How I Met Your Mother came back with a new episode last night and will be new for the next four straight weeks leading up to the season 6 finale on May 16th. 

Last night’s episode was called “The Exploding Meatball Sub,” but that was not really the main part of the episode.  Instead, and rather unfortunately in my opinion, it centered on the complicated relationship between Ted (Josh Radnor) and Zoey (Jennifer Morrison) and also Marshall’s (Jason Segel) continuing lack of fulfillment at work.   

Ted is working on the project for the new GNB Headquarters, which is to be built on the sight of the Arcadian. Zoey has just gotten the city to hold a hearing on whether the Arcadian should become a landmark, which would prevent its demolition.  It kind of pains me to say it because I’m a big fan of Jennifer, but personally I am finding the Ted and Zoey relationship to be very annoying.  Zoey is quite obviously not the mother, and their relationship makes no sense.  It is Ted’s dream to add to the skyline of Manhattan, and he is so close to achieving that.  I hope the creators have some grand plan where Zoey becomes vital to the ongoing story or the whole thing seems like a real waste of time.

Meanwhile Marshall is very depressed by his soul-crushing job at GNB.  He decides to quit, but right before pulling the trigger, he gets “graduation goggles.”  HIMYM has added some great words and phrases to my vocabulary and I like this one a lot.  The graduation goggles are like when you’re graduating high school, and you don’t want it to end.  You overlook all of the bad times and focus on the good ones.  When the gang points this out, he decides to quit anyway.  He says he found a position at the NRDC to help protect the environment, but that does not go as planned.  The paid position is taken by someone else, and the only thing left is an unpaid internship.  Lily (Alyson Hannigan) says she is fine with it, but she really isn’t.  When Ted and Lily go to pick up a guest of the NRDC at the airport, she says she booked a ticket to Spain and is going on a trip because she can’t handle what is going on.  I found this storyline pretty annoying as well.  Would Lily really run off again like she did to San Francisco at the end of season 1?  Thankfully Lily returns during Marshall’s NRDC fundraiser. 

Truthfully, the best part of this episode was the Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) side-story which the episode is named after.  When Marshall leaves GNB, Barney gets upset and tries to get him to come back.  In typical Barney fashion, there is an underlying motive to his actions.  Apparently, a few weeks back when Barney was eating a meatball sub, he got some sauce on his tie and Marshall made fun of him.  He has been working on retaliation ever since, and he finally had it… an exploding meatball sub.  The montage of the process of coming up with the prank was classic Barney, white board and all.  It reminded me of pulling the pranks in the season one episode “Milk.”  In the tag before the final credits, they go ten years into the future and Barney finally gets to unleash his prank in ridiculously elaborate fashion. 

This episode was written by Steven Lloyd, the author of other sub-par episodes such as “Cleaning House” and “Zoo or False.”  The Lily thing is so been-there-done-that.  Lily lies to Marshall about almost running off to Spain, and Ted covers for her exactly like when she goes off to New Haven for the art fellowship interview in season one.  Will Marshall ever find out about this one?  If he does, what kind of fallout will there be? 

Despite my review of this episode, I still am predicting some pretty amazing stuff to finish the season.  Show creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas usually write the last couple episodes of the season, and that is a big part of why the seasons typically finish so strong.  I am putting my faith in Craig and Carter that there are some big twists and turns coming that will make the frustrating Zoey and Lily storylines all make sense in the end.