I was griping about this show the other day and saying that if they weren't going to give us more of The Mother this season, then at the very least they could give us another slap to remind us of we are watching a show we once adored. And then in tonight's fall finale they go and give us both, so color me contented… for the moment.
Marshall is still walking to the Farhampton Inn (with luggage and much baby accoutrement) because he couldn't pick up a phone and call a taxi, or one of his friends, or maybe even the inn for a quick ride. Instead, he nearly gets run off the road by a maniac driving a big old van, who turns out to be The Mother. After talking to Lily on the train she hijacked the van to get back at Darren, the lead singer of her band SuperFreakonomics, and used it to go on a quick joyride and pick up Marvin and Marshall. Turns out that Lily told her all about Marshall and the judgeship and while the Mother initially wanted to run Marshall off the road, turns out she's fairly mild-mannered and meek.
She gives the boys a ride and tells them all about Darren (played by Andrew Rannells), the devil who is currently trying to oust her out of her own band. He also has a knack for befriending people and then turning them against their best friend for his own amusement. We see him chatting up Lily and Robin, and then using their obliviousness to prod them into talking about how Robin is rooting for Marshall to "win" the job fight, and how Lily is hogging all of Robin's pre-wedding time. Their fighting doesn't really bring up much new, aside from how Robin just doesn't want her best friend to move (didn't we watch episodes about this last spring?), but it is nice to see some honest and open talking on this show.
Darren (who gets stupidly unnecessary flames in his eyes when he's on the attack) also has his sights on Ted and Barney. They are sitting by the bar and talking about how if you are a true bro, you'd be willing to go to jail for your best friend (all brought on about the grand larceny of scotch stealing, which involves some poor liquor store being taken for over a grand of booze so far this weekend). Out of their bickering, Ted's move to Chicago comes out, but the whole "Robin" thing is kind of glossed over… but at least that stupid secret is out. "I'm moving in two days but didn't want to tell you because I'm in love with your soon-to-be-wife" is just a conversation that needed to be had.
Eventually they all make up (too quickly if you ask me) and while Marshall tries to convince The Mother to be assertive and kick Darren out of the band, she caves and ends up at the bar with the Kennedy package. "Thanks, Linus!" Marshall and Lily are finally reunited and she hits "Pause" on their fight (which she was currently dealing with by punching the hell out of Marshpillow). The gang goes out on the porch to celebrate with the stolen bottle of scotch… which goes crashing to the ground when Darren bumps them. This gets Ted so riled up that he hauls off and punches Darren in his face. Then Darren quits the band, and a delighted Mother buys the mystery best man (Ted) a drink of the bar's best scotch (an even better year than the scotch they keep spilling all over the place) and leaves it with Linus.
As for that aforementioned slap, well, we didn't actually see physical contact so it may just be Marshall torturing Barney a bit, but it does seem that Marshall is willing to haul off and smack Barney as a pre-wedding gift. We can't think of anything we'd like more.