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[This story contains spoilers for How I Met Your Father season two, episode 11, “Daddy.”]
Barney Stinson made his legen-dary return to the How I Met Your Mother universe with Tuesday’s midseason finale of How I Met Your Father’s sophomore run.
After Sophie (Hilary Duff) abandoned her older boyfriend, Robert (John Corbett), when she discovered he may actually be her father, she rear-ended an Audi, which ended up belonging to none other than Neil Patrick Harris’ Barney.
“Duuuuude,” he tells her. As she starts to apologize, he cuts her off and begins reading a rolled-up piece of paper. “Me first. My name is Barney Stinson, and I am a recovering serial womanizer. We are likely speaking today because you are a woman I once concocted an elaborate scheme to have sex with. I fully understand why you’ve exacted revenge on me.”
He went on to apologize to her if he ever pretended to be a mannequin that came to life and made her fall in love with him; or hired a makeup team to transform him into a time-traveling old man who told a woman that the only way to save the world from global warming was to sleep with the young version of him; or told her he was Justin Hemsworth, the long-lost Hemsworth brother — all of which Barney did in the original series.
“Oh my god, stop talking,” Duff’s Sophie tells him. “Why do I have a feeling you have like 50 more creepy things on that list?” He quips, “Pfft, 50? There’s, like, hundreds.” She explains to him that she’s not exacting revenge on him, and they’ve never met, which leads to him making a very Barney-like comment — and paying for it.
“I guess I would have recognized the three of you if we had met,” he says, adding, “you and your boobs.” He then begins convulsing after getting shocked. “It’s my STD: shock therapy device,” he explains to Sophie. “It’s this experimental new electroshock treatment for guys like me. This sucker is programmed with 10,000 problematic words and phrases. If I utter one of them, it blasts me with enough electricity to power Staten Island.”
When Sophie offers to pay Barney $50 for the damages to his car, he tells her that one of his shoelaces costs that much money, and she begins to spiral, telling him she might be dating her father, he’s intrigued, and they come up with an agreement. If her story of meeting and dating Corbett’s Robert is juicy enough, she doesn’t have to pay for his bumper, which is now entirely on the ground.
After finding out from her mom that Robert isn’t her dad, she feels like she let another man go because she’s a mess, resulting in Barney asking her if she ever pictured her dad when she was growing up and who she imagined: “Bryan Cranston from Malcolm in the Middle — not Breaking Bad. I couldn’t even watch that. I didn’t want to see my dad cooking meth.”
Barney shares that he also used to imagine who his father was, noting that for him, it was Bob Barker — a running joke in How I Met Your Mother. He explains that when a dear friend of his (aka Jason Segel’s Marshall Eriksen) lost his father, it encouraged him to find his own, which he eventually did. When Sophie asks him if it solved all his abandonment and commitment issues, he said it didn’t.
“No. Actually, a few years back, a really amazing girl came into my life: My daughter, Ellie,” he says. “She is the best thing that ever happens to an idiot like me. The moment I saw her, I knew I had to change. Don’t get me wrong. My dad is great. He’s kind and funny. And watching the two of them together, it just … you get it.”
Barney is the second original How I Met Your Mother character to make a cameo, after Cobie Smulders’ Robin made a guest appearance in the How I Met Your Father season one finale.
How I Met Your Father will break until May 23, when it will again begin releasing weekly episodes every Tuesday through the two-episode season finale on July 11.
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