Barney becomes enamored with a new conquest (Jennifer Lopez) who knows how to keep him on the hook, but the rest of the gang starts to notice that Robin's not all that thrilled about Barney's romantic escapades. Is it possible that she's still harboring some baggage from their breakup?
Future Ted tells us that on a warm March evening in 2010 (I love that he pronounces it "twenty ten" and not "two thousand and ten"...thanks, Future Ted!), a police boat pulled a man out of the Hudson River. That man...was Barney Stinson. Barney tells the officer on duty his story.
It all started a week earlier when a foxy woman (J.Lo) comes into MacLaren's and admires his tie. He takes her back to his place, where she talks a good game and gets him all riled up...and then leaves. Barney asks her to stay, but she only has one word for him: "No."
Later, Marshall, Lily, Robin and Don (ugh) are at MacLaren's celebrating Robin and Don's success as a news team. After Don leaves, Marshall declares that Don is "awesome" and that Robin needs to snag him before someone else does. Lily agrees, pointing out that it's been four months since Robin broke up with Barney. Marshall points out that Barney is dating again, "and he couldn't be happier."
But of course, Barney's royally irritated that he couldn't close the deal with the woman from the bar. Ted says it sounds like the woman had read a book called Of Course You're Still Single: Take a Look at Yourself, You Dumb Slut. (It's a book geared toward helping single women find love.) Ted asks Barney if the woman used of the tips from the book — subtly slipping the word "sex" into conversation; finding excuses to touch Barney, etc. Barney affirms that yes, she did.
Ted tells Barney that the final test involves asking her out the next night. According to the book, she should give some lame excuse and suggest a later date. And of course, she does. When Barney calls her out on it, she says that it's a brilliant book, designed to weed out loser guys who are only interested in sex. Then she lays the bad news on Barney...she's supposed to hold out on sex until the 17th date. Ouch. Barney sits on a chair simply so he can fall off of it.
Lily suggests giving it up since Barney's obviously not interested in pursuing a relationship with this woman. But Barney smells a challenge, and he plans to peruse Ted's book until he finds a loophole. But when he flips to the last page, he's in for a shock — the woman actually wrote the book. "Oh. Her name must be Anita," says Barney. Now he's even more resolved to close the deal with her.
Just then, the phone rings. It's Don (ugh), asking Robin out a date. Robin starts to politely decline, but Marshall jumps on the extension and impersonates Robin long enough to accept the date.
Later, Lily, Marshall and Robin hang out at MacLaren's. Lily muses that Anita is pretty much the anti-Barney and wonders how those two ever found each other. That's when Robin spills the beans...Anita is dating Barney because Robin asked her to. Anita had been a guest on Robin's show.
Flashback to the guest spot. "But, um..." (But um!) "...if you had to summarize your book in 30 words or less?" Robin asks. Anita summarizes it in one word: "No." By saying "no" consistently, Anita argues, women empower themselves while making men just desire them more. As proof, Mike the camera guy asks the ladies if they want coffee. Robin says sure, but Anita says "no." Mike brings back several different kinds of coffee — including Turkish coffee — for Anita, but nothing for Robin. (Guess that means he's finally off Robin's hook?) Anita asks Robin about her dating story, and Robin tells her all about Barney. Anita offers to destroy him using the power of "no." Initially, Robin wasn't going to take her up on her offer, but after one too many conquest stories from Barney, she called Anita and gave her permission to go after Barney.
Back in the present, Robin justifies her decision by saying that she was in a mourning period. This confuses Marshall, who later asks Lily if Robin had really been upset. When Lily confirms this, Marshall remembers what a jerk he'd been by saying earlier that Barney couldn't be happier (and launching into a "Bang Bang" song that is still stuck in my head hours later).
Later, at MacLaren's, Barney gives up on Anita's book. There's just no loophole. Ted says that there's one more option — the Super Date. Barney asks if it'd be all gooey and romantic. And in a moment of sheer awesomeness, Ted outlines the night...in song. The Super Date involves a horse-drawn carriage ride with champagne, a fancy dinner, ice skating, a night at the opera, and fireworks over the Manhattan skyline. (Also? Josh Radnor has a really nice voice.) "That sounds gooey and romantic," Barney says.
So the night of the Super Date arrives and apparently it's also the same night as Robin's date with Don. She goes to MacLaren's alone and greets Marshall, who asks her if she's ready for her date with "D-Bag." ("That's a terrible nickname," Marshall admits. "I'll think of a better one.") Robin says that she canceled her date and then heads to the bathroom. Ted and Lily enter and ask where Robin's going. Marshall tells them that Robin canceled her date. "What?" Ted asks, incredulous. "She was totally psyched for it earlier."
Flashback to earlier that evening. Robin is all decked out for her date and excited for her night out...until Ted mentions Barney's Super Date. Back in the present moment, Marshall chastises Ted for being a jerk. Ted feels terrible. The three of them check on Robin in the bathroom, where they find her crying.
So the three of them head to Barney's house, where Marshall punches the helmet off Barney's Storm Trooper. They yell at Barney for being a jerk while Robin's been going through her mourning period. Lily explains how Robin has been repeatedly hurt since the breakup. Barney looks stunned...and then vomits into his Storm Trooper helmet.
"I can't believe Robin's been so upset," Barney says. "I can't believe you threw up into your Storm Trooper helmet," interjects Marshall. "Eh, I did something worse in it after the Phantom Menace premiere," says Barney. (Heh.) He heads to the shooting range — the only place Robin goes to sulk — to talk to her. She finally admits that she feels like just another number to him (at this point, Barney insists that she's not just another number, but it doesn't seem like she hears him). Plus, she's upset that Anita is getting the lavish Super Date when she never got that kind of treatment when she was with Barney. Barney sincerely apologizes for being a crappy ex-boyfriend and asks if he can make it up to her. Robin tells him not to sleep with Anita. "Done," Barney says." Robin scoffs that he'll still sleep with her; that's the whole point of the Super Date. Barney says that Anita isn't going on the Super Date — Robin is. And my heart skips a beat...until it turns out that she's going with Don. (UGH!)
Meanwhile, Anita comes to MacLaren's because Barney stood her up. She asks if they're still going out. Barney says no...he made a promise to a friend. Anita gets increasingly desperate, offering sex earlier and earlier in the relationship, but Barney holds steadfast. Anita gives Barney one final offer and whispers it in his ear. It must have been one heck of an offer, because he runs out of the bar and jumps into the Hudson River.
"And that's my story," Barney says. The officer gives him a ticket and says, "I hope it was worth it." Barney glances up at the fireworks taking place over the Manhattan skyline and says to himself, "I hope so, too." Under the same fireworks, Robin and Don (ugh) share a kiss.
So what did you guys think of this episode? I can't figure out if this was supposed to be just long-overdue closure for Barney/Robin, or just the tiniest sound of the door to that plot line opening again. I guess we'll find out in the coming weeks. What did you think of J.Lo's guest appearance? And who else enjoyed NPH's appearance at the Oscars on Sunday night? Discuss!