The Duel

HIMYM episode 1x08 (8)

The Duel
First aired:
November 14, 2005
Pamela Fryman
Gloria Calderon Kellet
Barney's Blog

Images (8)

Ted reconsiders his offer to let Lily move in with him and Marshall. Barney attempts to revolutionize the first date.


Lily decides to take Robin over to her apartment (which she herself has not been to in three months) while they are out, but when they get to Lily's apartment, they find that the landlady has passed away, and Lily's apartment is now a Chinese restaurant called Madame Chew's House of Dumplings. Lily even sees many of her personal belongings still there. Lily and Robin immediately head over to Ted and Marshall's apartment to explain the situation, and Ted tells Lily that she is welcome to live with them, "since you practically live here anyway." Barney warns Ted that things will change when Lily moves into the apartment, and that eventually her and Marshall will force him out of the apartment. Ted doesn't believe him, but after he finds "Shocky" (his very old coffee pot that always gave him an electrical jolt and makes the lights flicker when ever it gets plugged into an outlet) in the garbage and replaced by Lily's coffee pot, he begins to think Barney is right. He feels even more threatened when Marshall tells him he wants to hang Lily's painting where the two swords hang. In order to try to reclaim his territory, Ted begins to label all of his food and then orders a life-sized English phone booth for the apartment. He begins to argue with Marshall about who should get the apartment, which leads to a duel with the swords that hung on the wall. Both consider this duel awesome even though they are fighting for the apartment and mad at each other. Events become tragic when their coffee table collapses under Marshall's weight and because one of the legs was put on with wood glue, and he stumbles backward and stabs Lily with the sword. After she is patched up at the hospital, Lily tells them that she doesn't want to live there once they are married because she feels that it is a manly environment.

Meanwhile, Barney has created a revolutionary idea in the dating world: The Lemon Law. Similar in nature to lemon laws for used cars, Barney's new lemon law for dating gives a person five minutes to decide if their will be a second date or not. They can call the date off for any reason in the first five minutes, avoiding bad dates. Barney goes on to say that it will become "a thing" after "lemon-lawing" two different women on dates. Robin argues that it takes longer for people to get to know each other, so she challenges Barney by taking Kevin, a nerdy guy obsessed with Star Trek, on a date. Barney calls her to try to get her to use the lemon law, but she refuses. The guy asks if it was a fake call from the hospital, and she tells him that she would never do that. Only a few minutes later, she gets a real call from the hospital telling her that Marshall has accidentally stabbed Lily, and leaves, feeling a bit guilty about the situation. At the hospital Barney reveals that his lemon law is now "a thing," as he had just been "lemon-lawed" by a girl earlier that night. He also regrets not calling it Barney's Law so as to get some name recognition or fame. Once Lily is released from the hospital, they go eat Shanghai dumplings at the restaurant in Lily's old apartment, and listen to a mixtape Marshall made for Lily on Valentines Day in 1998.


  • This is the first episode where Robin is mistaken for a prostitute. 
  • Barney adapts his "Have you met Ted?" game, first seen in the Pilot, to introduce Robin to Kevin. This is the first time it is seen used on anyone besides Ted.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Marshall tells Ted that he and Lily might need the second room soon after they get married because they aren't careful with their birth control, and in Belly Full of Turkey, Lily worries that she might be pregnant when her period is late.
  • Robin is mistaken for a prostitute again in Best Prom Ever.
  • Lily's painting which Ted and Marshall fight about is seen again in Best Prom EverNo Tomorrow, and The Front Porch.
  • Marshall and Lily change their mind about finding their own apartment in Dowisetrepla.
  • When the Chinese restaurant waiter says that Lily is prettier in person than in her Homecoming pictures, Lily responds that "the bangs were a mistake". In flashbacks to Lily's high school and college days, Lily does have rather unflattering bangs, as seen in Best Prom EverHow I Met Everyone Else, and The Platinum Rule.
  • In Moving Day, Marshall gives Ted one of the swords.
  • Barney is seen on a date with a girl he met online, but in How I Met Everyone Else, he makes fun of Ted for meeting a girl while playing World of Warcraft.
  • The Lemon Law is one of Barney's dating rules Ted lists in The Platinum Rule.
  • In Zoo or False, Marshall brings up how he is always accidentally injuring Lily, as he does here for the second time on-screen.
  • When telling the gang about the Lemon Law, Barney says "it's going to be a thing." He later insists on theories he has made up being "things" in The Mermaid Theory and Desperation Day.
  • Barney is seen being unable to use chopsticks, but eventually learns some time before the events of Ducky Tie, where it is revealed that he has been taking Shinjitsu Habachi cooking classes in Hoboken.
  • Ted correctly predicts that it will be at least three years until Marshall and Lily have a baby, as they do not until The Magician's Code - Part One, over six years later.
  • Ted and Marshall's duel is referenced again in Last Time in New York, as is Marshall stabbing Lily.
  • Robin also wants to get a new home with her husband after marriage in The Fortress.
  • When Robin criticises Barney's lame way of getting out of a date, Barney says that he's working on some stuff. It's likely that Barney was writing the playbook at this time which could be the stuff that he's referring to.


  • Ted and Marshall duel over who gets the apartment after Marshall's wedding.
  • Lily's former apartment, now a Chinese restaurant.
  • The English phone booth arrived.
  • Robin tries to convince Barney it takes more than 5 minutes to see if there's a second date.
For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category: The Duel images.

Memorable Quotes

Ted: So it's like that, is it?
Marshall: *briinnnnggggg briinnnnggggg* (answers the phone in the English phone booth, cockney accent) Oh, 'ello guv'na. Oh, it's like that, innit? Cheerio! (normal voice) Yeah, it's like that!

Robin: Okay, seriously, what is this girl's deal?
Barney: I'm sort of on a date with her.
Ted: What?
Barney: Yeah, yeah. I found her online. I'm tired of the whole bar scene, the one-night hookups. I'm looking for a soul mate. Someone who I can love and cuddle. Or so it says in my profile (laughter with an evil laugh) But this girl she wants the same stuff. And it's it's bumming me out. All right, Ted, call me from the hospital.
Ted: All right.
Robin: You're going to the hospital?
Ted: No. See, he's going to go back over there, and I'm going to call him. He's going to pretend it's an emergency call from a family member at the hospital.
Robin: Oh, Lord, fake emergency? That is the lamest, most pathetic cop-out in the book. I expect more from you, Barney.
Barney: Well, stay tuned. I'm working on some stuff. But in the meantime, wish me luck.

Random girl: I'm sorry, I'm going to have to lemon law you.
Barney: It's out there. It's a thing. The lemon law is a thing! Damn, I should've called it Barney's law.
Barney very happy for being dumped to prove his point that you only need 5 minutes to see if a date would work.

Barney: You blew it, dude. Now that Lily's there, it's a whole new dynamic. They're edging you out.
Ted: That's crazy. They're not edging me out. Marshall's my best friend.
Barney: Ha. (Barney turns his head in signal of dissaproval and being upset)
Ted: One of my best friends. He wouldn't do that to me.
Barney: Just keep your eyes open, that's all I'm saying, Teddy.

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • After Robin hangs up on Barney while she is with Kevin at the restaurant, a woman walks behind him as he speaks, but after the screen switches briefly to Robin then back to Kevin, the same woman is seen walking behind him from the same place as before. 
  • As Barney talks to Ted about "marking his territory", his glass jumps from the table to his hand. 
  • Lily says that Marshall ran her through with a broadsword, but the swords in the apartment are actually rapiers. 

Allusions and Outside References

  • Ted buys an English phone booth for the apartment. The red phone booths were very common in the streets of the United Kingdom until more recently, which is why Marshall uses a (very poor) British accent when teasing Ted about it.
  • Robin's date insults her using an expression in Klingon, a fictional language that belongs to the Star Trek universe.
  • Lily calls Ted and Marshall "Knights of the Poorly Constructed Round Table", referring to the Round Table from the legends of "King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table".
  • Throughout the episode the wall clock in the apartment always displays 4:20 which could be a marijuana reference. (The clock was always set to 4:20 during season 1)


Other Notes


  • Martin Starr - Kevin
  • Miki Mia - Chinese Waitress
  • Maya Parish - Erin
  • Jacqueline Pinol - Jackie
  • Keri Safran - Katie
  • Keisuke Hoashi - Doctor
  • Brian Petrucelli - Moving Man #1


  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 7.5 out of 10 stars. "...Barney's 'fake emergency' was done great! Does he have other notable moves?"


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