| First aired:|
November 11, 2013
In a flashback episode, Marshall and Lily ponder the future of the Ted and Robin, while Ted is out with Marshall gets a call from an old "friend". Meanwhile, Barney accepts a series of challenges to pick up girls from Lily and Robin.
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Saturday 11:00 AM, 31 hours are left before the wedding. Barney, Ted, and Lily are at the Farhampton Inn lounge trying to comfort Robin who is crying over the news that her mother is not attending the wedding. Barney takes this as a challenge to cheer her up, saying he always finishes his challenges. At this Lily states that this isn't completely true since Barney never got them diapers and samosas.
To explain, the gang flashes back six months prior to the fall of 2012: Lily and Ted are at the bar discussing Ted's feelings for Robin, which are, as Ted insists, purely platonic. At this, Barney arrives and gives them a definition of platonic whereas neither he nor Ted are platonic with Robin, since two people being single are never platonic if there is a chance that they could hook up the next twenty minutes. Thinking of that, Barney claims that he just knows two truly platonic people (being Marshall and Robin who would not even kiss if they could save their or Lily's lives with that kiss).
Being bored, Barney takes a challenge from himself to get some blond girl's number and goes off. When Robin arrives, Ted also has to leave to watch a basketball game together with Marshall. Barney returns to the table with a challenge completed, which brings Robin and Lily to the conclusion that Barney always makes up own creative challenges that are easy to complete. Lily dares him to take up a challenge that she and Robin will choose. As Barney completes the first one, they keep on playing and giving Barney challenges for a bigger part of the night. By the end Barney got some woman's numbers while speaking like a dolphin, wearing a garbage bag not using the letter E and by making a girl believe he is Ryan Gosling.
Seeing that Barney has passed all their challenges, Lily asks him to buy her a pack of diapers and samosas for Robin - and pick up another woman in the process. At the drugstore, Barney tries a play on a woman, but the woman rejects him and tells him he is a sad person but that everything will be alright because he is good guy. Barney calls her a weirdo but he eventually goes back to her to ask her what she meant.
Meanwhile, Marshall and Ted are watching a game between the Washington Generals and the Harlem Globetrotters. As they watch, the two begin to talk about Ted's feelings for Robin. Marshall states that Ted still has feelings for her and asks why Ted is not leaving, because in 20 minutes he could be happily ever after with Robin. Ted thinks that Marshall only wants to win the bet he has with Lily, denying the fact he wants Robin back. Both think about how this getting back together within 20 minutes could look like, involving the blue french horn in Ted's version. Ted doesn't want to pursue Robin again, saying she does not change her mind on that. At some point in this conversation, Ted's old boss Hammond Druthers calls him up and offers him a job in Chicago. Ted steadfastly refuses the offer despite Hammond's pleading, but says he will think about it.
Outside the drugstore, the woman and Barney are sitting on a bench talking about his failed relationship with Robin and how he regretted not trying harder to make it work. The woman asks him what he wants - playing around or winning the game, and Barney has to admit that he wants to win. When Barney says he can easily win back Robin within 20 minutes, the woman declares that if he really loves Robin and wants her back, he will have to give it all his attention, all his time, all his thoughts - otherwise he won't win this important game. The woman leaves and Barney runs off, leaving the diapers and samosas at the bench where they sat. Future Ted reveals that this woman was the mother and that's how Barney has met her.
Back at the apartment Ted sees Robin eating olives, reminding her that she does not like olives - recalling a scene from their first meeting. Robin saying she changed her mind, making Ted call Hammond rejecting his offer, believing he can still turn things around with Robin after seeing she has changed her mind about disliking olives. Later at MacLaren's, Ted admits he and Robin only share a "platonish" relationship if that exists. Marshall asks if Ted is now pursuing Robin, but Ted says that he will take things slowly since he is not going anywhere and she is not going anywhere, so there is no need to rush, it will happen when it happens. While Ted and Marshall are having this conversation, the scene cuts over to Barney who returned to his apartment, opening the last page of his playbook and starting to draft "The Robin".
At this point the scene flashes back to the Farhampton Inn, Barney declared that from that night on, his one and only challenge was "to get Robin Scherbatsky to fall in love with him". Now inspired by Barney, Robin stops crying and smiles at him. Robin declares he has completed his challenge to cheer her up and get her to fall in love with him. Then she kisses him, while Ted is visibly touched and sad at this point.
- The blue french horn was first seen in the Pilot as well as in Something Blue, and Of Course.
- Hammond Druthers was last seen in Columns.
- Barney often jokes about being in a relationship with Ted's Mother, first being mentioned in Arrivederci, Fiero.
- Ted and Robin's private saluting joke was first mentioned in Slapsgiving.
- When Robin is crying because her mom won't come to the wedding, Barney tries to comfort her by unhook her bra. This is the same way that Barney did to comforting Robin in Weekend at Barney's.
- Barney is seen writing The Robin at the end of this episode. It is a key plot point for the first half of Season 8, as well as the focal point for the episode The Final Page - Part Two.
- When writing The Robin on the Playbook, "The My Penis Grants Wishes" can be seen on the adjacent page. This play was introduced in The Playbook.
- Barney has never used challenge accepted as often as in this episode.
- Marshall and Lily's bet about Ted and Robin ending up together was first discovered in No Pressure.
- Barney's love for William Zabka was first mentioned in Cleaning House. He first appears in The Bro Mitzvah.
- The Funk, The Whole Funk and Nothing But the Funk was mentioned in Unfinished.
- Future Ted mentioned in The Time Travelers that The Mother was dating Louis months before they met.
- Ted told Lily that he was offered a job in Chicago in Something New. It is likely that was the job offered to him by Hammond Druthers shown in this episode.
- Hammond Druthers is holding his baseball (signed three times by Pete Rose), which was seen in Aldrin Justice.
- The Mother says that getting married is "Winning the 'Game'". Marshall said the same thing in Little Boys.
- They played with the olive theory, which was featured in the Pilot episode where Robin said she didn't like olives and wanted to invite him up to her apartment to get the olives he liked. Marshall made it a big deal that he hated olives (Barney however called him out on that later) while Lily loved olives and that is how their relationship was lasting. In this episode Robin likes olives and Ted takes notice. Robin's explanation is 'I changed my mind."
- Marshall going extreme lengths to stray from cheating on Lily or even flirt with another woman has been shown before, specifically in Double Date.
- Lily yells, "BOOGITY BOO!" at Robin. In the Pilot, Marshall yells, "BOOGITY BOO!" at Lily as a distraction.
Future References (Contains Spoilers)
- Barney tells The Mother he's drawing a blank as to whether he knows someone he can set her up with. In the series finale, at his wedding, he wants to introduce her to Ted.
- In the flashback, Ted says "We're not platonic. Platonish, maybe" and he references stealing the Blue French Horn. This information plays a key role in the final moments of the series' finale.
- In Last Forever - Part Two, Marshall initially pays Lily the five bucks shortly before Ted and the Mother's wedding. In a deleted scene linked to the same episode, Marshall will sing the 'Sweet Five Bucks' song asking Lily to pay up after Robin and Ted get back together for real.
- —Barney accepting the challenge of getting a woman's number without the use of the letter 'e'.
|Ted:||You are eating olives.|
*Flashback to the Pilot*
|Robin:||Do you want these? I hate olives.
*End of flashback*
|Ted:||I thought you hated olives?|
|Robin:||I guess I have changed my mind.|
- —Ted notices Robin eating olives and reminisces about their first date.
|The Mother:||Do you want to keep playing or do you wanna win?|
|Barney:||I wanna win. What am I doing? In less than 20 minutes, Robin and I could be...|
|The Mother:||Oh, no, no, no, no. It's gonna take a lot more than 20 minutes. This is gonna take everything you have got. It will take all your time, all your attention, all your resources. This is the big one, diaper man! You gotta do it right, can't be messing around and picking up girls in drug stores. You got work to do.|
- —-The Mother encouraging Barney to go after Robin in their first encounter with each other.
|Marshall:||Open your eyes ref! The ball hasn't touched the ground in seven minutes!|
|Ted:||Hey ref! Check your voice mail, I think you've missed a few calls!|
- —Ted and Marshall complaining about the officiating in the basketball game.
|Barney:||I have no idea who that girl was but she set me straight. After that I had one challenge and one challenge only; get Robin Scherbatsky to fall in love with me.|
- —Barney completes his challenge to cheer up Robin and Robin kisses him as Ted looks on heartbroken.
|The Mother:||I think you were in love and you messed it up, and every moment of your life since then has been spent trying to stay busy enough to ignore that fact.|
- —-Ted's future wife making Barney realize his mistakes.
Notes and Trivia
Goofs and Errors
- In The Locket, Robin said that the gang met 8 years before 2013, which means 2005, which is true (this is the beginning of the series). In this episode, Ted said he stole the Blue French Horn 8 years ago (he said that in 2012), which is wrong because it means that he met Robin before 2004.
- Future Ted's an unreliable narrator. While he said 8 years, he meant 7 - a simple math mistake.
- The first step in The Robin was done in Splitsville, which took place prior to the events in the flashbacks, however Barney doesn't begin writing The Robin until after meeting The Mother.
- It's very unlikely that Barney planned to admit that he has feelings for Robin. That part was probably added in retrospect.
- Also, The Robin includes steps like "Step 6. Check for possible broken ribs" which he could not have known before being hugged by Patrice.
- The simple existence of the 20 minute theory goes against one of Barney's rule of "no fatties".
- It can be assumed Barney would hook up with a "fatty" to save his own life.
Allusions and Outside References
- Many male celebrities are mentioned in this episode including, Ryan Philippe, Ryan Gosling, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, William Zabka, Ryan Seacrest and Ryan Reynolds.
- Marshall compares Ted to romance novelist Nicholas Sparks.
- Marshall and Ted are attending a Globetrotters game and make numerous references to the rivalry between the Generals and Globetrotters, where the latter almost always prevails.
- When Hammond Druthers calls, Ted refers to a building Druthers designed a concave tower that melted buildings due to solar glare across the road. This is a reference to 20 Fenchurch Street (aka the “Walkie Talkie” building) in London, UK, which infamously melted cars on the street below due to its design.
- It's Only Time - The Magnetic Fields
- According to Carter Bays, the flashbacks in this episode took place between Splitsville and The Stamp Tramp.
- This is the second episode where we've seen a member of the gang meet the mother.
- In chronological order, Barney is the first member of the gang to meet the Mother.
- The Mother ends up being the person who gets Barney going on the right path of settling with Robin. It's after their wedding that The Mother & Ted meet at Farhampton station. The Mother remarks to Barney that she "perhaps hasn't found the right guy yet" to which Barney replies that maybe he has somebody to hook her up with, but draws a blank. In a way, The Mother got Robin and Barney together, and Barney got Ted and The Mother in the right place, the right time.
- The exterior of the Harlem Globetrotters game was filmed at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon
- Bryan Cranston - Hammond Druthers
- Michael Edwin - Eddie
- Christine Donlon - Toby
- Stephanie Lynn - Meredith
- Angela Sprinkle - Madeleine
- Sarah Karges - Elaine
- Sheldon Coolman - Shop Owner
- Kevin Fabian - Maitre 'D
- The episode was viewed by 8.08 million people.
- Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A.
- Bill Kuchman of Popculturology praised Milioti, saying she "continued to show us why she was the perfect pick for this role, giving life to a character that really has never been more than an abstract concept. We’ve only seen her a few times, but Milioti instantly makes The Mother someone you root for." 
- Max Nicholson of IGN gave the episode a 7.8 out of 10. 
- The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 6.5 out of 10 stars. "...Barney as dolphin..."
- ↑ https://twitter.com/CarterBays/status/400061326409474049
- ↑ http://www.tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2013/11/12/monday-final-tv-ratings-sleepy-hollow-castle-mike-molly-adjusted-up
- ↑ http://www.avclub.com/articles/platonish,105417/
- ↑ http://www.popculturology.com/2013/11/how-i-met-your-mother-platonish-recap.html
- ↑ http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/11/12/how-i-met-your-mother-platonish-review
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