Woah, goat turd on the floor, is that new?

How I Met Your Mother – The Goat
Barney breaks the “Bro Code” in a matter involving Ted, and has to deal with the consequences.

On Ted’s 30th birthday, we finally see the story of the goat (first mentioned in season one episode “Milk”). Robin and Barney wake up together. They decide to pretend that nothing happened, and they’re kind of cute together. Barney has a terrible time pretending and finds it difficult to be around Ted. He is super awkward and keeps thinking that everyone knows.

Barney tries to tell Marshall his secret, but Marshall covers his ears. So Barney tosses a bowling ball that Marshall is forced to catch, and takes the opportunity to tell Marshall that he slept with Robin. Marshall is horrified. Barney hires Marshall as his “lawyer” to study the “Bro Code” and prove that he did nothing wrong. It’s a testament to the writing that this new, contrite side of Barney didn’t feel “wrong.” Barney is unscrupulous, even towards his friends (i.e. making Ted grow a mustache he knows will look ridiculous) – but never about anything really important. Shopping at Sky Mall when he’s depressed is totally in step with his materialistic character.

Lily brings a farmer and his goat into her classroom and when kids ask if they’ll get to see Missy the goat again, the farmer says he’s having her slaughtered. So Lily brings her home, with a plan for Animal Rescue to pick her up on Monday. Marshall arrives at the apartment, acting horribly awkward, so Robin instantly knows that he knows. She threatens him, telling him not to breathe a word.

Marshall cannot find a loophole in the Bro Code and Barney is upset because he just wants to feel better. His next move is to show that Ted has broken the Bro Code before, but Marshall proves that Ted has always upheld the code. Marshall tells Barney the only way to feel better is to tell Ted what he did.

Barney picks up Ted in a limo to take him to his surprise party, but tries to take him to Vegas instead, to prove what a good friend he is. He starts to tell Ted that he slept with Robin, but Ted already knows. Turns out Robin was unable to keep the secret. In a flash back, Robin breaks when Ted shows her a picture he has found of the two of them on vacation. She is earnestly repentant, and Ted tells her he’s not mad. He says the same thing to Barney, but he’s totally lying. Back at the party, we learn that Lily knows too, and she asks if it was amazing and if Barney was “all smooth down there.” Back in the limo, Ted punches Barney in the crotch.

In a suddenly serious turn for HIMYM, Ted tells Barney that he doesn’t want to be friends anymore. He calls a cab, and Barney looks like he’s about to cry.

At the very end, adult Ted starts to tell the story of how the goat locked herself in the bathroom and ate Robin’s washcloth. Then he stops and says, “Wait, Robin wasn’t living there during my 30th birthday. The goat story happened during my 31st birthday.” What?!?!

To be perfectly honest, I do not pay as much attention to the time line of HIMYM as I could. But, in the second season episode “Single Stamina” when Barney’s brother gets married, Robin and Ted slow dance at the wedding. We don’t know exactly where this scene fits into the overall time line, but let’s say it’s roughly 6-8 months after their breakup. The conversation they had with Lily and Marshall before they got up to dance implied that they were not together – Ted says something like “I think I’ll stay a little longer” and Robin says “Me too” – but who knows? That’s the sheer beauty of HIMYM.

The way the Robin-living-in-the-apt info was casually tossed out in the final moments of “The Goat” is indicative of everything I love about the show. What does it mean that in a year’s time, Robin will be living with Ted? Do they just become roommates, or will they rekindle their relationship? Or does Ted not live in the apartment at this future date? And, since we know (or think we know) that Robin is not the mother, does it even matter?

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