I don’t have a lot to say about last night’s episode, but I am trying to be more reliable in my posting here.
Mystery vs. History was a fairly perfunctory episode, which is certainly excusable in a long-running series like this. I feel like episodes like this are really only disappointing in the moment, due to anticipation. Years from now if this half-hour ran in syndication you’d probably laugh a bit and enjoy yourself, but when it’s the new episode you’re awaiting, it leaves you slightly unsatisfied.
The biggest problem with Mystery vs. History was that a lot of it didn’t really sync up with the well-established traits and behaviors of the characters. Why would Barney, who wants Ted to be single, try to help him out on dates? The same question could be asked of Robin, who’s really much more of a laid-back, live-and-let-live person. If anyone would have been too curious about Ted’s dates, it would more naturally have been Lily. Obviously shows have to get characters out of their normal behaviors every once and a while, but you would hope that it would be in service of a better gag than this.
Similarly, Ted’s date with Janet didn’t make much logical sense. Ted has never been short on words, in fact just the opposite. He’s far more likely to drone on about his dorkier interests than he is to sit and stare in near-silence.
The better plotline by far was Kal Penn giving in to his urge to psychoanalyze the group’s behavior. It was funny, felt true to the characters, while also revealing a lot more about the group dynamic by using an outsider’s perspective. I still think it’s too weird to have Robin date a former therapist, but I can accept it if it leads to more scenes where he’s interacting with the group as a whole. The idea of a therapist hanging around Barney is especially rife with comedic possibilities.
Oh, and we found out in the gender of Marshall and Lily’s baby in a sitcom plot with so many precursors its actually hard to think of a specific example because they’ve all blended into one. The ending reveal was played nicely, but otherwise, not a plot development that held great interest.