How I Met Your Mother is back this week with the fourth episode of its final season, and there are already a ton of questions to be answered. Will Marshall make it in time? Can Ted avoid doing something to ruin the wedding? Is Barney mad about what he saw at the carousel? And most of all, where is the Mother?
This episode tackles that third question right off the bat, picking up at the cliffhanger ending of last episode where Barney told Ted he saw him and Robin by the carousel. Once Ted says that it meant nothing and he was just there helping her as a friend, Barney acts as if he’s cool with it. In reality, he uses every opportunity he can to take his frustration out on Ted by sending Ted on terrible errands. This leads to a confrontation between the two with Marshall ultimately serving as the judge via webcam. While all this is going on, Robin realizes she doesn’t have any female friends other than Lily, so Lily tries to help her meet someone new. That plot takes a significant backseat to the Ted and Barney plot though.
Honestly, I would’ve been happier if they had left it with Barney having no problem with Ted holding Robin’s hand. That would’ve left the door open for the feelings to bubble under Ted’s surface, leading to much more guilt throughout the season. Now it seems like there isn’t anywhere for this supposed love triangle to go. Ted honestly confiding his true feelings with Barney likely won’t be the end of the Ted and Robin dilemma (especially since that locket is still floating around somewhere), but I think that conflict will be weakened by tackling it this early in the season.
It also seemed a bit out of character for Barney to act so cruelly toward Ted. Yes, he had a right to be upset about what he saw, but he’s blatantly taking advantage of Ted’s kindness, which doesn’t seem like the sort of thing the new, more mature Barney would do. From the first instance of him asking Ted to do a difficult and unnecessary favor, it sounded like he was up to something, as he doesn’t even try to hide his malicious intentions. It’s a sharp deviation from the other, surprisingly mature things we’ve seen from him lately, and I don’t think I like the regression.