“The Scorpion and The Toad” picks up with Marshall, Ted, Robin and Barney at MacLaren’s as usual. Robin calls it an early night and Ted walks her out. When Robin leaves the booth, Barney catches Marshall looking at her butt. After Barney tells Ted about Marshall’s wandering eyes, Ted and Barney tell Marshall how excited they are that he is finally over Lily. Barney tells Marshall he is going to teach him how to be single and releases Ted from the previous mentioned confinement. After Ted calls Robin to tell her the good news, Robin finds Lily waiting for her in front of her apartment. Lily tells Robin she is back in New York and the two quickly return to being friends as if Lily never left.
The next night, Barney takes Marshall to MacLaren’s to hit on girls. Marshall approaches a woman but gets nervous and talks about how sweaty his hands are. Barney rescues Marshall by performing some magic and tells the woman how great Marshall is. The next day, Barney finds Marshall studying at a diner. Barney congratulates Marshall on how he handled himself the previous night but he is met with frustration from Marshall because Barney went home with the girl instead of Marshall. Barney tells Marshall the girl would have slept with him had Barney not stolen her and gives Marshall a “hypothetical five”. Barney apologizes and convinces Marshall to go out with him that night. Later, Robin meets Ted at the apartment and tells him Lily is back in town. Robin went apartment shopping with Lily earlier that day and found out Lily isn’t bothered by her break up with Marshall, instead Lily is as happy as can be and boasts about how great her summer in San Francisco was. Ted get furious demanding Lily be depressed after how she left Marshall. Robin prevents Ted from telling Marshall Lily has returned because she thinks it will derail all the progress he recently made.
Later that night at MacLaren’s, Barney and Marshall review “Barney’s Rules of Mating without Dating”. Marshall approaches a woman wearing glasses and tries to playfully disarm her by making fun of her glasses but quickly apologizes to the woman, explaining he just got out of a long relationship and has no idea how to be single. The woman finds Marshall’s honesty charming and warms up to him. After Marshall introduces the woman to Barney, Barney performs his magic trick again and steals the woman from Marshall, again.
The following day, Lily continues apartment shopping only this time accompanied by Robin and Ted. Lily continues to brag about how amazing San Francisco was. When Lily leaves to get an apartment key, Ted tells Robin Lily is miserable and bets five dollars he can prove it by getting her drunk on tequila saying after Lily has three shots of tequila, she will answer any question truthfully. Back at the apartment, Barney apologizes to Marshall again and convinces him to go to a college bar called The Scorpion and The Toad. Marshall agrees as long as Barney doesn’t steal a girl from him. At the college bar, Marshall hits it off with a beautiful blonde law student named Jenny. As Jenny begins to leave, she tries dropping hints for Marshall to ask for her number. Marshall, oblivious to Jenny’s hints, is surprisingly saved by Barney when he asks for Jenny to give Marshall her number. Marshall is ecstatic during the cab ride home, telling Barney about how he is going to take Jenny on a date. Things quickly turn dark when Barney steals the girl’s number from Marshall. Back at Robin’s apartment, Ted, Lily and Robin are several tequila shots past three and Lily is still saying how happy she is. As Ted is paying Robin for losing the bet, Lily returns from a phone call crying because she didn’t get the apartment she wanted. Sensing the truth is near, Ted probes Lily and she confesses she misses Marshall.
The next morning, Lily tells Ted and Robin she lied about San Francisco. She hated everything about the summer and wants to get back with Marshall. Ted assures Lily Marshall would take her back in a heartbeat but warns not to break his heart again. Later, Barney finds Marshall at MacLaren’s drowning in his sorrows. Marshall yells at Barney for stealing Jenny but confesses he isn’t any good at being single and misses being a couple. Barney cheers Marshall up saying Jenny loved Marshall and she has a twin sister and promises not to steal the new twin. Barney convinces Marshall to join him and the twins for a double date. During the double date, Barney pulls Marshall aside and tells him he needs to leave because the twins want to end the night with Barney, which was a lie. Frustrated, Marshall storms out of MacLaren’s where he finds Lily outside. Lily comes clean with Marshall about how bad her summer was and leaving Marshall was the biggest mistake of her life. She asks Marshall if they can get back together. Marshall tells Lily she broke his heart but she was right, they need to find themselves and shouldn’t get back together right now. Even though that wasn’t what Lily wanted to hear, her and Marshall continue to talk and tell each other about their summers. After catching up, Marshall asks Lily for a favor but she can never ask him why. Back inside MacLaren’s, Barney is flirting with the twins when Lily walks in and throws a drink in his face saying he gave her chlamydia. A few seconds later, Lily returns wearing a hat and throws another drink in Barney’s face saying he gave her twin sister chlamydia, scaring the twins off.
“The Scorpion and The Toad” is a reference to a children’s fable: The Scorpion asks the Toad, “Can you give me a lift across the pond?” The Toad says, “No, because you’ll sting me and I’ll die.” The Scorpion says, “No I won’t, because then we’ll both drown.” So the Toad agrees, and the Scorpion hops on its back. Halfway across the pond, the Scorpion stings the Toad. As they’re sinking, the Toad says, “Why? Now we’ll both die,” and the Scorpion says, “Because it’s in my nature.” Obviously, Barney is the scorpion in this episode. Even though he has good intentions, he can’t help but steal the woman from Marshall. I like this episode because it focuses on how some people aren’t meant to be single. Marshall admits he is horrible at being single, something he and I share. I also like that the creators chose to have Marshall remain single instead of getting back with Lily when given the opportunity. I agree with the sentiment that people need to find themselves outside of a relationship. I joke that my parents never taught me what to do in life but that they taught me what not do. My parents got married and had me while still in high school. Although their marriage last two decades, it ultimately ended because they were different people from who they were when they got married. Because of their divorce and how negatively it affected me, I am a huge believer that you have to find yourself before you being another person into the equation.
My favorite scene is when Ted and Barney tell Marshall how great it is he checked out Robin’s ass.