Ah, Gary Blauman, a guy we haven't seen since "How I Met Your Mother" Season 5. Cobie Smulders' real-life husband Taran Killam -- of "SNL" fame -- guest starred as the titular Gary Blauman, a tangential friend whose path crossed with everyone's over the years.
He had once convinced Lily not to get a tattoo of Sugar Ray after she and Marshall broke up. At a party years ago, Ted thought he was trying to steal a woman away from him. One time he stole fries -- an accidental curly! -- from Barney at MacLaren's, and he was the man who James had an affair with. When he showed up at the wedding, but had no seat, the gang went into panic mode. Turns out, Marshall had mastered the art of a seating chart. But first, we fast forward.
The Wednesday after the wedding, Ted and the mother went on their first date. It's a perfect Ted Mosby first date until the mother spotted her ex-boyfriend, the one whose proposal she turned down in "How Your Mother Met Me." She immediately ducked behind a car, prompting the whole "I'm not ready for a relationship yet" conversation.
But, the heart of the episode -- the "aw shucks, I really love this show" moment -- was a three-minute tracking scene, where we saw endings for the most memorable guest stars. We saw Ranjit making the big bucks after he won big in the stocks, and Carl working at MacLaren's with his son. Patrice hosted her own radio show which Robin calls into, and Scooter married Stripper Lily. Jeanette got arrested and met Kevin in court-forced therapy. Blah Blah's name was Carol, and James and Tom got back together.
Usually, tight endings given to viewers tied up with neat little bows are too perfect, too easy. But here, with characters that remind us of some of the show's best episodes, it's a gift I'm willing to accept greedily. I'm hungry for "HIMYM" answers, and with only two episodes left, I know there are more. But if we're hoping to make each moment of each episode count, this little montage was delightful.
These were the people the gang held onto and kept track of. Marshall said he and Lily hadn't seen many of the people at their wedding since that night. It's a sobering statement I'd rather ignore. My heart thinks that in 30 years, I'll love everyone I love now the same amount. How could I not keep in touch with all of my friends from high school and college and summer camp? But my brain knows I won't.
"You will be shocked, kids, how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever," Future Ted said. "That's why when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it."
Needless to say, Ted finds a way to keep the mother around.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the first time "HIMYM" introduced Gary Blauman.