Neilpatrickharris_howimetyourmoth_2 The first two post-strike episodes of How I Met Your Mother have both been Ted-heavy, they have looked towards the future of the show (or perhaps what happens after the series ends). Whether this signifies a possible way of wrapping up the series or just a way of moving the story arc forward (and maybe they’re the same thing) it would take a small break tonight.

While that made me somewhat happy (the future is good, but not at the expense of the now), even better was the fact that they started off by focusing on March Madness. My bracket is pretty much dead (thanks Blue Devils, way to support my cause, just so you know, you’re off my Christmas card list) and it made me feel better to know that Ted and Marshall put in a whole lot more effort than I, including stealing a blackboard from Lily’s school, and lost too. They had some grand system worked out for picking their team which included the need for the huge blackboard, but it didn’t pan out and they even failed to realize when their team was playing… and losing.

With March Madness over and done with, the main story tonight would soon end up front and center. You see, Barney has been getting smacked a lot by women lately. He’s been, as per usual one assumes, hitting on women all over New York but lately it has been without success. After chatting a woman at an art opening, pet store, or hardware store, Barney’s standard modus operandi seems to be to run off to get a cute sweater for the woman’s dog or a non-slip ladder so that no more boyfriends/husbands fall needlessly to their deaths. Recently, upon his return, the attitude of the woman has changed, she has gone from being smitten to feeling a deep-seated hatred for Barney and slaps him silly leaving him with a ladder and no one to give it to.

It would be later at bar when Lily figured out exactly what was going on. She was sitting there with Barney and when he got up to get a drink a strange woman came over to her, sat down, and informed Lily that Barney was the worst slime in the world, that he would do anything he could to sleep with her, and would leave her as soon as he was done. Clearly, this all-to-correct psycho had been stalking Barney and informing women about the truth behind all of Barney’s actions, thereby sabotaging Barney’s well-laid plans.

Lily’s discovery left us with the big question — who was this all-too-correct psycho? Who had Barney "lied to, seduced, and abandoned" and ended up angry enough at him to destroy all future opportunities for him to have sex? Barney tried to think of possible choices who would match Lily’s description, but when that failed he busted out his scrapbook. Yup, rather than just keeping a list of the women Barney he has slept with, Barney has a scrapbook (and I bet you thought he just didn’t care enough).

Using the scrapbook, Barney was able to whittle down the number of entries to just his top choices. He then, in a stroke of brilliance, used Lily’s huge chalkboard (still conveniently set up for an NCAA-style tournament) to come up with a little thing I like to call The Barney Saboteur 64 Bracket. The women were divided by location and seeded and the group spent hours and hours pitting one woman against another to try to determine who would have more cause to hurt Barney.

By the time the group got down to the Final Four they were just too tired, and quite possibly, sad, to continue. They simply couldn’t narrow down the choices any further so Lily and Barney went off to hunt down the women in question, with Lily pushing Barney to apologize to them.

The first woman actually didn’t want an apology, she was perfectly happy when Barney lied to her again about how in love with her he still was. The second woman hated Barney, but thought Barney was Ted Mosby and had started a website warning people about Ted. The third was angry at Barney and beat him up a little, but wasn’t the culprit. That left Barney with only one more choice, but that too was wrong, as the woman had used Barney’s dumping her as an excuse to get serious with a guy she had been dating. The only problem there was that she had been cheating on the guy with Barney before Barney dumped her and the guy didn’t know until Barney came back around.

But, that would be their story and not Barney’s. Barney was back to square one and though the gang tried to ensnare the stalker in a trap by having Barney hit on Robin, it didn’t work. Barney did his part perfectly and when he walked away a girl he didn’t recognize went up to talk to Robin. He assumed it had to be the stalker and was greatly distressed by the fact that he had know idea who she was. He actually (much to Lily’s joy) apologized to her for not remembering sleeping with her. The only problem there was that he hadn’t slept with her, she was just a friend of Robin’s who happened to be at the bar that night.

So, there you have it, the stalker is still out there and future-Ted promises she’ll be back at some point down the line. Our story ended tonight not with Barney finding out who the woman destroying his sex life was, but with a faux-Doogie Howser ending of Barney typing a diary entry on his computer.

I’ll be honest with you, I thought tonight was hugely funny. I was happy to see the show move away from Ted’s girl of the week and I think Neil Patrick Harris is great. This might just have been the best episode in a long time (at least since December).

A thought or two and a quote:

  • Funniest moment of the night — Madeleine Albright’s picture appearing during the montage of women Barney has lied to, seduced, and abandoned.
  • There were tons of choices for the best quote, but most were Barney’s and I’m only giving you my favorite – "That would involve me speaking to a women I’ve already had sex with which, frankly, is a little bit like changing the oil in a rental car."
  • Oh, and by the way, does exist, but so does The TV and Film Guy’s Reviews.
Posted by:Josh Lasser