It’s 31 hours before the wedding and rather than delving into more drama surrounding the big day, we witness a flashback involving Ted’s unresolved feelings for Robin, Barney’s secret desire to quit being a ladies man and settle down, and another very welcome interaction with the Mother.
It all begins when Barney accepts Robin’s challenge to get her to stop crying after last week’s news that her mother won’t make it to the wedding. Lily reminds him of the time he failed to fulfill the final mission in a day full of challenges to obtain girls’ phone numbers with increasingly difficult rules. Barney meets the Mother while out retrieving diapers for Lily, samosas for Robin, and a lady’s number for himself. He’s caught off-guard when she offers him some very poignant insight into his heartbreak and loneliness. They spend the night discussing their love-lives and she asks him, “do you want to keep playing or do you want to win?” Barney wants to win and the Mother ensures him it’s going to take a lot of work and devotion. Barney adds a new play to his playbook, which he titles “The Robin” and in the present time, Robin deems it challenge completed.
While Marshall and Ted banter about Ted’s continued and unrequited feelings for Robin, Ted gets a call from an unknown number. His old boss Hammond Druthers played by Bryan Cranston tries to recruit him in joining him as a partner in Chicago. He’s torn between moving on and leaving New York or staying and trying to work out things with Robin.