In 2009, Ted goes on a blind date with Jen... a woman he also went on a blind date with in 2002. Meanwhile, in front of Robin, Lily, and Marshall, Barney pretends that he has four tickets to an "Origins of Chewbacca" Star Wars exhibit. Marshall is the only one of the three who is psyched, so he and Barney go it alone. During their cab ride, Barney reveals that he just wanted to get rid of the girls, so they could go to a strip club. Once there, Barney tries to tempt Marshall to the dark side. Marshall is steadfast, though. He doesn't even fantasize about other women unless he first fantasizes about Lily dying and giving him her blessing to Tomcat around. Barney is disgusted that Marshall is even mentally faithful, so he promises to be the "wingman of [his] mind." As Jasmine, the next dancer is introduced, Barney tells Marshall to put Lily completely out of his head. The only problem is -- Jasmine looks exactly like Lily, except with big hair and better um... foundational garments.
Meanwhile, Ted and Jen are on their second version of their first date at Ted's favorite first date restaurant. When Ted makes a bad "selfish"/"shellfish" pun while ordering appetizers, they both realize the reason for their déjà vu. They did this exact same date -- seven years prior. Jen remembers that 2002 Ted was a little snobby. Ted remembers that 2002 Jen dressed her cats up in costumes. They decide to figure out why they didn't hit it off with one another. From Ted's pointing out spelling errors on the menu, to Jen's refusal to pretend to fight over the check, we see how they disappointed each other over and over.
Back at MacLaren's Barney and Marshall tell Robin and Lily how they saw another doppelganger of someone in their group (the first two being Lesbian Robin and Mustache Marshall). After that, they brag about seeing stripper Lily. The surprise is that Lily's basically okay with it, while Robin is not. Ted and Jen show up. Ted expects the gang to talk him up to an embarrassing extent, so of course they do the opposite.
Ted and Jen end their date on Ted's rooftop. But when Jen remembers that Ted never called her, seven years ago (despite promises to the contrary), she decides he's not "the one," and she ends things. Ted's right there with her. He wants to hold out for the person who not only tolerates his quirks but actually likes them. Good luck with that, man.
Lily and Robin accompany Ted and Marshall back to the strip club, and while Lily is game for whatever happens, Barney's trying to pretend for Robin's sake that he's not a regular, but the staff all recognizes him and ruins his cover. We conclude with Marshall and Lily getting a private dance from Jasmine, while Barney rationalizes for very his (love)life.
This was an amusing episode, but in no way did it measure up to the premiere. The "could she be the mother" gag has lived way too long past its expiration date, so Ted's plot was boring. What's more, I don't like seeing Robin's personality changed, just to suit the story. I'm going to watch it again and think on it, but my first impression is -- HIMYM, you can and usually do tell a much better story. I'll catch you on the flipside with the full weecap.
Saget!Ted sets the scene, telling us that this is the story of two blind dates, "One in 2009, one seven years earlier." We flash between shots of goateed 2002 Ted and clean-shaven 2009 Ted running through his dating routine, which Saget admits hadn't changed much over the years. Both versions of him knock on the same door, and meet the same woman -- Jen. Yep, Ted has lapped his own self on the dating scene. In 2009, neither one remembers the other, so they set off happily on their (second) first date. I wonder who set them up.
MacLaren's: Barney tells Marshall, Lily and Robin that he just got four tickets to the "Origins of Chewbacca" Star Wars exhibit. Marshall is over the moon. The girls are over Chewbacca. Robin says, "Isn't it a little early in our relationship to be doing something that would end our relationship?" We cut to...
A Ranjit-less cab: Marshall's hoping there'll be a Wookiee-to-English dictionary at the convention and just generally being adorable, so after flashbacks of Barney "kidnapping" a Wookiee-costumed Ted to take him to view a lethal injection (front row seats!), Barney breaks the news to Marshall that they're going to a...
Strip Club: Barney says that Lily has taken all the man out of Marshall, and he's going to show him how it's possible to be in a relationship while having fully functioning male genetalia. On network TV -- in primetime? I'll believe it when I see, Barn. Barney's convinced Robin would be perfectly fine with the evening's activities, and we cut to...
Restaurant; 2009: Ted asks Jen what she does for a living. She's between jobs. "Banking crisis." He should lean on Barney to get Jen a job at GNB. In the flashback to 2002, Jen is between jobs, thanks to the internet bubble burst. I wonder if she can recap, because already, I'm not feeling this episode. 2002 Ted douches about how he's an architect. 2009 Ted is much less flowery in his admission that he teaches architecture.
Strip Club: Marshall admits to Barney that even when he starts to have a sexy thought about another woman, he feels too guilty -- it's too much like cheating on Lily. All the woman say, "Awwww." All the men say, "Bullshit." We flashback to last week. Feeling guilty about his fleeting attraction to a pretty delivery woman, Marshall fantasizes about Lily contracting, "A rare and fatal hiccup disorder that's apparently medically legitimate." Fantasy Marshall weeps at the news and stays right by her bedside. After six months, Fantasy Marshall tries to cure her disorder by popping a paper bag and startling her -- to no avail. Fantasy Lily tells him "It's time, baby." When Fantasy Marshall weeps that he'll never love again, Fantasy Lily tells him that he must -- and that after an appropriate number of years he should find someone else. "Someone like that busty delivery girl from that one time -- and plow her like a cornfield." She hiccups thrice, and then no more. Alas, poor Lily. Coincidentally, Fantasy Minister at Fantasy Lily's funeral tells Fantasy Marshall the very same thing Fantasy Lily said on her deathbed (no, really, right down to the cornfield). A title card informs is that it's an appropriate number of years later: Marshall is constructing miniature furniture (like for dollhouses) when the very same busty delivery girl arrives at the door. Fantasy Marshall looks heavenward and says, "This one's for you, Lil," before tearing open his shirt and nibbling her neck. Back in the strip club, real Marshall ends his reverie with a, "And then, watch out, because It Is ON!" He holds up his hand waiting for a high five from Barney, who tells him, "That is the saddest thing I've ever heard." And Marshall, when Barney can't high-five your sexual fantasies, they are sad. Eventually, Barney tells Marshall he will be the "wingman of [his] mind," and that he needs to put Lily completely out of said mind, and just focus on the next stripper.