I wish every episode of HIMYM was written by the show co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.  Whenever they are the lead writers, it shows in the script. They gave us another gem last night with, “The Time Travelers.”  It was the 52nd episode that the pair have been credited with since it all started with a fledgling pilot of a show with a strange name and a cast of nobodies and aging child stars.  Back then, Ted was searching for the one.  Nearly eight years later, he was getting close, but still felt so far from finding her.

Instead of being out on a date, Ted is down at the bar arguing with Barney whether they should go to Robots vs. Wrestlers.  Barney says that they can’t make this decision on their own; they must enlist the help of their future selves.  “20 years from now Barney” appears and ensures the two of them that the night at Robots vs. Wrestlers” will be legendary.  “20 hours from now Ted” warns them that it just ends with Ted being really hungover and sick.  Then, “20 minutes from now Barney” tells Ted that he can’t leave the bar just yet.  “Why?” wonders present day Ted.  The future Barney points towards the door, and in walks a familiar face.

It had been a while since I had a wow moment, but when any die-hard fan of the show saw the girl walk through the door at MacLaren’s, they all thought the same thing: The Coat Check Girl!  Yes it was indeed the girl Ted had a connection with back at Club OKAY over seven years ago.  Should he go talk to her?  Suddenly, the future coat check girl appears to Ted.  “Don’t do it, Ted,” she says, “It can only end with either me getting tired of you or you getting tired of me.”     

Meanwhile, Robin is raving over a drink Marshall invented called the Minnesota Tidal Wave.  The drink is enough to put someone in a diabetic coma, including coconut rum, peach schnapps, vanilla vodka, strawberry crème liquer, cranberry juice, sugar, and topped with maraschino cherries.  Much to Marshall’s chagrin, MacLaren’s decides to name the drink after Robin, since she had been ordering them so much.  To get back at her, Marshall writes Robin’s phone number on a stall in the men’s bathroom.  Robin retaliates with a message of her own in the women’s restroom, which turns out to just be a ruse to trap Marshall inside one of the women’s stalls.  The fight is ultimately resolved with a dance-off between Marshall and Robin.

Ted asks present-day Barney if he thinks he should talk to the coat check girl, setting up one of the better twists of the series.  Barney tells Ted that it doesn’t matter, because she’s not really there.  "Look around Ted," Barney says.  Ted awakens to the fact that he is alone in the booth staring at a ticket to Robots vs. Wrestlers while all of his friends are at home with the ones they love.  Ted gives a grand Mosbian speech about how he would’ve done anything to find his soulmate that night, but he would have to wait another excruciating 45 days.

I really enjoyed this episode.  Something tells me Craig and Carter have had this storyline in their backpocket for some time, and were waiting for just the right moment to pull it out.  It was also a ton of fun to see Glee’s Jayma Mays return as Coat Check Girl (that was her credited name back in season 1, episode 5).  Also Joe Nieves made an appearance as Carl the bartender, a role he has played in 16 total episodes but not at all since 2011.  It’s nice to know that after writing 53 episodes (and producing 180 total episodes for the series) that Craig and Carter can still surprise us.

The legend continues after the NCAAs conclude.  Next new episode Monday April 15 at 8/7c on CBS.