So this is how they plan on saving the final season of How I Met Your Mother? To make an episode a flashback only to be bookended by the current wedding weekend timeline?
I’m okay with that, and you should be to. “Platonish” was the best episode of the season, on par with episodes from the past few seasons. Though by no means a return to the glory years, this episode was a step in the right direction.
Carter Bays tweeted that this episode takes place between episodes six and seven from last season. It revolves around Lily and Robin giving Barney a series of challenges where he has to pick up girls in stupid ways. These include speaking only in dolphin, wearing a trash bag, and competing with Ryan Gosling.
Meanwhile, Ted and Marshall are watching the Globetrotters stomp the Generals. In between awkward banter directed at referees, Marshall is convinced that Ted and Robin are not simply platonic. Ted is adamant that he is over Robin for good. He even gets a call from Hammond Druthers—Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston returns in the reoccurring role—who offers him a position in Chicago.
Ted is convinced he’s over Robin because she would never change her mind. That is until he sees her eating olives, which flashes us back to the very first episode and the olive theory. For those who don’t remember: Ted loves olives, and because Robin hated them, that means they are meant to be together. Now, he realizes he may still have feelings for her. Ted turns down the Chicago job (which he will eventually accept), but doesn’t pursue Robin because there’s not a time limit.
Except there is.
On a challenge to pick up a girl at a convenience store, Barney bumps into the Mother. That’s right, the Mother. She is one of his targets but shuts him down. She gives a poignant speech where she says that Barney is hurting because he screwed up a relationship where he was truly in love. That relationship was Robin. He says he can’t give up the game because it is at his peak. Her response was something Ted might even say: “Do you want to keep playing the game? Or do you want to win it?”
Barney then asks if she thinks she’ll go the distance with her boyfriend. She says she’s not sure because she isn’t sure if she’s the perfect one for her. Another thing Ted would say.
This conversation leads Barney to go home to his playbook where he begins to write “The Robin”—the play that he eventually uses to propose to Robin.
While I’m tired of the Ted/Robin shipping, I actually think it’s vital to putting Ted into the state of mind he is in for the wedding weekend. Sure, it’s annoying revisiting this plot, but it’s realistic to a certain point. What this episode did even better was reintroducing the Mother. We are getting to see her character develop without it being at the wedding, which is vital to growing the character. Flash-forwards like last week are okay, but these flashbacks are special.
Having an entire episode take place in a flashback was a smart move. I want them more often. I know the Mother won’t be in every flashback episode, but that’s okay. Just filling in holes in the continuity is okay with me. Drop the wedding episodes until the very end for all I care. I want to see the gang where they belong: at MacLaren’s Pub having a good time. That’s where they were this week, and this week’s episode was just that: a good time.