"How I Met Your Mother" Coming Back (TV Episode 2013) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Robin, Barney, Ted, Lily and James have arrived at the Farhampton Inn for Robin and Barney's nuptials. At a moment when Barney steps away from the table during a meal that the five are having together, Robin, Ted and Lily learn directly from James that he and Tom are getting a divorce. Robin wants to hide this information from Barney as James and Tom's marriage - which broke the Stinson horniness curse - was the reason why Barney felt that he could now commit to one person in marriage. Ted gets an overly sympathetic hotel desk clerk in Curtis, who doesn't think Ted should stay at the Inn as it is designed more for couples than singles. Lily may also fit into that category when she learns from Marshall that he is still stuck in Minnesota and may not make it to Farhampton in time for the wedding. Lily copes with this news with help from a man she meets at the hotel named Linus. And despite sparring with her every step of the way thus far, Marshall may have to join forces with Daphne to get to New York, and places his faith in womankind that Daphne feels the same way.

  • Marshall is forced to rent a car to get to New York, causing Lily to start drinking and accidentally reveal to Barney some bad news about his brother's marriage.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Friday, 12 p.m. -- 54 hours before the wedding: The front desk guy at the Farhampton Inn is pitying Ted after Ted asks for just one room key. Lily explains it's "a tough weekend" for Ted because he used to date the bride and he's the best man. The front desk guy tells Lily she and her husband should go see the lighthouse, which is very romantic. He gives Ted the TV channel guide. Lily gets a call from Marshall, saying he missed his flight. She's worried he might not get there.

    Lily immediately goes to the bar and tells the bartender, Linus, she's going to need him to make sure she has a drink in her hand any time she wants one -- and she gives him a $100 bill.

    "So, you want the Kennedy Package?" he confirms.

    "Bingo," Lily replies.

    Marshall calls Barney and says he's going to try to get on the next flight that leaves in five minutes. Barney tells Marshall to be ruthless and get to New York by whatever means possible, but Marshall refuses to be anything but nice in his quest to get there. The lady from his flight, meanwhile, pulls out all the stops -- even throwing Marvin's diaper bag into a restricted area of the airport to get a head start to the car rental place after they all learn the flight isn't leaving because of a storm on the east coast. At the car rental place, Marshall asks for a miracle because he's a good guy, and even though he's much further back in a different line from the lady from from his flight, an old guy takes over his line at the car rental counter and moves through the line quickly enough for Marshall to get the last car -- but it's a "2006 Monstrosity" -- a gas guzzler that Marshall feels he can't drive in good conscience. The lady from the flight offers to take the car, go buy a car set and come back to pick up Marshall and Marvin so the three of them can all drive to New York together. But once she's gone, Marshall can only sit and wait -- realizing she might never come back.

    After a while, Marshall was about ready to abandon his faith in humanity.

    Back at the Farhampton Inn, Barney goes through a convoluted history of how he and his brother are part of a 200-year-old tradition in the Stinson family where men compete over who's "hornier," and his brother's marriage to Tom freed Barney from the shackles of having to have sex with many different women for the sake of the competition. Barney gets a phone call and leaves, and James then announces he and Tom are getting divorced because he (Tom) cheated repeatedly. Robin slaps him on the head six times asking, "What is the matter with you?" She's upset that he's dropping this bombshell so close to the wedding.

    Barney comes back to the table and James is about to drop the news when Robin stops him. She asks Barney to close his eyes, cover his ears and hum "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" so she can ask James to withhold the news -- even offering her gay cousin Vince to James -- because James and Tom's marriage is the only marriage that makes Barney believe in the institution -- Lily gets irritated every time she hears this. James asks Robin if she's really worried that her relationship with Barney is that fragile and she says, "I don't want to find out."

    Barney stops humming and asks James where Tom is. James claims Tom had his wisdom teeth pulled and Lily, who's been drinking heavily, blurts out, "On top of a divorce, that is rough." James has to spill it and, after hearing the news, Barney gets up and leaves.

    "Vince," Robin tells James, "is off the table."

    Ted pulls Lily aside and cuts her off from drinks. But each time he pulls a drink out of his hand, Linus replaces it.

    Robin finds Barney at the front desk. She thinks he's getting directions to the nearest strip club. He was actually just getting the key to James' room, which Barney had filled with "Love is awesome" decorations -- and a remarkably detailed "carmel marzipan and chocolate marzipan" dual statue to represent Tom and James, respectively. Barney wanted to clear it all out before James got to his room. He tells Robin he doesn't need James and Tom to make him believe in true love anymore, because he's got her for that.

    Barney didn't freak out -- because "when you believe in people, people come through," Old Ted tells us and the kids.

    Just then, Daphne, the lady from Marshall's flight, pulls up with the car and the car seat. She's willing to drive him and Marvin but she picks the music.

    Ted and James have a brief heart to heart about where their love lives are headed. They urge each other not to give up. James leaves to head for his room and Ted stays at at a table in the bar to have a drink and do a crossword puzzle. Soon, we see "the mother" sitting in a chair next to his at the table and another version of Ted -- this one from a year in the future -- comes and sits next to her. They're clearly in love and he tells her about how he sat at that very table a year earlier and vowed that in one year he'd bring her there to mark the occasion. She realizes that they hadn't even met one year earlier and Ted says, "I know, but I knew I would. And now it's a year later"

    "And here I am," she says.

    "Here you are," he says.

    He goes to check on their room, which is taking as long to get prepared as it did a year earlier.

    "I'll be right back," he tells her.

    "I'll be right here," she says, before sitting back in her chair and smiling, then turning her head in the direction of present-day Ted, who is still sitting at the bar alone, waiting for her.

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