The School Gym; The Big Game: By now, future Ted has future Marshall inserting a Teen Wolf character into his memories of the formidable opposing team. The score, if anyone was keeping track (MARSHALL!), would be about 53 to nothing. Them. One of the little guys asks Marshall what they're doing wrong. Marshall finally responds, "You know what? You're not doing anything wrong. It's great that you guys are losing..." Lily gives him the old hairy eyeball, but Marshall's on a roll. "...because in life, it doesn't matter how much effort you put in, or how hard you try. People will just give you things like diplomas and jobs and promotions. So, it doesn't matter what you do out there, as long as... as long as you have fun." In order to avoid arguing in front of the children, Lily and Marshall then have a telepathic exchange, in which he tells her he can't take it anymore, and asks for permission to do it his way. Lily says that's fine, but she's doing it her way too, and she's bringing out the guitar. And of course Saget!Ted frames his narration as if we're going to learn that makes all the difference, but it doesn't. The team ends up losing something like 118 to nothing. There should be a slaughter rule. There would be, if they actually kept score. But then the show tries to tell us Lily was right. I'm fine with Marshall being grateful to receive a participation trophy, and even with him saying, "Maybe your way isn't totally stupid," but when Lily replies, "Thanks, your way is totally stupid," they lose me. Don't get me wrong, Marshall was way out of line throughout, but Lily was ridiculous throughout. I would have at least liked Lily to nod at Marshall's point that when this philosophy is taken too far, it can teach kids an unearned sense of entitlement. Let's go to commercial so I don't break into a rant, because this was an enjoyable episode, and maybe the writers were just trying to avoid belaboring the point at the expense of a laugh.
Club Laser Tag: Ted, Robin and a still-broken Barney are just about done TPing the club when McCracken walks in and bellows, "Stinson!" He softens his tone as he approaches Barney. "Son, you have been a pain in my ass ever since you joined this club." He looks around at the new decorations to his place. "...But damn it, if this ain't some of the finest TP work I've ever seen." Barney looks up with hope shining so brightly from his eyes that it bounces off his eyebrow piercing and nearly blinds me. McCracken continues: "You're reinstated, effective immediately." Barney straightens up as best he can and wonders if it's really true. McCracken closes in as if he's about to embrace him, then gets right in his face. "Hell, NO! I'm calling the police." He steps back, shaking his head. "Grown-ass man with pink hair throwing toilet paper. You've got to be kidding me. I'm too old for this sh--" Saget!Ted says, "Stuff. He said stuff." And we fade to black.