Ever since Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) proposed to Robin (Cobie Smulders), “How I Met Your Mother” has been on an enjoyable upswing. Granted, only two new episodes have aired since then, but both episodes were stellar and reminded us of the reasons we fell in love with the show in the first place.
In last night’s, “Ring Up,” Robin had just gotten her engagement ring back from having it resized. After proudly showing it off to Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segal), Robin went about her daily life and was surprised to learn that men weren’t as quick to do things for her now that she had a ring on her finger. Lily and Marshall explained that the ring was basically an invisibility cloak and all of her freebies (bagels, coffee, beer and even rent) were going to disappear as long as she was wearing it.
Despite his words to the contrary, Barney was having his own issues and became obsessed with the idea of Ted (Josh Radnor) hooking up with a random 20-year-old college student (guest star Ashley Benson) that he’d met. Ted was wary of the idea, especially since the girl considered him a grandpa (she thought he fought in Vietnam and Ted let her believe it), but Barney begged and pleaded with his friend to let him live vicariously through the hookup. Ted insisted he needed to have at least one meaningful connection with a woman before he could sleep with her.
After running through a long list of possibilities, the girl admitted that she loved “Star Wars,” but she’d only seen the new ones. Ted decided that was close enough and kissed her. The next night at the bar, Barney was eager to hear every last nasty detail of their night together and Ted was more than happy to oblige. He showed Barney a picture on his phone and Barney slowly scrolled up, making inappropriate comments for each of her body parts until he got to her face and realized that she wasn’t just any girl. She was his half-sister Carly.
Barney was horrified and disgusted and Ted continued to add details until Barney declared their friendship over. Ted pointed out that it was karma after the way that Barney had treated women over the years. But for the viewers, it was also a nod to one of the most popular ‘Who’s the Mother?’ theories on the internet. A few seasons ago when it was revealed that Barney had a half-sister in college, the theory emerged that Ted would fall in love with and marry Barney’s sister after meeting her at Barney and Robin’s wedding.
Obviously that theory is blown, but not before Barney attempted to put on a mock wedding between the two (similar to the wedding Joey tried to pull off for his sister on “Friends” when she got pregnant). Of course we don’t know for sure that the writers put Ted and Carly together on purpose because of the theory, but in our minds, they did and we have to give them a round of applause for a clever twist.
As for Robin, by the end of the episode, she realized that it didn’t matter if strangers were interested in giving her free things because she had a man who loved her and would do anything for her and that was the true power of the ring.
“How I Met Your Mother” airs Mondays at 7 p.m. CST on CBS.