How I Met Your Mother’s ability to tackle current events has always been a pleasure to watch, even when the historic is three months old. This week’s episode centered on the weekend when Hurricane Irene ripped through New York City as the gang reminisced on the importance of the weekend. And boy, was it important. Meanwhile we finally get some sort of resolution with this season’s most infamous object: the ducky tie.
That’s exactly where “Disaster Averted” starts. Barney is running through the streets in a James Bond-esque chase sequence and eventually has to save a boy hanging on the ledge of a building. The only way to reach him is to take off his tie for the boy to grab on, even though the boy in peril kindly reminds him he made his bet. Of course it’s another outlandish Stinson story, or is it really a “true story” like he claims? HIMYM’s cold openings usually vary from something memorable and far-fetched to traditional plot starters. This week’s episode managed to be both.
Before we can go any further with the ducky tie, Kevin, Robin’s ex-therapist and current boyfriend, notices a sign in front of MacClaren’s that says “Absolutely no boogie boarding” and thus begins our journey down the rabbit hole that is Hurricane Irene. Ted flashes us back to Aug. 26 and informs everyone that even though they are in danger there is no need to worry because they are friends with a former Boy Scout. The next minute of rapid-fire Boy Scout jokes is spot-on. It’s always great to see the writers come up with new ways to make Ted seem like the black sheep of the group, when in reality he’s the one that brought them all together.
He wants to take them all to his place in Westchester (remember he bought it out of desperation to have a family and it actually becomes his future family’s home) to stay out of harm’s way. Unfortunately Ted, Marshall, Lily and Robin are friends with Barney, who makes their lives anything but easy. The pit stop at Barney’s apartment turns into an opportunity to “get their drink on,” which upsets Ted because no one is taking him seriously.
In one of the more ridiculous Marshall moments, we discover he refuses to leave Lily’s side because he has no health insurance for two weeks and fears the worst. Marshall becomes a really clingy Edgar Allan Poe: paper cuts suddenly become life-threatening, going for bagels is a life-or-death situation and bears suddenly can appear anywhere and everywhere. I don’t think I could ever get sick of Marshall being by my side 24/7, but Lily has and just wants a break. This results in a hilarious game of musical chairs to see who is going in the car and who isn’t. At the end of the day, Marshall draws Lily a bubble bath, something she has wanted to do to relax and get away from her husband, which turns her on so much that they conceive their baby. Surprisingly, this isn’t the most important detail to come out of that weekend.
Meanwhile, back in current time and at the bar, Barney complains how embarrassing the ducky tie is. A series of unlikely scenarios leads Kevin to notice that the tie hasn’t bothered Barney in weeks, but now all of a sudden he is desperate to not wear it. He confesses that he has to meet Nora’s parents in two days and will do anything to get out of the bet that forces him to wear it.
What could be better than forcing the stylish Barney to wear a hideous tie for a year? Adding more slaps to the Slap Bet (where Marshall can slap Barney five times whenever he feels like it) from all the way back in season two. Marshall only has one slap left, but Lily (acting as Slap Bet Commissioner) adds three slaps, bringing the total up to four. Marshall wisely uses two in rapid succession, forcing Barney to reevaluate how he makes decisions in his life.
So, Future Ted, what happened during Hurricane Irene that was bigger than the Eriksens conceiving their baby? Well, Marshall attempts to boogie board and ends up going through the MacLaren’s window, hence the “No boogie boarding” sign. Surely that can’t be the entire point of the episode, so we get one more twist. It turns out Barney and Robin almost kissed that weekend. Wait, is that really the twist? In true HIMYM fashion, it isn’t. The big revelation is that back in the current time, two days before Barney is supposed to meet the love of his life’s parents, the two actually do kiss.
It looks like the triangle that was promised to epically change the course of their lives is coming back into the spotlight. The upcoming weeks should be interesting leading right up to the holiday hiatus.
And for the record, Hurricane Eriksen would be one of the best names of all time.