That said this episode is hilarious, and not surprising as it focuses on Barney and Neil Patrick Harris is brilliant.
Plot In A Paragraph: Following Robin and Barney's break-up, Robin states that she wants to take a break from men and focus on her career Ted and Marshall are certain by this statement that she'll soon find her next long term boyfriend. Meanwhile Barneybis all set to go back to his womanizing ways, and turns to his "playbook", where he's written all the scams he's used to pick up women in the past. When he uses the scam he calls 'the Lorenzo Von Matterhorn' to pick up Shelly, a friend of Lily's, who Lily has been "saving" for Ted for three years, an angered Lily takes her revenge by staging her own elaborate scam to steal Barney's playbook.
The twisted idea behind the story was creative but the execution was almost a failure. I think the writers mistake was to not focus on the best and most important joke. In fact the end reminded me of "Ted Mosby : Architect", season 2 5th episode, but it wasn't as surprising and hilarious. So when you could watch that one over and over to appreciate all its awesomeness I don't think you'll want to go back to this one. Beside the relatively linear and riskless writing I also blame the poor use of the supporting characters because their role was quite anecdotic. I think it's a mistake because the story would have been far much more entertaining if it involved more Ted or Robin for example. Why didn't they viciously switch profiles in a crazy fashion ? What about revealing the story was just a dream at the end ? It's already the 96th episode but it doesn't mean you can just sit back and relax instead of challenging yourself. Of course it's easier to review other people's work than to get things done but I can't help thinking that some talent is desperately wasted.
To sum things up it was a decent installment but not a match for the great episodes I mentioned. It's almost scary because The Playbook is actually the highest rated episode on TV.com. I think its creators should just make the wise decision of finally answering The Question no one really cares about anymore. Maybe the wake up call they need will come from viewers disappointed by a show that didn't meet their expectations. It will be so sad if they decide to cancel How I Met Your Mother once it jumps the shark. Let's hope it won't happen because the people who worked on it deserve better. Cobie Smulders is beautiful and her acting talent can only improve. Neil Patrick Harris is legendary as Barney. Last but not least Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, the sitcom creators, successfully served us with a few excellent episodes.
He also makes Lily mad by hooking up with the woman she wanted to introduce to Ted and she goes to reveal his last trick to the woman he wants to hit on. And then comes the twist. It is actually a very fun one. I must say I kind of guessed it, but it was still fun to see how he tricked everybody. And Barney's little wink was present through the whole episode.