Subway Wars

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"Subway Wars"
How I Met Your Mother episode
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 4
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Written by Chris Harris
Production code 6ALH04
Original air date October 11, 2010 (2010-10-11)
Guest actors

Marshall Manesh as Ranjit
Maury Povich as Himself
Geoff Stults as Max
Laura Bell Bundy as Becky
Jan Bryant as Mildred

Season 6 episodes

"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.[1][2]


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.


The underscore from this episode is reused in "Challenge Accepted".

Marshall's song: Marshall V.S. the Machines as he runs to a song.

Barney's blog[edit]

In his blog, Barney writes down a list of nicknames for breasts.[3]

Cultural references[edit]

  • Robin mentions that she has seen Maury Povich and the others says that everyones seen him and that he is everywhere. Throughout the episode, Maury Povich can be seen several places as the group races. Among other things, he steals a cab from Robin, calls Lily an idiot on the subway on two separate occasions, sits behind Ted in the bus and on a staircase that Marshall runs by, walks by with a dog after they all meet up halfway to the steakhouse and is the guy their friend mistakenly thought was Woody Allen at the restaurant.
  • When Future Ted is telling why each of the characters needed a win, the captions are in the font used in Woody Allen movies, and the music heard is also reminiscent of Allen.
  • Barney has a conversation with Robin only saying "carrots and peas". The phrase "carrots and peas" is often used when silent conversation is needed in a movie or on TV to give the appearance of real conversation.
  • Earlier in the episode after Robin states she knows the city better than any of the gang and they all start screaming, Barney yells "carrots and peas" at her.
  • Marshall compares himself to John Henry, a folk hero who raced against a steam powered hammer and won.
  • Barney shouts "Elizabeth!" when faking his heart attack, a reference to Redd Foxx's character in Sanford and Son.
  • Barney asks the ambulance attendant to take him to New York Downtown Hospital, but is informed they are going to take him to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
  • Marshall's song claims that Marshall once "brought the jukebox back to life with his Fonzarelli arm", a reference to Henry Winkler's character in the show Happy Days. Furthermore, after fixing the jukebox, Marshall uses the character's two thumbs up pose while saying "Ayyyye!"
  • In a flashback, young Marshall is shown trying to wire the cable box to allow him to see The Playboy Channel. In a related flashback, an older Marshall is shown trying to wire the cable box to allow him to see The Spice Channel.
  • The group all meet as they are racing to the restaurant in front of a Dean & DeLuca store.
  • Marshall and Lily create a Cradle List, a bucket list of things to do before having kids, including going back to Paris, taking ballroom dancing, learning how to ski and seeing Coney Island.
  • Robin mentions Dr. Seuss's book Green Eggs and Ham after Marshall says he can beat "a bus or a cab or a train".
  • Young Marshall plays the game Pitfall!.
  • The map shows approximate location of the MacLaren's pub on the 85th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam avenue.
  • There were several product placements for Microsoft: The route to the restaurant is shown on Bing Maps. Ted also uses the Bing search engine to find the website with his teacher ratings. The Windows Logo is printed on the back of the laptop and Maury Povich is seen at one point carrying an Xbox 360 S and Kinect, while a store window in the background displays Xbox 360 boxes and copies of Microsoft Office. The end credits list the show as "sponsored by Microsoft Corporation."
  • After Barney is informed that he will not be taken to the hospital he intended to be taken to, there is a dramatic split screen display following the current situation of each of the five characters, a staple of the TV show 24.
  • Marshall tells Ted about a website,, which is modeled after
  • On you can find (fake) ratings for Professor Ted Mosby.
  • In a deleted scene for this episode, when Barney is given the five-minute time out by Lily, he claims that he will shout out the twist endings to two movies at once. While apart from the group, he yells out "Keyser Söze was a ghost the whole movie," and "Darth Vader was a sled."

Critical response[edit]

Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+ rating.[4]

Robert Canning of IGN gave the episode a rating of 9 out of 10.[5]

DeAnn Welker of Television Without Pity gave the episode a B+ score.[6]

Chris O'Hara of gave the episode a rating of 4 out of 5. [7]


External links[edit]