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Subway Wars

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Episode no.
Season 6 Episode 4

Written by
Chris Harris

Directed by
Pamela Fryman

Production code

Original air date
October 11, 2010 (2010-10-11)

"Subway Wars" is the fourth episode of the sixth season of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, and the 116th episode overall. 'Subway Wars' was nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards. It originally aired on October 11, 2010.



While the gang hangs out at MacLaren's, Marshall learns that his friend Max from law school has just spotted Woody Allen at a restaurant downtown. While Robin is interested in seeing him, the rest of the gang is not, saying they have seen him plenty of times and teasing Robin about not being a "real" New Yorker, as she's from Canada. Robin tries to impress them by saying she has seen Maury Povich, but the gang is again unimpressed, as they have all seen him many times as well. The group debates what it takes to become a real New Yorker; Ted states it's stealing a cab from someone who really needs one, Lily argues it's crying on the subway and not caring what others think, while Marshall states it's killing a cockroach with one's bare hands. Robin admits that she has not done any of those things, but Future Ted states that by the end of the day, she would have done all three. The group then begins arguing on what the fastest way to get to the restaurant would be, and quickly decide to race each other there: Ted rides the bus, Lily takes the subway, Robin opts to hail a cab, Marshall decides to run there on foot, and Barney claims to have the fastest method of all while even enjoying a steak first.

Barney's plan is revealed to be faking a heart attack at a restaurant after eating the steak, then using the ambulance ride to a hospital right next to the restaurant as his quick transportation. His plan backfires, however, when the ambulance takes him to a hospital uptown, and he is forced to contact Ranjit for a ride. Meanwhile, Lily misinterprets the subway conductor's announcement that the subway is undergoing maintenance, and soon after exiting the train, it departs. Robin hails a cab, stealing it from a woman carrying bags who then angrily leaps on top of the windshield. Robin and the cab driver are freaked out, so Robin abandons the ride, and later rides along with Barney in Ranjit's car. During the ride, Robin angrily reveals to Barney that she had tried to talk to him about how low she was feeling recently (due to her break-up with Don and feeling shunned and forgotten due to her overly-enthusiastic new co-anchor), yet he ignored her and tried to use her as a decoy while he eyed up a woman at the bar. Barney realizes what he did and tells Robin he's listening now, but she is not interested and leaves the car. Ted rides the bus, and attempts to impress others riding with his knowledge of New York architecture, though he mainly bores and annoys them. Marshall is at first enthusiastic and confident that he can outrun everyone, though he soon begins to lose energy. Future Ted discusses why each of them personally felt the need to win the race. Lily had been feeling dejected after having been unable to conceive a baby with Marshall for two months, Marshall was feeling the same, believing it to be his fault, Ted had been stunned after receiving a negative review on a teacher rating website (despite having received many positive ones), Robin was feeling bad after the terrible year she'd had, while Barney really did not have a reason to win.

Halfway through the race, the group all coincidentally meet up, and though Ted proposes they declare a tie, they immediately continue the race. Robin takes the subway, where she sees a poster up for her news show, with her co-anchor's face taking up much more space then hers. Enraged, Robin rips it down, only to see an older poster behind it with one of her and Don. Robin breaks down crying, snapping at the other passengers when they look in her direction. Lily spots her and comforts her, though she quickly abandons her and calls Ranjit in favor of the race. Barney rides a pedicab, though he quickly changes places with the driver to bike there himself. Lily has Ranjit pick up Marshall on the way, and the two discuss their concerns about not conceiving a baby yet. They then agree there is really no rush to become parents, and promptly decide to head to Coney Island to have fun. Ted, Barney, and Robin race for the finish; however, Barney trips, taking Ted down with him and allowing Robin to win the race. Future Ted tells his kids that, while Barney constantly denied it, he knew that Barney had spotted that Robin had been crying earlier, and purposefully tripped Ted and himself so Robin could win. Robin enjoys a meal with Max while Ted thanks Barney for letting Robin win. Max points out Woody Allen to Robin, who in fact turns out to be Maury Povich (the group had inexplicably seen him several times throughout the episode), although Future Ted states that Robin did see Woody Allen a couple of months later. Robin then kills a cockroach on the table with her hand, thus fulfilling all three tasks to become a real New Yorker.

Critical response

Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+ rating.

Robert Canning of IGN gave the episode a rating of 9 out of 10.

DeAnn Welker of Television Without Pity gave the episode a B+ score.

Chris O'Hara of TVFanatic.com gave the episode a rating of 4 out of 5.


Subway Wars Wikipedia

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