The time has come for Ted to choose between his girlfriend and his career. Barney's job is also on the line as he continues his feud with Marshall.
Spoilers after the jump.
My theory at the end of the last episode turns out to be on the nose with Ted admitting that he took Zoe's side because she was his girlfriend rather than her arguments having any merits. As Robin explains to him though, if he keeps that stance eventually the resentment will get the better of him anyway and destroy the relationship. The preview for this episode said something along the lines of "Ted's friends tell him what they really think of Zoey", but none of them really had anything terrible to say about her; they are friends and became friends when she and Ted were still enemies. The problem is all circumstance; with Ted's ambition underlined in his dream, their goals were always incompatible and the relationship was doomed from the beginning.
We get a probable answer as to why GNB boss Arthur gave such a terrible reference for Marshall last week; he was probably depressed by his messy divorce. His holding Barney's past words against him mirrors Zoey's use of her recording of Ted which she never disposed of. Arthur's pedantry is unsurprising; the failure of the building project would be a big embarassment for the company and he does not owe Barney anything. However, Zoey's use of the recording against Ted at the Landmark meeting is further evidence of the doomed relationship. It seems she never trusted him or she would have disposed of it; When he does turn against her and wins the decision, she promptly leaves him. It's likely she was planning to use it all along; up until just last week, he had firmly decided his position already. Would Ted have forgiven that treachery? Doubtful.
Strong episode - a lot of little gags to fill the time and keep the plot moving at a pleasant pace. Lily as I suspected didn't really seem to care much about who won as long her friends were OK with it. Her plot to remove the lion head from the building so it would not be declared a landmark was actually ingenious. Robin seemed to side with barney but I'd guess her opinion lined up with Lily's. It was almost like she was playing Good Wife to both Ted and Barney. Next week's finale indicates Barney and Robin getting closer but we've already been spoiled by Future Ted's narration that it won't work out, at least not right away. I was thinking lower grade, but then I marked the episode up because there was a ninja involved. And with that, we're done here.
"How I Met Your Mother" airs Mondays on CBS at 8:00 pm EST.