I rarely make predictions about episodes I haven’t seen, because I’m always wrong. But what the heck: when Craig Thomas says of Britney Spears’ second appearance on How I Met Your Mother that “her return answers a larger mystery set up earlier than in the series,” I’m going to guess, not having seen the episode, that she’ll turn out to be the mystery woman who was trying to ruin Barney’s reputation in “The Bracket.” Lily is the only one who saw the mystery woman, and I don’t think she met Spears’ character in that earlier episode (maybe she did and I forgot about it in which case this guess is null and void).
The second episode with Spears — whose guest appearance really does seem to have saved this show from cancellation — airs tonight, and we can all see how wrong my prediction turns out to be. (But in the unlikely event that she turns out to be The Mother, then I predict that fans will be furious. And I know that prediction is right.)
Oh, and a philosophical question: if this guess turns out to be true (also unlikely), does it count as a spoiler if you accurately guess an upcoming plot twist in an episode you haven’t seen? Let’s say somebody writes a post predicting the next plot twist on Lost, and that guess turns out to be right, but it’s entirely a guess, based on no actual knowledge about the episode — is that a spoiler?