Sweeps month continued on CBS with the new HIMYM episode “Platonish.”  It picks back up Saturday morning, 31 hours until Barney and Robin’s wedding.  Robin is inconsolable after finding out her mother will not be attending the ceremony.  Barney accepts the challenge of getting her to stop crying.  When nothing works, Robin tells everyone to just let her deal with it on her own.  Barney proclaims that once he accepts a challenge, he will not rest until the task is completed.  “Where are our diapers and samosas then?” Lily asks. 

Diapers and samosas?  It turns out this story goes back to about six months earlier.  Lily, Robin, and Barney are down at MacLaren’s and Barney says that he has just completed another challenge.  Robin says that most of Barney’s challenges are too easy.  Lily agrees and challenges Barney to do whatever they challenge him to do for the rest of the night.  Challenge accepted!  After Barney successfully gets a girl’s number talking like a dolphin, then wearing a garbage bag, and then without using the letter E, Lily and Robin are frustrated.  They decide to use the challenge to make Barney run an errand for them and ask Barney to get diapers and pick up some Indian food for them while getting a girl’s number.

Meanwhile, Marshall and Ted are out at the Harlem Globetrotters game.  Marshall and Ted are having a discussion about Platonic relationships.  Ted claims that he and Robin have a Platonic relationship, Marshall says otherwise.  Marshall tells Ted that Robin told him that she was still in love with Ted.  “What? She said that?”  “No!” Marshall responds, and points out the glimmer in his eye when he told him.  Ted still clearly deep down hopes that he could win her back and be with her forever.  Ted says that Robin never changes her mind about things, though, and that he can’t deal with that rejection again.

While out at the convenience store getting the diapers, Barney sees a brunette girl shopping and says, “Target acquired.”  He taps her on the shoulder, and it is Cristin Milioti, the mother.  Barney uses some ridiculous premise to try to get her number.  She sees that it looks like Barney is going through a tough time and tells him, “It’s gonna be ok.  You’re a good guy, and you’re gonna get through this.”  Barney is a bit taken aback, and asks, “Why would I be sad?  I’ve gotten 14 girls’ numbers tonight!”  She responds, “I think you were in love with somebody and you messed it up, and every moment since then you’ve been trying to distract yourself from that fact.”  She decides to sit down and have a conversation with Barney.  “So are you going to go get this girl?” she asks.  “I don’t know. I’m kind of at the peak of my game.” “Do you want to keep playing, or do you want to win?”  Barney realizes she is right, but that it will take everything he’s got to win back Robin.  He goes home and begins writing The Robin play on the last page of his playbook, the last play he would ever have to make. 

Back at the game, Ted gets a call from an unknown number.  The number had been calling him repeatedly and he had been ignoring it.  He decides to pick up and it is Hammond Druthers, Ted’s old boss played by Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.  Hammond wants Ted to take a position at his new firm in Chicago.  Ted says no, and Hammond tries to sweeten the deal.  Ted finally says that he will think about it, mostly to just get Druthers off his case. 

When they get back to the apartment, Ted sees Robin eating olives.  On their first date, Robin gave Ted her olives, saying that she hated them.  “I thought you hated olives,” Ted states.  “I guess I changed my mind,” she replies.  Ted realizes that maybe Robin could change her mind after all.  Yes, as long as there was a glimmer of a hope that he could end up with Robin, their relationship would never be Platonic. 

We come out of the storytelling, and go back to the inn.  Barney says that he has no idea who that girl was, but that she set him straight.  From that point on, he only had one challenge:  Get Robin to fall in love with him.  “Challenge completed,” Robin says, and stops crying.  Ted looks on with an obvious look of regret.  Could he have completed the same challenge?

This was the first “one-off” episode of the season, and was a great change of pace.  I thought we would get more episodes like this one, where they tell something that previously happened to them that fills in some of the gaps of the overarching story.  I thought it was really well done.  It was great to have another tie-in with Crisitin Milioti and one of the characters.  Will it turn out that they all have had a run-in with her at some point?  It was also great to see Bryan Cranston again.  He once again proved his great acting range with a very humorous performance as Hammond Druthers.  I hope that we get more episodes like this one and don’t have to spend the whole season out in the Hamptons at the wedding.

This was the third episode credited to staff writer George Sloan along with the great episodes “No Pressure” and “Weekend at Barney’s.”  The legend continues Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.