"Bass Player Wanted" opened what I'm hoping will be a door to a different kind of final season, focused on the mother, the gang and the big stuff. It was the last episode of 2013, the midseason finale, and it was lovely.
The whole gang is finally sort of united by Lily's Marsh-pillow creation -- a Franken-pillow topped with Marshall's telecommunicating face. But then, all of a sudden, Ted becomes the best man to end all best men.
When you've been a player for as long as Barney has, it's not easy to let go. Which would account for Barney's playbook dreams, particularly the "Weekend at Barney's" one that (obviously) riffs off of "Weekend at Bernie's."
The Captain is back, and leaves a message on Ted's archaic answering machine to call him back at his earliest convenience. Ted, freaked out, recounts the story of the last time he saw The Captain, a year and a half earlier.
The creators seriously don't want us to know how Ted meets the mother. We came so close in the last episode, yet this episode was all about Ted's regression/awkward way of dealing with the pending nuptials of his beloved Robin and his best bro Barney.