Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 8, Episode 19 of CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," titled "The Fortress."
In keeping with the tradition of lackluster episodes, it seems as if the two-week hiatus did not help "HIMYM" regain its comedic solid ground, nor its emotional one.
On the bright side, we're only weeks away from Barney and Robin's wedding, i.e. when Ted meets the mother, so at least we have something to look forward to.
This week, Robin is adamant about getting rid of Barney's germy skank pad, something he is quite reluctant to do. For one, he's installed his bed on what appears to be train tracks, so that when a one night stand plans to actually spend the night, he can slide her out of there. Where to isn't clear exactly, and kind of creepy when you think about it, but Barney is a pretty shady guy underneath his ample charm. Robin's love seems to penetrate through though, and he kind of agrees to move.
At Marshall and Lily's, the former uses Ted as a replacement for his now often absent wife. Ever since Lily started working as The Captain's art consultant, he calls her at odd hours to whisk her away on some artsy adventure, expecting her to drop everything and court whichever up-and-coming artist he has his heart set on. Ted tries to cheer Marshall up by offering to watch "Woodworthy Manor" (faux "Downton Abbey"), but Marshall doesn't want to betray Lily, as this is their show. That is, until Lily bails on their night at the ballet (ha, hardly ... they really meant to sneak into Ted's place and bang). At this point, Ted manages to convince forlorn Marshall to let loose and watch "Manor."
Back at Chez Barney's, Robin asks him if he had contacted a realtor yet. Barney tells her a prolonged story that has him masquerading as Jor-El's floating head in an attempt to pass the apartment on to "his son," Ted, who wants nothing to do with it ("Barney, I wouldn't live here even if you scrubbed every inch of this place with Purell, amoxicillin and holy water.") Robin is less than pleased to hear Barney is giving up and proceeds to rant about relationships and trust, which gets her sent to the land of forgotten hoes behind the wall. A few days later, she gets her revenge by getting proactive and holding an open house to get rid of Barney's "disease-riddled bang pad."
Marshall and Ted (or Emsbry, rather, as he'd like to be called in his "cricket playing Brit who hates his life" persona), along with baby Marvin, play a cute gay couple both to lure prospective buyers and to get back at a pretentious Lily, whose cape got stuck on the subway and caused her to be late. And also Marshall feels she's never there for him.
Meanwhile, Barney does a great job at scaring all potential buyers away with his awesomely genius inventions: the "Heavy, Sext, Go" -- by Stinson, patent pending -- which measures a lady's weight and BMI before she enters the apartment (god forbid he'd bang a chubby chick); "A Room with a Screw," a green screen that projects scenery out the window to fool foolish hookups (it comes in Paris, Venice, Niagara Falls, African safari, and end of the world); "The Escape from Bitch Mountain," a chute that shoots him out to the back alley in case of a lingering girl the morning after; and last but not least, the fire sprinkler that goes off whenever a woman says "I'm ready for a deeper commitment," "I'm too tired," "let's snuggle," or "I'm a week late."
As the buyers flee, Ted chats it up with one girl who flirts with him as if he weren't gay (though she's the only one who thinks he is, sooo ... weird). Just as one couple decides to settle on the apartment, Ted and nameless chick get it on in Jor-El's projection booth. Turns out he is Barney's "son" - pretending to turn straight for a girl? Such a classic playbook move.
At the bar, Barney tells Robin he's thought about it and he's willing to give up his fortress of solitude because he never wants to be alone again. She in turn tells him she didn't sell that couple the apartment because they were planning on demolishing it and she couldn't bear to part with her fiancé's brilliant work, creepy as some of it might be. True love sure presents itself in unexpected ways.
"How I Met Your Mother" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.