After a few slow weeks, tonight’s How I Met Your Mother worked on almost every level and set up stories for weeks, maybe even seasons, to come. Barney and Robin’s museum escapade was the best use of the pair together since their ill-advised breakup. Plus, it set the stage for Barney’s quest to meet (or I guess it’s actually reunite with) his real father. Over in Marshall and Lily-ville, the revelation that Marshall is content working for GNB causes Lily to long for the idealistic crusader she fell in love with in college. When that Marshall shows up, he’s just another extinct species. Maybe it’s just me, but that visual perfectly conveyed how much we leave behind when we grow up. That being said, Lily is smart enough to realize that all that was loving and giving in her husband still exists. But lest we think “Corporate Marshall” is endgame, we see another museum exhibit where that Marshall is extinct (does “Stay-at-home dad Marshall” come next?).
The only part of the episode that fell flat? The Ted/Zoey plot. Jennifer Morrison is not at all likable as the “activist”/trophy wife (although Kyle MacLachlan did a nice job as her yachtsman husband). All season she’s come off as a bully, and not once have I been behind her efforts to save the Arcadian. Just when I thought I might be able to understand what makes the girl tick (she married too young and is trying to fill the void left by her distracted husband), she whips out that recorder. And I hated her all over again. She’s not “The Mother,” and since we saw growth on the Barney/Robin front and the “Who’s Barney’s dad?” front, Ted needs to get on with it already.