I think Bays and Thomas can't let go of the Barney who uses women with playbooks and kills them by trapping them in his walls when he's done with them. They love silly ol' misogynistic Barney too much to let him go. Why else would the playbook burn but not really burn on then to actually burn after they got one last piece of crap play out of it? "The Fortress" uses the same concept as the playbook nonsense. The apartment represents Barney's single days, when he met women, had sex with them, threw them away, and never thought about them again. Since Barney is a sociopath, he misses the memories and cannot bear the thought of never being in the apartment. Robin's grossed out by its history and wants to forget about that part of Barney. Robin is reasonable, kind, and level-headed with Barney. She explains what she wants and why. Barney nods and must hear the sound of his own voice in his head because he ignores Robin's reasonable requests by sabotaging potential buyers of the apartment.
The structure is the structure of HIMYM and won't change, so, yeah, the second act is basically unwatchable. I'm serious. Robin tries to sell the apartment. Barney tells stories of his sexual exploits in the apartment. I never regretted blogging about television before the second act of "The Fortress." The second act is the act for silliness and gags before the writers bring the emotion in for the third act. Seriously, why would Robin stay with Barney? He's an ass, and a total piece of shit. Of course, Robin decides to KEEP the apartment because she hates the idea of the new owners tearing the place apart to make it their own. No series currently running makes me want to put my head through a wall quite like How I Met Your Mother. The ruination of the Robin represents a part of Barney being ruined, and she can't handle it. I don't buy Robin's turnaround nor her accepting him in his gross and sociopathic ways (as she puts it). It's cheap. Bays and Thomas are telling the audience to get over their issues with the coupling, even though Barney's been an ass ever since the engagement, and especially since Robin's a walking contradiction. Their engagement remains a major problem.
Meanwhile, Marshall's sad because Lily's busy buying art for The Captain. Marshall's been waiting for Lily to watch their new favorite show (which is a parody of Downton Abbey, and Community's parody of Downton Abbey was better and actually funny). The theme of "The Fortress" is compromise and support or some such marital thing I'm sure I'm missing because I'm single and so totally far from marriage. Marshall should support Lily, but Lily should make time for her husband. The Robin/Barney story tries the same resolution but remarkably fails.
Ted re-learns a lesson he always forgets, which is that he'd like a relationship like the ones his friends enjoy. There's a sub-sub-plot in which Marshall and Ted are married and fathers because Marshall's mad. For whatever reason, Ted decides to throw logs into the fire instead of broker peace between the couple because HIMYM is a sitcom and inconsistent character stuff like this happens on sitcoms.
I didn't dislike the whole episode. Josh Radnor's English persona was enjoyable, especially his invented name. Jason Segal is great when his character's feelings are hurt. Okay, those were the only parts of "The Fortress" I liked. I didn't like The Captain stuff. The Captain calls Lily constantly from the same room to tell her about what's happening across the five boroughs. Who's relaying the information to him? Why would someone agree to find art only to alert The Captain who, in turn, tells someone who will get money from it? It didn't make sense.
Much of How I Met Your Mother doesn't make sense anymore.
THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK