Three stories unfold during a snowstorm in NYC: Ted and Barney take over MacLaren's, Marshall and Robin talk about romantic rituals while picking up Lily from the airport while she races to buy Marshall a souvenir of her trip.
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Ted and Barney set up dates with two young women in a band (Barney repeatedly pulling aside Ted to insist that he not be specific in his plans), planning to meet back at MacLaren's the next night. The next night, with a huge snow storm outside, they sit alone at the bar, waiting for the girls. Barney and Ted beg Carl the bartender to be left in charge of the bar for the rest of the night, as Carl has charity work to attend to. The girls finally show up, along with their "band," which is actually the Arizona Tech Marching Band, filling the bar with dozens of rowdy college students. After being overwhelmed with bartending, and a call from Carl telling them he was returning, Ted and Barney quickly direct the band upstairs to their apartment to continue partying. The band members are very grateful. Barney insists they stick with girls, saying they would give him five in a row on "party school bingo", a game Barney plays annually with playboy's published list of top party schools.
Lily and Marshall reflect on a tradition of Lily bringing a six-pack of beer with her every time she returns from a trip, meeting Marshall at the airport. The couple had decided to end the tradition, but both soon change their minds. First, Marshall gets Robin to drive him to the airport in the midst of a huge snowstorm, arguing with her about the importance of traditions in relationships. They get trapped on the side of the road after a snow plow covers them in snow, but they eventually get to the airport terminal. When they arrive, Lily is not there. Marshall realizes that that day's lunchtime phonecall ritual between himself and Lily had been in a voicemail Lily had left to inform Marshall that her flight was cancelled. Marshall had ignored the call because he felt that all of their traditions were slipping away and that it was a natural progression of their relationship to let their rituals die. Lily's plane has been grounded and will arrive in New York in 2 days (the episode runs Marshall and Lily's stories parallel to imply that they are on the same day).
Meanwhile, after realizing she wants to continue the tradition, Lily panics and tries to find some microbrew beer to give to Marshall. Arriving at the airport an hour early, she encounters Ranjit, and they drive to a local liquor store, only to find that the store only has a keg, 'Supersonic Tonic', instead of a playfully named six-pack. She treks back to the airport, only to find no Marshall. Suddenly, airport residents start playing marching band instruments to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, and Marshall emerges to greet Lily. The players are the marching band from earlier in the episode, following up on their promise to return the favor.
At the end of the episode, Ted is talking to one of the girls when they wonder where Barney and the other went. Barney then bursts out of Ted's room and proclaims "Bingo!"
Future Ted mentions several five-word phrases people will regret saying in addition to "We should buy a bar" from this episode, including Marshall saying "I can jump that far," as seen in The Leap, and Ted saying "I'm gonna win her back," as seen in Weekend at Barney's.
The woman Lily pictures Marshall leaving her for if she doesn't bring him a six-pack looks a lot like 15 year-old Marshall's description of his future wife in a letter to his future self, which Marshall finds in The Window.
After moving the party from MacLaren's to their apartment, Barney and Ted discuss starting a band. In Hopeless, Barney lies to his father about the gang being a band.
The gang talk about buying a bar again in Landmarks, and Ted and Barney open a bar called Puzzles in Tailgate, where they indeed regret doing so. Also, as revealed in How Your Mother Met Me, the Mother's future boyfriend Louis visited MacLaren's while Ted and Barney were running it, causing him to think that it was actually called Puzzles.
We should totally buy a bar. Our bar would be awesome. And dude, dude, dude, dude... the name of our bar... Puzzles. (Ted is astonished by the proposition) People will be, like, "Why is it called Puzzles?". That's the puzzle!
Can't you just leave the place open a little while longer? We'll keep an eye on things.
You two? No way, you wouldn't know the first thing about running a bar.
Serve the hotties first?
Here's the keys.
Thanks for coming by. I monkeyed around with the thermostat for about an hour before I realized it was the intercom.
Yeah, I heard you swearing downstairs.
(mockingly) "Totally! Awesome!" Man, these college girls sound stupid.
Awesome. So here's the thing...
Notes and Trivia
Goofs and Errors
When the shop-owner tells Lily that he only has a Seattle microbrew in a keg, there are Redhook ESB six packs on the shelf behind them. Redhook is a Seattle brewery.
While Redhook is a Seattle brewery, it hasn't counted as a microbrew since the mid-nineties.
Redhook also has a brewery in Portsmouth, NH, which would be more likely to cover their distribution in the Eastern US region, especially New York, rather than the brewery in Seattle.
Since 2006 and the new TSA restrictions on carry-on liquids for American air carriers, it is no longer possible to carry a six-pack of beer on a plane. In all of the scenes set later than 2006, that wouldn't have been permitted.
The image of the storm just prior to the opening theme song is spinning clockwise. In the northern hemisphere, storms spin counter-clockwise due to the Coriolis effect. The landmass shown underneath the storm is clearly North America (the Great Lakes can be seen).