How I Met Your Mother

Season 3 Episode 14

The Bracket

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Mar 31, 2008 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
429 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Barney's efforts to hook up with women are being thwarted by a mysterious woman from his past. Barney and the gang must sift though his many past flings in an attempt to find out who she is.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Barney's Bracket

    As you already know, Barney has slept with his fair share of women and done it with many kinds of ways, costumes, and characters. In this episode someone is spoiling it for him and now it's not Lilly or any of his friends. It was someone that Barney slept with. It was really funny how Barney got rejected and the ways Barney attempted to do it. The best one was the women at the art gallery. Watch where his hands are before he gets slapped. It was also funny how the gang was trying to guess the ways Barney was trying to seduce women. It was very entertaining how the gang was trying to help Barney which women was screwing things up. One of my favorite parts is when Barney was thinking of what women it could be. Watch closely at one of the women, It was a reference to a previous episode. When they get to the final four, that is the best part. Another great part was the reference to the women Barney slept with in the past episodes like him using Ted Mosby's name. I enjoyed how each women reacted differently to Barney apologizing or sometimes not. I think Lilly was the perfect choice to accompany Barney. I also really liked the friendship of Barney and Lilly. I could be wrong at this but whatever Barney said to Robin may have an effect on something that would happen later on. Robin trying to play it cool was pretty funny too. The only bad part but not really there was not a second story. But in this case it wasn't really needed. Great song at the ending with the pictures. This was a great episode that got you wondering who was the women. And yes you find out who it is.moreless

    Barney has a stalker, a former scorned lover who is ensuring he never "scores" again. When the woman approaches Lily, warning her about Barney, the gang then composes a board of the women that Barney lied to and hurt the most, finally reaching a top 4, Barney and Lily set out to see if any of the 4 are his stalker. Failing, the gang sets up a scheme to catch his stalker in the act.

    This episode was hilarious. Not only was the storyline incredibly interesting and funny, but it managed to reference "Ted Mosby: Architect" (a personal favourite episode from season 2!) The best bit was the plan to catch the stalker in the act at the end. Except for Ted really, the whole gang wasn't that subtle. For example Lily's attempt to hang by the jukebox and not draw attention to herself. Classic! Also Robin's laughing every time she lied and Marshall's freaking out about trying to act normal. A highly enjoyable episode! It also mention Barney's blog again, love it!moreless
  • Barney's attempts to pick up girls are ruined by a girl stalking him, to narrow down who the stalker is the gang make a bracket of the girls who hate barney...moreless

    good episode, very funny... only one small plot hole...

    how did "anna" the girl who thought Barney was Ted Mosbie architect end up in the top 4 of the bracket? not only could she not be his stalker because when the stalker sits with lily at the start, her exact words are "Hey, a word of advice, that guy you're talking to... Barney Stinson, i know he seems charming. But he's just saying whatever it takes to get in your pants. sleeping with barney was the biggest mistake of my life." So the stalker knows Barney is Barney, not Ted. so 'Anna' should not even be on the bracket, but how is she make it to the top 4?? barney has done waaaaaaaaaay worst stuff than play Architect for a night, did the writers add 'anna' into the story for an additional joke or did someone somewhere screw up and no one notices?moreless
  • Another mystery woman?

    Okay so we still haven't found out who the mother is and now we have to guess who Barney slept with who's after him? The only problem I had with this episode was the anti-climactic ending. It would have been a 10 on the rating scale if we found out who the mystery woman was. Not "Future Ted" saying "We'll talk about that later." I loved the format of this episode! Resembling "March Madness" Barney puts the top 64 girls he slept with in a bracket to narrow it down to see who is trying to ruin his life, when a girl comes up to Lilly thinking she was with Barney. Saying to stay away from Barney. So he goes through the whole episode scavenging for 4 woman, who narrowed it down from his top 64. We get to see some old friends from the past. Such as the girl from 204, when Barney used Ted's name, so now there is a website:, saying that Ted Mosby is a jerk. Then after going through all the girls, they decide to make the girl come to them as Robin disguises as a girl being hit on by Barney. The girl doesn't end up going up to her, another girl does, since Barney doesn't recognize her, he gives her a huge apology, but it wasn't even her. So mystery woman remains a mystery by the end, which like I said, was the only downside of the episode. Other than that, the format, editing and writing was all great. A great episode that introduced a long running arc for Barney: For once.moreless
  • Barney has a stalker which warns women about him.

    "The Bracket" is an awesome How I Met Your Mother episode. In this episode, a women is stalking Barney and telling woman about him, so they'll slap him across the face. I love how the gang creates this system of all the women Barney slept with and who could possibly have a grudge against him. I love how Lily is annoyed that Barney won't apologize to any of the women he's hurt in the past. I love how Barney makes this one heartfelt apology that makes Lily proud. I give this episode a 10/10.moreless
Hallie Lambert

Hallie Lambert


Guest Star

Tess Alexandra Parker

Tess Alexandra Parker

Mysterious Woman

Guest Star

Katie Savoy

Katie Savoy


Guest Star

Bob Saget

Bob Saget

Voice of Ted, 2030

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Future Ted says that the website went on to get 400,000 hits. However when the site is shown onscreen, the visit counter says it has already received 510,005 hits.

    • At one point in the episode, Barney asks why some woman that he's slept with and screwed over is trying to ruin his life. Lily states that it is karma but Barney dismisses this by saying it can't be Karma because she's stripping and Vegas and that they're on friendly terms with each other. At the end of season 7 episode 16, it is revealed that Quin (who is to become Barney's future fiance) is a stripper who is also named Karma at the strip club that he frequents. Coincidence? I think not...

    • One of the women shown in the middle of Barney's flash of pictures of the girls he "lied to, seduced, and abandoned" is none other than Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State. When Lily is looking through Barney's scrapbook she says she recognizes " government official", and on the tournament board of the top 64 girls that Barney has slept with there is a "Madaline" in "The Village" who makes it into the final 32 as "Madeline", who Barney points to on the board as the woman who thought he was Jorge Posada and who Lily says bought Yankees season tickets to watch him play!

    • There's a picture of the first "Final Four" girl Meg in the scrapbook at the end of the episode, but Lily didn't start taking pictures until she and Barney found the second girl, Anna.

    • When Barney approaches Robin at the bar, his drink is clearly in his right hand. However it magically switches to his left, because just seconds later his right hand is the one on Robin's thigh.

    • Ted and Marshall's bracket listed the four regions out of order, the official bracket listed clockwise from the top left East, South, West, Midwest, but Ted and Marshall's reads West, East, South, Midwest listed clockwise from the top.

    • The bracket on the blackboard in Ted's apartment is not an accurate 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament bracket.

    • In the flashback where Barney leaves Holly in the tent, it showed him driving away. However Barney himself said in a previous episode that he can't drive.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Barney: (presenting a tournament-style bracket on a board) The top 64 women I've slept with, split into four regions… This tournament will systematically narrow down which girl has the most cause to hate my guts. Last girl standing has to be the saboteur.
      Lily: Absolutely not, Barney! We're not going to make a game out of the women you've tricked into sleeping with you.
      (Barney carries and shows Lily two cases of beer. The scene cuts to noisy dialogue amongst the gang, going drunk.)

      [Session #1, Ali vs. Wanda (Upper West Side – Round of 16)]

      Lily: No way! The girl, who thought he had 12 hours to live, has way more cause to ruin his life than the girl he "fake proposed" to.
      Robin: (contradicting) It's "Fake Proposal Girl"! I mean, she hired a wedding planner!
      Ted: It's "12 Hours to Live"! That girl flew them both to Paris!
      Robin: Well, they only bought a one-way ticket!
      (Screaming resumes.)
      Barney: (stopping the noise) Okay! Everybody! Hands!
      Lily, Marshall, Ted: (raising their hands) 12 Hours to Live!
      Robin: Damn it!
      [Session #2, Madeline vs. Susan (The Village – Round of 16)]
      Barney: (pointing on the board) Okay, toss them. "Thought I was Jorge Posada" or "You Have My Dead Wife's Kidney"?
      Ted: Kidney!
      Robin: Jorge Posada!
      Lily: She bought Yankees season tickets to watch him play!
      Barney: (pointing Lily) That's true!
      Marshall: (intervening) It's "Dead Wife's Kidney"! How are we even discussing this?
      [Session #3, Penelope vs. Rain (Brooklyn – Round of 16)]
      Lily: Fake Baby!
      Marshall: Lost at Sea!
      Robin: Fake Baby!
      Marshall: Lost at Sea!
      Ted: I was there! Trust me! It's "Fake Baby".
      [Session #4, Caroline vs. Sheila (Upper West Side – Semifinals)]
      Barney: (referring to the board) Down to the Sweet 16! And, coming out of the Upper West Side, we have the number 3C—girl who thought I own Google—up against the number 7C—girl who thought I was a scuba instructor.
      Ted: You got to go to "Scuba Instructor"!
      Robin: You're kidding me!
      Ted: She got the bends!
      Barney: Yeah, she did.
      Marshall: (with left thumb down) Boo!
      [Session #5, Kate vs. Jannett (Midtown - Finals)]
      Marshall: Evil Twin!
      Ted: Prince of Norway! How could it not be "Prince of Norway"?!
      Robin: Barney, you're the tie-breaker!
      Barney: I'm going with "Evil Twin".
      (Marshall and Robin win the decision; the rest complain.)
      Lily: You're kidding me!!
      Marshall: Oh, yeah!!
      Barney: Sorry! But, I did sleep with that girl twice—as Barney and Larney!

    • Lily: Is that the blackboard from my classroom?
      Barney: Come on people, dig deep. Marshall?
      Marshall: I'm tired. And sad.
      Barney: Mosby?
      Ted: I wanna call my mom. Just tell her I love her.

    • Barney: I don't recognize her. She's not on the top 64.
      Marshall: Not even on the bracket? Wow, Cinderella story comes out of nowhere to win the whole thing. That'll warm your heart.

    • Barney: She said I hooked up with her? Well, what's her name? What'd she look like?
      Lily: She didn't say her name. But she had blonde hair, boobs... kinda trashy.
      Barney: Dead in the eyes with an aura of self-loathing and despair?
      Lily: Yes!
      Barney: That's all of them!

    • Ted: Why don't you check your list?
      Barney: My list?
      Ted: Come on, man. Don't pretend you're not the kind of guy who keeps a list of all the women he's slept with.
      Marshall: I have one. It's called my marriage license. (he and Lily high-five)

    • Barney: The same thing happened last week at the museum. (Everyone raises their hands) Lily.
      Lily: You pretend to be a struggling young artist who needs a new muse.
      Barney: No. Marshall.
      Marshall: You're a millionaire art thief casing the joint for a thrill money can no longer give you.
      Barney: No. Robin.
      Robin: You're going blind, and you're trying to soak up all the beauty in the world before the darkness descends.
      Barney: Bingo!

    • Lily: Maybe you're not as good a liar as you think you are.
      Barney: Oh, really, then why am I not in prison for perjury? (waves hand dismissively) But I don't wanna talk about work.

    • (Lily forces Barney to apologize to Meg)
      Barney: Lily, this girl hates me. I hooked up with her in an apartment I was pretending was my own, told her I loved her and then ditched her there. She got arrested for trespassing, bit a cop and spent eight days in jail.

    • Barney: Ahh, there she is.
      Lily: Oh, and she's holding hot coffee, maybe she'll throw it in your face.
      Barney: You're really enjoying this, aren't you?
      Lily: I'm making a scrapbook.

    • (Barney's apology)
      Barney: Hey, I don't remember you. I've spent the last two days trying to remember every girl I've slept with and all of the horrible things I've done to them, and I've done some horrible things. I mean at one point I'm pretty sure I sold a woman. I didn't speak the language but I shook a guy's hand he gave the keys to a Mercedes and I left her there. I'm the guy who keeps a scrap book of all the women but I never thought I was the guy who would sleep with a girl and not even remember her. So from the bottom of my heart, for what ever I did to you, I apologize.

    • (After Barney got slapped in the hardware store)
      Barney: The same thing happened in the pet store yesterday.
      Marshall: Pet store?
      Ted: Single girl, mid twenties, looking of canine replacement for the boyfriend who just dumped her, instead finds Barney!
      Barney : (Very satisfied) God bless you Ted, you are reading my blog.
      Ted : (With a guilty face) I'm really bored at work.

    • (Barney's explanation who is going to hardware stores)
      Robin: Wait, you go to the hardware store to pick up girls?
      Barney: There are four kinds of women that go to the hardware store by themselves.
      Robin: Of course, there are.
      Barney: Single, recently single, recently divorces, lesbians who let me to watch.
      Lily: You can not be more evil.
      Barney: Sorry, five; recently widowed.

    • Barney: This is a nightmare! Some woman that I slept with and screwed over is trying to ruin my life. God, why is this happening to me?
      Lily: It's karma.
      Barney: Nah, it's not karma. She's stripping in we're good.

  • NOTES (4)


    • Attempting to guess Barney's museum tactic, Marshall says, "you're a millionaire art thief casing the joint for a thrill money can no longer give you." This is a description of the 1968 film, and its 1999 remake, The Thomas Crown Affair.

    • The scene at the end of the episode with Barney typing a diary on his computer is reference to Doogie Howser, M.D.. Each episode would end with the title character, played by Neil Patrick Harris, typing his diary on his computer. The music heard during the scene is also the same.