MacLaren's: Barney's pleased that the gang now wants to know what the SCUBA Diver is. He notes that it was on the last page of the playbook, but he ripped it out, "Just in case." But they're going to see it in action, and the mark is the blonde at the bar (Claire!). "Tizz-arget Ac-quizz-ired." Lily tries to talk it down, but he says, "Give it a rest, pest. If anyone should be mad, it should be Robin." Um...yeah! "She loves the playbook." Um, no. Robin agrees with me. "I don't love the playbook." As Barney tries to coax her to his side, her expression grows softer and more vulnerable. Voice low, she says, "Look, Barney, we just broke up. I mean, yes, the costumes are cute, but we just broke up." Her eyes come over all misty, like eyes do, when they're fighting back tears. And for his part, Barney looks like you do when it feels like your stomach has dropped to your knees. He holds her gaze for a moment and then stammers that he didn't know Robin felt that way. When all she can do is shrug, he says, "I guess I've been so wrapped up in my own stuff..." he looks over to the bar. "Oh, crap! She's looking over here. Quick. Everyone, scatter." He dons his mask. Robin holds it together. The gang stomps off in disgust, and Lily says, "That's it." We've now come full circle to her first approaching Claire at the bar, and telling her that the biggest jerk in the world is one of her best friends. We flash forward to the present.
Lily tells Claire she's all caught up. All Claire can say is, "Wow," and that she still wants to know what the SCUBA Diver play is. When Marshall says they don't know and, "It's killing us, Claire. It's killing us," Claire says, "Let's go ask him." We cut to a shot of the nighttime NYC skyline (so beautiful) to give the gang and Claire time to join Barney at the semi-round. Lily asks what the SCUBA Diver is and introduces Claire -- in that order. Barney starts out with a bullshit explanation about being Lt. Frank Lyman who trains bomb-sniffing dolphins, but as he looks around the table, he takes of his mask and stammers that he can't do "this." He looks at Robin and quietly apologizes for everything. "I guess this breakup's been tougher on me than I thought. Maybe this playbook was just a way to take my mind off of things." Robin tells him it's okay. It's been tough on her as well, she's even sworn off relationships. Marshall leans in toward Ted and whispers: "She's so about to get married." Ted agrees, and the guys resume their teasing until Robin threatens to bang their heads together -- like coconuts. [Two Three Stooges references in one episode? Nice. - Z] Lily tells Barney that she's glad he's done with the games, because the real Barney is way more appealing. Barney's not convinced and calls Lily on what he's treating as her bluff. "Claire, you've probably heard a lot about the "real" Barney, tonight. Want to grab a cup of coffee?" Claire tilts her head and opens her mouth, but doesn't know what to say, so Lily tells her, "Underneath this neoprene suit, with what appears to be a tube sock stuffed in the crotch..." Barney correct: "Can of Pringles, but go on." Marshall cringes and Ted tries to get a better look, and Lily continues: "...is an amazing guy. He's fun; he's one of my best friends, and," nodding toward Robin she adds, "...he landed this hottie." Ouch, Lily. Did you not just hear what Robin said to Barney a few minutes ago? I can see you staying out of it. I can't see you helping Barney score. Robin nods, and I'd like to think it's in agreement with me, but no. "He's a good guy." Ted and Marshall join the chorus -- encouraging Claire to give Barney a chance. She finally agrees. I want to slap the writers, so I go get a glass of water, instead.