How I Met Your Mother: “The Bracket” Recap

Posted by MikeHIMYM_The Bracket

We’re a little late this week, so let’s get on with the recap.

Ted and Marshall have stolen a large chalkboard from Lily’s classroom to aid them in their quest to win their NCAA Tournament pool. Why? Because “big board equals big luck.” Unfortunately, in their case, the big luck is bad luck, because — despite their plan to turn March Madness into “March Meticulously-thought-out-ness” — they’re out of the money almost instantly.

The board, however, will not go to waste, as Barney has an even greater purpose in mind. He’s been getting slapped more frequently than usual and Lily soon finds out why, when she’s warned about him by one of his past flames who has been sabotaging him. Barney tries to get an accurate description of the woman from Lily, and the following exchange takes place:

Barney: “What was her name? What did she look like?”

Lily: “She didn’t say her name, but she had blond hair, boobs … kind of trashy.”

Barney: “Dead in the eyes with an aura of self-loathing and despair?”

Lily: “Yes!”

Barney: “That’s all of them.”

Obviously needing to take a different approach, Barney intends to use the board to build a bracket of the top 64 women he’s slept with, split into four regions, to determine who has the most reason to hate him. The winner must be the one who’s stealing his mojo.

Ted, Marshall, Lily and Robin help narrow the field to the Final Four — after being bribed with beer — but are only able to determine that Barney is a despicable human being who, among other things, has pretended to be an evil twin, a scuba instructor, the owner of Google and Yankees catcher Jorge Posada. He’s also kept a rather graphic scrapbook of his sexual conquests. Lily agrees to accompany Barney on his quest to track down the Final Four, but only if he agrees to apologize to each one before she’ll confirm one as the saboteur. Each of the four women responds in a different way to seeing Barney again but none is the woman who approached Lily — and not one gets an apology from Barney. One does get a free plug for her website, though. (Guess it was a good idea for Barney to use a fake name with her.)

After finding as much success with his bracket as people who put Duke vs. Georgetown in the championship game of theirs this year, Barney sets out to trap his nemesis, using Robin as a decoy. But when a beautiful blonde approaches Robin at McLaren’s, Barney doesn’t recognize her. And for that, he apologizes. Of course, there’s a reason he didn’t — the woman was merely a friend of Robin’s who had stopped over to chat. But the moment provided Lily the perfect photo op for her own scrapbook, which she captions “Barney’s Redemption.” We don’t find out who the real saboteur is, but we’re led to believe we might a little later on. Might she be the owner of a certain yellow umbrella?

Other Highlights: Lily’s spastic dancing and Marshall’s frantic inability to figure out what to do with his hands during the big undercover sting; the end-of-episode slap montage (if there’s one thing this show does well, it’s slaps); and, of course, the Doogie Howser tribute (!) after the last commercial break.

Special mention goes to the insertion of Madeleine Albright into the rapid-fire images of women who go through Barney’s mind as he tries to figure out which of his conquests would turn against him. He and the former Secretary of State have an implied history, if you recall. (If you pause your DVR at just the right moment, you’ll see her.)

Best Barneyism: This whole episode was kind of a Barneyism.

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS. ©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.