Jennifer Morrison, the Next Big Ted Mosby Love Interest That Won't Be the Mother Because, Come On, There's No End Date Announced for the Show Yet, showed up to How I Met Your Mother last night. She played Zoey, a hippie-protester stereotype with decidedly un-hippie clothing and, in a plot development right out of 2002 Hugh Grant–Sandra Bullock romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice, she was battling the construction of the Ted-designed Goliath National Bank building on preservationist grounds. And it was by far the best episode of the season.
The installment was destined for greatness as soon as Barney's “new is always better” bit — an attempt to convince Ted to forget the once-classic, now-run-down Arcadian Hotel, as well as Zoey — got going. (Ted: New Star Wars vs. Old Star Wars? Barney: “The first three barely mentioned the intricacies of intergalactic trade law.” Ted: Chinese Democracy-era vs. vintage G'n'R? Barney: “Axl's really matured as a songwriter.”) Of course the instantly in love Ted can't let it go that easily, so he convinces himself he's quitting the project. Our immediate thought: Ugh, really, again with the Ted-and-building will-they-or-won't they? But you know what? A major construction like the Goliath National Bank Building would have this many holdups. (Granted, they wouldn't be that whimsical in real life. More to do with zoning permits and stuff, probably).
Ted pretends to be a veterinarian, joins Zoey's protest, is outed as the architect of the building through Barney's strategically placed billboard, dreams up a way to incorporate the Hotel façade into the new building, realizes Zoey is married and scraps those plans, and tries to forget all about the girl. But — as reports of Jennifer Morrison's multi-episode arc would suggest — it won't be that easy.
In that process, we get a nifty flashback bit, with Ted enthusiastically assuming alternate identities (adrenaline enthusiast, Civil War reenactor, wizard [?]) in order to woo various ladies. It got to the crux of things with Ted's character: Yeah, he's a dope, but he's well-intentioned and extremely enthusiastic, and those are things to be admired. The more the characters make fun of him within the show, the more we seem to like him.
Meanwhile, over at the B-plot, Robin's dating Marshall's pal Max, and things are going great ... until Lily tells Marshall that Robin said that Max has a small penis, that is. That sounds silly written down, but in execution it was inspired. First, it led to Robin's banter about how girls talk about penises all the time: “Size, shape, resemblance to historical figure Winston Churchill.” (To Ted and Barney) “Yes, that's one of you.” Second, it led to Marshall's crazed interior monologue during the double date: “Oh, yes, that's really interesting, but you have a small penis.” And who knew you could say “penis” that many times during prime time?
Next week promises more with Jennifer Morrison, and hopefully, once again, a humorous way to deal with Lily and Marshall trying to make a baby? Looking forward to it.