“Ted? I must have Robin back.”
While the end of this episode was somewhat irritating, I think it provided more laughs than many episodes of HIMYM have this season. That’s mostly thanks to what I consider the best comedic pairing of the show- Ted and Barney- especially when they’re drunk. The Marshall and Lily B-story from which the episode gets its name, however, isn’t really worth much of a mention here at all because it’s so ridiculous and such an overused sitcom plot. Marshall and Lily’s story plus my continued inability to understand or invest in Robin or Don could have ruined this episode for me, but thankfully, the comedic powers of Josh Radnor and Neil Patrick Harris were too powerful for the episode’s serious flaws to overcome.
Narrator!Ted reveals to us at the beginning of the episode that even though Robin and Don had been dating for a while, Don still hadn’t met Barney. And that was by design. One evening at MacLaren’s, Barney tells Robin that he wants to meet Don and give his approval, especially since Robin is now contemplating moving in with Don. Don is invited to MacLaren’s on a later night, and he and Barney get along great until Barney mentions that they both love Scotch and they’ve both dated Robin. This of course comes after an unfortunate comment by Don about how although hanging out with Barney is great, only women with really low esteem would date him. Don is surprised and kind of squicked out by the fact that Robin is still close friends with one of her exes.
Don is discussing his discomfort with Ted, who starts to get a little uncomfortable himself. He realizes that Don doesn’t know he once dated Robin, too. Don, in fact, was under the impression that Ted is gay. It’s more like Don saw Ted talking about calligraphy classes and complaining that his browning torch (for making crème brulée) was broken, and Robin never corrected that initial impression. Don is even more upset once he finds out that Robin is still friends with two of her exes and is living with one of them. He throws a bit of a fit and storms out of MacLaren’s. Later, Don feels bad about his behavior, and he invites Ted and Barney over for dinner.
When he sees Robin and Don kiss, however, Barney decides that he wants Robin back, and immature hilarity ensues. Ted tries to put a stop to it before it gets too out of control, telling Barney to read the letter Ted had Barney write after his break-up with Robin. This is a technique Ted uses to avoid rebounding, but what works for Ted doesn’t usually work for Barney. Mostly because Barney enjoys drawing pictures of boobs more than he enjoys writing out detailed reasons why he and Robin broke up. Barney acts like an idiot at the dinner at Don’s apartment, trying to show off by eating spicy things like wasabi. If Neil Patrick Harris wasn’t such a talented comedic actor, I would find this stupid instead of hilarious. Nobody else can make being in pain quite so funny.
At a post-dinner debriefing at Ted’s apartment, Ted takes out his own letter about Robin to make a point to Barney. It ends up having the opposite of the intended effect, though. Now both Barney and Ted want Robin back, and they’re both getting very, very drunk. My favorite scene of the episode is when both Barney and Ted drunk dial Robin. Barney goes into the bathroom, thinking he’ll be secretly making the call, and Ted goes into the kitchen to call at the same time. When Barney finds out from Robin that Ted is on the phone, too, he creeps up behind Ted in the kitchen, and Neil Patrick Harris gives his best evil Dr. Horrible gaze before tapping Ted on the shoulder and tackling him. Another great moment is when Barney and Ted start hypothetically discussing Don’s death, and Barney grabs Ted and fearfully yells “This is how it starts! This is how it starts!”
Drunk and Drunker eventually find their way to Robin’s apartment, where they both try to profess their love for her. Don actually handles the situation well, and sets both guys up on the couch in his apartment before he and Robin leave to go do their show. That bit of civility is not nearly enough to make me care about Don, though. There’s a lot more telling happening with Don than showing. Later, Robin says of her relationship with Don “This is real,” and I feel nothing, because I haven’t seen enough of their relationship to be able to agree with her. Anyway, Ted and Barney wake up the next morning to face a very upset Robin. Even though Ted and Barney apologize for being idiots, it’s not enough. Robin feels like she needs to give her relationship with Don a real shot, and to her, that means moving in with him…and taking a break from the group. Several days later, Ted walks into Robin’s room to find all of her belongings gone and the blue French horn propped up against the wall. And don’t even get me started on the fact that Ted somehow had the blue French horn again when he and Barney made their drunk visit to Robin- it should have stayed put after it was returned to the restaurant.
Anyway, as I already said, there wasn’t really anything at all redeeming about the Marshall and Lily B-story in this episode. Marshall and Lily had gone away for the weekend, and the place where they stayed had twin beds. They were a little upset by this at first, but they ended up finding it so comfortable that they slept for 18 hours straight. Marshall and Lily decide this means they should get twin beds for Dowisetrepla. Don warns Marshall and Lily that this is a bad idea. He says he and his ex wife began to drift apart when they got twin beds. Marshall starts treating Lily like a one night stand, which is completely ridiculous and out of character for Marshall. At the end of the episode, they are both sleeping together in Lily’s bed. Honestly, the less said about this story, the better, so I’ll leave it at that.