After all the hyped-up excitement over last week’s two-episode season premiere, this week’s season installment seemed to fall a little short. Now I will be the first to tell you that I haven’t met an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” I didn’t like. But I have a lot of trouble getting super excited about this week’s when it has to follow what was the legen… wait for it… season premiere.

Two stories are being told at once: both Ted’s retelling of his encounter with Victoria and Barney’s attempt to hustle Lily and Marshall. How does he try to hustle them, you ask? Well, knowing Barney, it likely has something to do with female genitalia.

We are not disappointed, because with Lily’s recent acquisition of her “pregnancy boobs,” Barney makes a bet that he can perform the complicated Japanese cooking skills that the chef at Shinjitsu does. If he wins, he gets to touch Lily’s pregnancy boobs. If he loses, he has to wear the silly rubber ducky tie that Marshall is wearing throughout the episode, which Barney wastes no time making fun of with his recently acquired obsession: hashtags (“Duck, duck, gross. #burn #ducktieslams #stinsonrocks).

The bet is soon discovered as a hustle, when it is revealed Barney spent six months learning hibachi grilling techniques in Hoboken, and subsequently trained Marshall to crave Shinjitsu, Pavlovian-style. Lily soon tricks him by flashing him, and Barney messes up the last trick. Barney now has to sport everyone’s favorite bathtime toy on his tie for a year, a wardrobe selection we will likely see for the rest of the season (#burn #ducktieslams #lilyandmarshallrock).

As much as I enjoy the entertaining schtick I can count on with HIMYM, I bet you’re wondering what happened with Victoria after their eyes meet at the end of last week’s second episode? Luckily, lulls in the conversation allow Ted to tell his story.

After an awkward moment with Robin, Ted apologizes for cheating on her and offers to wash her dishes as a small form of repayment. And yes, I did notice “washing her dishes” could be a euphemism for sex that I would not be surprised to hear in this show. Well, she agrees, and during his dishwashing task, he discovers Victoria is engaged to a German man named Klaus (spelling correct, yes?).

Ted continues, then considers, and realizes that Victoria began dating this guy very soon after she and Ted broke up. I would venture to say she may have cheated on him as well. Either way, their break up was shady.

Anyway, the classic Ted and HIMYM plot would have them end their encounter with a kiss, which is does not disappoint. To his friends, this is the end of Ted’s story. But he leaves out the next part. He takes her to the bus station, where Victoria drops a bomb on Ted that he doesn’t know how to deal with. Victoria believes that the reason none of Ted’s relationships have worked out is because of Robin’s continued influence and presence in his life.

What does that mean for Ted? Is Victoria suggesting Robin is holding him back, or will we see a return of the Ted/Barney/Robin love triangle? Is Robin actually the mother, and the creators have just been teasing us the whole time?

I refuse to believe Robin is the mother. She was not present in the first class he mistakenly began to teach, she was not roommates with the student Ted got involved with and I REFUSE to accept that HIMYM is going to repeat their major plotlines again in this way.

Now what does the future hold for Ted and Robin? We know Robin wants to give dating Barney another shot, but he’s all about Nora. Will Ted stop spending time with Robin so he can have a successful relationship, aka find his wife? Sounds like Robin’s getting the short end of the stick a lot recently.

Another question that is always on my mind in relation to HIMYM: will we at least meet the mother soon, even if we don’t know it’s her? And for the love of all things that are good, I will freak out if it is Katie Holmes as the Slutty Pumpkin.

Feedback please!

Oh. …dary.