The episode opens with Ted meeting the mother for a date 3 days after the wedding. He didn’t wait the traditional 3 days to call her because he’s too excited to have met her. They walk together until she spots her ex- fiancé. As the breakup happened merely days before, it puts a bit of a damper on the mood and Ted agrees to simply walk her home. Interwoven through their brief date is the story Ted tells of Gary Blauman. It features a few flashbacks within the story, but the main part takes place on Robin and Barney’s wedding day.
Gary Blauman (played by Colbie’s real life husband, Taran Killam) shows up at the wedding unexpectedly and the seating arrangement has to be redone to accommodate him. As Marshall scrambles to take on this task, he enlists Ted. Ted declares open enmity with this Gary fellow and refuses to help. Apparently there was a time that they competed for the attentions of a young lady at a party to the point of exhaustion, losing Ted an opportunity to get laid.
Lily chimes in that she, in fact, LOVES Gary because he stopped her from making a horrible tattoo decision while she and Marshall were split up. Barney, in turn harbors a deep and burning hatred for the man because once, Gary stole 4 fries from him, including an accidental curly fry. Billy Zabka (of the Karate Kid) adores the fact that Gary recognizes him for his poetry rather than from playing a bad guy in an 80’s movie. Barney’s brother, James, hates Gary because they had an affair together and James blames Gary for the end of his marriage. This changes Ted’s opinion, as he now thinks Gary may have been hitting on him, instead of the girl they were both talking with.
The decision comes down to judge Marshall, who eventually decrees that Gary be allowed to stay. However, Barney has already threatened Gary with violence while Marshall was deliberating. He agrees to go with the others to bring him back, but Gary has had enough. He drives away angry as Ted contemplates how easy it is to lose touch with people you once considered friends.
This leads to my favorite part of this episode – a mini epilogue for some of our favorite minor characters. We learn the fates of a few of Ted’s ex’s and some of the other friends they have made along the way. It was a nice way to continue tying up loose ends, as this season has been doing all along. Gary Blauman, as a character, seems to be more of a string that ties together a series of stories leading us back to the conclusion that friendship is precious and can be tenuous when not properly tended.
In Ted’s story, Gary does return, feeling that he ran away too quickly and decides to stay for the wedding. James realizes that his anger was, indeed, misplaced and goes to patch things up with his husband. Similarly, in the near future, Ted is just beginning to walk away from the Mother, leaving her at her apartment, when she calls him back. He rushes back and they kiss for the first (?) time.