How I Met Your Mother loves to play with its method of storytelling, and for longtime fans of the series, these truth- and time-bending romps are often a big treat. And that’s exactly how I felt watching last night’s episode, which found Ted and Robin telling two very different tales of their last encounter with the Captain (Kyle MacLachlan). Spoiler alert: They were both wrong. But we’ll get there. First, I have to explain why the Captain came up at all…
At the beginning of the episode, Ted came home to find a message from The Captain on his answering machine. (Guys, TED STILL HAS AN ANSWERING MACHINE! Point and laugh. Point and laugh!) While pondering why the Captain would be reaching out to him after not seeing him for more than a year, Ted launched into a tale about the last time he encountered the Captain at an art gallery event with Lily and Robin.
This is where the fun began.
Ted told Barney and Marshall that the trio had been invited up to the Captain’s apartment to view a painting he’d purchased, and while there, the Captain, still harboring ill will toward Ted, had pulled a harpoon gun on him! Ted was able to talk him down, but realized it was only a matter of time until more chaos. Why? Because Ted realized that the woman with whom the Captain had been keeping company was none other than “Boats, Boats, Boats!” Becky, the girl Ted had been dating at the time.
As the phone rang again in present day, Ted reluctantly answered and was relieved to find that the Captain only wanted Robin’s phone number, which Ted gave him, much to Robin’s chagrin.
Peeved as Robin was, though, she was not surprised the Captain was wooing her. After all, she told the boys, he had hit on her the last time they saw each other a year and a half ago at the art show. Calling B.S. on Ted’s story, which she dismissed as the ramblings on a man who’d consumed a very large “sandwich” that night, Robin began to tell her own version of the tale…
That night, Robin explained, The Captain had invited them up to his apartment with the intention of seducing her. But when “nothing happened” (=hands stuff?) she told him to get back in touch with her a year and a half later — if he was still interested and no longer on the rebound from Zoey (Jennifer Morrison).
Marshall convinced Robin to call The Captain and let him down gently, but it turns out that Robin was the one who was a little let down. The Captain hadn’t wanted to talk to her at all ; he wanted to speak with Lily! (He’d accidentally mixed up their names. Ouch.)
So what did the Captain want with Lily? Well, it wasn’t sex for the low, low price of $4 million. (The price Marshall claims he and Lily had once agreed on. Ha!) He actually wanted to offer her a job as his new art consultant!
Lily explained that both Robin and Ted’s stories had been booze and drug-induced fabrications, and the true story went like this: The Captain had only invited them up to show Lily a “masterpiece” he had hanging above his bed. And when she recommended buying a piece from the art show downstairs, he sniped, “It doesn’t matter what you like, you’re just a kindergarten teacher.” (In present day, he revealed that he later went and picked up the piece, which eventually became a $4 million piece of art.) At the time, angered by his dismissal, Lily ended up stealing an expensive crystal ashtray that had several brushes with death that night, thanks to Robin and Ted.
So the only reason she’d agreed to meet him all this time later was so she could return the piece she’s stolen. And it’s a good thing she did. Essentially, her honesty ultimately led to their discussion and the job offer. So what does that teach us, kids? Always steal from people who are mean to you. Kidding.
You might be asking where Barney was in all of this and my answer to that is: everywhere! He kept inserting himself into the story because he was eager to be part of the adventure even though he wasn’t actually there
….or was he?! At the end of the episode, the gang, after resisting the entire episode, allowed Barney to claim he’d picked up a girl by dressing up as the Royal Archduke of Grand Fenwick. But after the Captain claimed his former art consultant had hooked up with some Archduke at the party, we’re all left to wonder… (Edit: Commenter Kevin points out that since Lily was technically the storyteller at this point, it is most likely that she altered the truth to include Barney’s addition. I’m inclined to agree. But now I’m sad. DAMMIT, KEVIN.)
I feel like I missed a million things, guys, but help me out here: What was your favorite part of the episode? Marshall’s homage to Titanic? (Though, I think the line is “Iceberg, right ahead!” not “straight ahead,” according to someone who has seen Titanic 15+. NotmeIswear.) Barney’s Archduke? Lily’s new job? The general fun? (General fun.) Sound off below!
EARLIER: Ahoy, mateys! Looking for a rundown on tonight’s How I Met Your Mother, featuring the return of the Captain (Kyle MacLachlan)? You’re in luck! I made a speedy quick video recap to hold you over while I work on your full recap. You can watch that below.