Captain tells her that he wants to hire Lily to be his new art consultant, which Lily – who misses being involved in the art world – agrees to do.

As for Barney, it turns out that he actually was there – maybe? It’s not really clear – but even the Captain seems to think that he was there, so I guess we’ll go with it. In this version, Barney was running one of his plays from the now-burned Playbook on the Captain’s previous art consultant. So, that’s the story – and, for now at least, everyone’s sticking to it.

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