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.
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.
In the scene where Ted is talking about the five words every man eventually says in his life, one of them is Marshall saying "I can jump that far" from The Leap. Another is "I'm gonna win her back", which Ted says in Weekend at Barney's.
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! *laughs* Man, these college girls are lame.