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Worldly Distractions: How I Met Your Mother 9.9 - Platonish





Platon is a fairly common boys' name in Russia, so I did a double take at this. I assume it's related to the state of being romantic friends, however, or its alternate name, "all the relationships I've been too wimpy to start".

Saturday, 11 AM (31 hours to go). Robin is heartbroken over her mother's absence, and is crying all over the place - which she desperately wants to stop, because it's her wedding weekend and there are a million people watching her. Barney and Ted try to cheer her up with little success. Lily tries scaring her, since it works on hiccups, but this just gives Robin the hiccups. Opening credits.

Robin asks to be left alone to cry and hiccup, but Barney feels he has accepted a challenge, and will not stop until it has been overcome. Okay, time and place, buddy, time and place. Lily calls him on a past challenge he never fulfilled. This prompts a Ted Mosby Flashback!

Ted and Robin are still doing their "major" joke, which has worn thin with Lily. Once Robin leaves the room, she kicks Ted in the shin and tells him to stop being cutesy-wootsy with her, or else they'll fall back into some sort of relationship and make things much worse. Lily tells him to stay platonic. Barney, arriving at the bar, scoffs at the idea of Ted and Robin ever being platonic (pre-engagement, remember). Of course, Barney's theory is that no two single people on earth are platonic, so take that with a grain of salt.

Barney proceeds to test this out by maintaining that it's only platonic if Ted and Robin have no chance of hooking up in the next twenty minutes. He uses Marshall and Robin as an example. Wait, I thought this was supposed to be about single people? That detail aside, Barney imagines a scenario where Lily will be blown up unless Marshall and Robin have sex. However, even with Lily's life at stake, they still can't do it. Lily's thrilled that he'll never cheat on her, even as she dies. Barney ends the scenario by rambling about how he was the only one to survive, since he was banging Ted's mom upstairs. No one pays attention, as usual.

Ted, for his part, is distracted by a series of phone calls from an unknown number. He goes off to investigate. Barney, meanwhile, has picked up a phone number for the umpteenth time, though Robin points out that it was no challenge since the woman was drunk and recently divorced. Lily and Robin taunt him for only accepting his own (absurdly easy) challenges, and propose one of their own: pick up a girl while talking like a dolphin. Fortunately, Barney appears to speak fluent Dolphin, so the game is on.

Marshall and Ted are at a basketball game, where Marshall agrees with Barney's scenario - he would let Lily blow up. Because then he and Lily could haunt the bar for eternity, and we all know ghost stories are like crack to Marshall Eriksen. Also, he totally doesn't buy Robin and Ted being platonic - especially since Robin told Marshall that she was still in love with Ted. Just kidding! Marshall only told him that to gauge Ted's feelings for Robin, which are there in full force.

Barney is having surprising success with his dolphin-speak pickup, and when he tells it to Robin and Lily later, they can scarcely believe it. The girl calls at that moment. Robin grabs Barney's phone and tells her that if she's picking up guys who talk like dolphins, she really needs a year of celibacy. The girl admits that Robin is right. With that done, Lily and Robin move on to the next challenge - Barney has to pick up a girl while wearing a garbage bag. For added fun, he can't use the letter "e". Challng Accptd.

Marshall is convinced Robin and Ted aren't finished, mostly because he made a bet with Lily about it a while back, but that's beside the point. Robin and Ted are not platonic, Marshall insists, and if he took the 20 minutes to run home and confess his love it would pay off. For both Ted and Marshall.

Barney is gung-ho about the garbage bag, but is having trouble with the letter "e". Incredibly, however, his stammering talk about "dial things" and "not ugly" entices a girl within minutes. Challng complt. Robin ups the stakes, posing as Ryan Gosling's personal assistant. She tells a girl to wait, because the Gos wants to hook up with her and will be coming by in a few minutes. The catch? Ryan is so shy, if he walks in and sees her talking to a guy, he'll just walk out without ever pursuing her. The girl is on board. Barney makes his move - but the girl pushes him away, fast. Sorry guys, just can't top the Gos.

More Robin-Ted drama at the basketball game. Ted envisions his mad 20-minute dash to declare his love, which is much quirkier than Marshall imagined. It also involves the blue French horn. Marshall compares him to Nicholas Sparks - until Ted reveals his imagined ending, in which Robin gently lets him down. Fortunately, the basketball game distracts Marshall and Ted from going further with this fantasy.

Marshall maintains, though, that Robin has changed her mind. His evidence is rather spurious, so Ted dismisses it. While people keep asking "Nicholas Sparks" about his work, Marshall continues to talk to him about Robin. If he's planned the reunion with the blue french horn, then clearly he must have thought of it, right?

Barney tries to talk the girl into speaking with him, "guessing" that she is waiting for Ryan Gosling. The girl nods and tries to tell him to leave. Cue Barney's dead-on Gosling impersonation. Gravelly voice, frequent use of "girl". Seems legit to me. The girl falls for it, which is kind of ridiculous considering that NPH looks nothing like Gosling. Robin can't believe it, anyway. Barney explains that he posed as a method actor who got plastic surgery. By now he's having fun with this, and he begs for another challenge. Lily asks him to pick up a girl - while buying some diapers and samosas, which she maintains is not an errand for her at all. Barney stumbles over his feet trying to get out.

Ted tells Marshall that over the course of his friendship/relationship with Robin, he has tested the unknown and has no desire to jump back in. Marshall tells some sports allegories to inspire Ted, about underdog teams, but Ted's not interested. Marshall stomps off to get some beers. Ted's phone rings. And it's BRYAN CRANSTON.

Well, it's actually Hammond Druthers, Ted's dictatorial former boss, but whatever, it's Bryan Cranston in a funny-looking vest.

While buying the diapers, Barney notices a girl he might have a chance with. She turns around - and guess what, it's The Mother. That's right, kids, this is How Barney Met Your Mother.

Barney pretends that he needs her help at his orphanage that he inexplicably runs. The Mother, to her credit, sees right through this and instantly shuts it down. She thinks Barney does this to counter his own sadness, and since she has a boyfriend, that's two reasons not to proceed. (The third is when Barney called her a target.) Instead, she clutches his shoulders and says, "It's going to be okay. You're a good guy. You'll get through this." Barney is struck to the core. Even if he covers nicely. He tries picking up other girls, but his game is off. He turns back to The Mother and demands to know what she meant.

Druthers is calling from Chicago, where he's opened a successful (if not exactly ethical) architectural firm. He offers Ted a job. Ted initially refuses, then negotiates, then refuses again, pissing Druthers off to no end. Druthers threatens him with constant tweeting and Facebook spam. It has little effect. Ted is in demand at the moment, and it's implied that Druthers may have exaggerated their professional connection to his partners. Ted's employment will be his way out of hot water. Finally, Ted agrees to think about it.

Barney asks the Mother what she could possibly mean by "sad". The Mother has got the vibe that Barney was in love once, but messed it up. Barney is stunned once again. Cue the obligatory narration of "That's how Barney met your mother."

Marshall and Ted return from the game, where Ted notices that Robin is eating olives. Her dislike of olives, way back in the first couple of seasons, was long treated as an indicator of their incompatibility, yet here she is eating them. "I guess I changed my mind," she says. Ted calls Chicago to turn Druthers down. Druthers insists that the offer is gone forever, but he's a tad non-committal on the issue.

Barney spills the story of Robin to the mother. The Mother speculates that maybe she hasn't met the right guy. Barney wonders if he could set her up with someone, but can't think of anyone. She urges him to pursue his hopes, with everything he's got. She leaves, and Barney goes home.

"We're not platonic," Ted says sadly over a beer. "Platonish, maybe." Marshall sympathizes.

Meanwhile, Barney arrives home, opens the Playbook, and starts working on The Robin.

Okay, in short? Ted-Robin plot - mostly dull rehashing. The Barney's challenges plot? Had its funny moments. However, the true gold was in how it all tied together. This episode had a great ending, at least - and it's nice to get these moments of backstory. It's also nice to get out of the freakin' hotel for once. Writers, make a note.

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