Tonight’s HIMYM episode, “The Mermaid Theory,” involved some fishy narration on Ted’s part…but that can be the best kind of narration! One of the great things about having future Ted’s perspective is that we sometimes get glimpses into key events in the future to wet (pun intended) our appetites and we sometimes get faulty story narration from our older narrator. Honestly, it is ridiculous that Ted “remembers” six seasons worth of detailed stories anyways (when I can’t even remember what I was for Halloween last year). So, it only makes sense that every once in a while we get an episode that focuses on his unreliable narration as a plot point (remember when he thought the great goat fight was his 30th birthday, and then at the end of the episode he realized it was the following year instead)?
I loved the connecting maritime theme of this episode and the different character pairings—we don’t often get to see scenes with just Lily and Barney or just Robin and Marshall (last significant time for the latter was probably Little Minnesota, which is a classic and the first time we were introduced to Hoser Hut). It began with Ted agreeing to hang out with Zoey alone—which drew some warnings from Lily and the gang about a married person spending alone time with a single person of the opposite sex. According to Lily, there are three rules: no candlelight, no food sharing, and no lying to the spouse about anything you do. According to Barney, the rule is no using the husband’s condoms, because that is just rude!
To counter this, Ted agrees to spend time with Zoey and the Captain on his boat, but unfortunately Zoey bails out at the last minute, leaving Ted alone with the creepy Captain on international waters. Kudos to Kyle MacLachlan as The Captain—he really does have that blend of sinister humor, so that you are never quite sure if he is joking, being creepy, or seriously out to murder. Ted thinks it is the later—especially noticing how his face can change in the shadows per Marshall’s presentation (side note: I would like to coin the term “mullet face”…it is long/cross on top and short/fun on the bottom). Ted is about to jump ship (technically he falls out) when The Captain finally opens up and admits that he is not always the best about socializing with Zoey’s younger friends. Ted realizes The Captain is truly making an effort, and the two agree to befriend each other—well, as long as Ted doesn’t think he will get killed at his hunting lodge.
Ted’s high-seas adventure and his dilemma over befriending a married woman spark the rest of the gang to consider Barney’s mermaid theory. Basically, Barney posits that no matter what, as a man develops a platonic relationship with a woman (even one he has absolutely no interest in) it is only a matter of time before the clock starts ticking and the man wants the woman. According to Barney, this dates back to sailors being stranded out at sea—after a while, even an ugly manatee starts to look like a beautiful mermaid. Marshall and Robin decided that this theory does not define their relationship, so they agree to go out to dinner alone. Their non-date starts off incredibly boring because they have only three shared topics: cold weather, sports, and cold weather sports. When that fails quickly, they turn to the booze. Just when it seems like Marshall’s beer goggles are turning Robin (hilariously dressed in a manatee costume) into a mermaid, she drunk pukes in front of him. The mermaid is gone, but their friendship is preserved.
I would say that meanwhile Barney and Lily fight because Lily doesn’t want to hang out with just Barney. But, as it turns out—that is not quite the case. Unreliable future Ted gets his stories and times confused. First he reports that Lily didn’t want to hang out with Barney, when in fact it was Barney that turned her offer down. Ted also eventually remembers that it is Barney who saves Lily from oncoming traffic during their argument. But the biggest reveal of all is when Ted finally recalls that this argument actually takes place down the road when Lily is pregnant—and that is why she is extra sensitive and extra grateful for Barney saving her life. I am also now very curious as to why Ted walks in wearing a green dress in the future…I love when the writers throw in little details like that!
Some highlights from the high seas:
- Ted telling the story of Barney and Lily’s fight and literally holding up the character dialog because he can’t remember.
- “Why is his eye twitching???” (Robin staring at Marshall at their awkward dinner).
- Everything about The Captain on his boat…the dark shadows, the strong wind, the creepy music.
- “Wait…does that mean I’m a manatee right now?” (Robin to Marshall regarding the theory).
- Never has “can you hear me now?” sounded so creepy.
- Marshall fears Robin becoming “a foxy fish babe singing ‘part of your world‘ to my pants.”
- Barney telling Lily that, despite being a manatee while she is pregnant, she will return to mermaid form thanks to breastfeeding.
- Old-time sailor Marshall imagining old-time sailor Barney as a mermaid. Must find land now.
I thought this episode was a whale of a good time! What did you think? And how long do you think the clock will tick before Zoey turns into a mermaid for Ted?