‘How I Met Your Mother’: An Elaborate Scheme, and SO Much Wordplay

HIMYMS7E19: Things are looking pretty grim, fellow Barney-Robin shippers. Not hopeless, but definitely not promising. Last week’s How I Met Your Mother kicked off the romance between Barney and Quinn (Becki Newton), a pair of manipulative, sex-crazed lovable jerks. Many of us hoped that this was just a misdirect to take up time until the inception of the path that would lead Barney and Robin to marriage at the end of the season—with a wedding that would finally introduce you-know-who. But while the episodes are winding down, Barney and Quinn are just beginning to heat up. Good for them, and anyone who likes them as a couple. But for the longstanding, passionate community of Stinson-Scherbatsky advocates, this is dire news.

“Put on your brobe.” – Barney

If you do subscribe to the movement to disband Barney and Quinn, you’re in good company: Ted, Marshall, Lily and Robin all hate her. This week’s episode opens with Barney making Ted swear a solemn broath (oh yeah…there are “bro” puns aplenty on this week’s gem of an episode) to not tell anyone else that Quinn is a stripper, nor that she conned Barney out of an inordinate sum of money before they began seriously dating. But in the spirit of good ol’ fashion sitcom humor, the elaborate pledge is followed immediately by Ted spilling the beans to the whole gang. Cue theme song.

The gang vows to keep an open mind when meeting Quinn—but this amounts to very little. At the dinner party to inaugurate Quinn into the group, she bosses around and insults Barney, which obviously sours the gang on her. To make matters worse, snooping Lily discovers evidence of an expensive rip to Hawaii, which she surmises that Quinn has conned or manipulated Barney into buying for her.

“We’re just looking out for your best interests.” – Ted

“Ahem.” – Marshall

“Quinnterests.” – Ted

Out of love and respect for their friend, Ted, Marshall, Lily and Robin decide to hold a Quinntervention: both a callback to one of the series’ favorite running gags, and a play on words that is incredibly simple, but somehow increasingly funny every time it manifests. At the Quinntervention, Barney takes extreme issue with his friends’ intolerance of Quinn. She shows up, with apparently remarkable timing, to reveal that she was the only who purchased the trip to Hawaii—for Barney. However, a fight breaks out between Quinn and Barney when he lets slip that he is ashamed of what she does for a living, and had wished to hide it from his friends. She leaves angrily, demanding that he never speak to her again. Around this point, a few of us might cheer with elation. ‘They’re done! The distraction is over! This means Barney and Robin can finally sanctify their love! Wait a sec…it’s only the halfway mark. There are still fifteen minutes left in the episode. They’re bound to make up.’ And, they do. As a matter of fact, they were never fighting in the first place.

As revealed in a flashback, Barney and Quinn decided to trick Barney’s friends into thinking Quinn is a horrible, degrading and dishonest person. Barney knows his friends so well that he can predict their every action accurately—the disapproval, the Quinntervention, and the eventual begging for forgiveness. There is no real motivator for Barney’s and Quinn’s plans to mess with the gang other than their mutual love for mind games. But after the truth is revealed, everyone is so happy for Barney and so relieved to not have been at fault, they don’t even address the fact that what the pair did to them was pretty conniving and psychotic.

Barney and Quinn are, admittedly, a pretty perfect match. They’re exactly like each other. But is this what Barney needs? More than any of the other characters on the show, Barney needs someone who is capable of bringing the good out in him. As proven by this week’s episode, Quinn just reinforces what Barney already is. Although they are capable of having some real fun together, the two don’t seem to be helping one another grow at all. Barney has grown more with Robin in platonic scenes than he seems able to with Quinn as a romantic partner. But in the last scene, the idea of marriage is hinted at between the two—and with the wedding coming up fast, we might be stuck with the same Barney we came into the series with.

“I think I can do ‘normal.’” – Ted

The B-story of the episode concerns the standing Ted and Robin situation, manifesting at first over a petty argument that eventually reveals to be about something more substantial (i.e., How I Met Your Mother’s bread and butter). After moving out of the apartment, Robin is living with her overzealous coworker Patrice. Ted is staying in the NYU dorms, with a college-aged trio of pretentious Ned, Goth _ and “sandwich”-loving _ (all of whom really don’t want to hear any more of Ted’s stories).

When Quinn reveals that she is subletting her apartment to movie in with Barney (which starts out as part of the prank, but by the end of the episode becomes for real), Ted and Robin begin fighting over who might move into her place. Ted lambasts Robin for not letting him have the apartment, after the emotional angst he has been through, but Robin counters with the fact that she has been going through a lot as well. Ted and Robin haven’t really been communicating since the (most recent) “I love you” incident, which has taken an emotional toll on her. After some hesitation, Ted vows to be more available to her. However, the episode closes with Future Ted revealing that after this pleasant, albeit awkward, conversation, Ted and Robin wouldn’t see one another for a long time.

This is probably the most interesting piece of the episode. As it seems that Barney and Quinn might be a lock, our interests turn to the other friends. Everyone wants to see Ted and Robin back to “normal,” so we’re affixed on whatever this new speed bump might be. What do you think we’ll be seeing between Ted and Robin in the weeks to come? And as for Barney and Quinn—will they be a permanent fixture? Let us know what you think in the comments section, or on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter.