Since March of 1998, during their sophomore year, Marshall and Lily have always picked up one another from the airport. Since they're now carless, they try to convince themselves and everyone else that ending this tradition is the mature thing to do, and that Marshall won't be meeting her plane from Seattle, and Lily won't be bringing a six-pack of souvenir beer. However, they've already stopped telling each other what they've eaten all day (it's a thing, okay?) and they slept through this year's New Year's kiss, and it's bugging them both. Ted mourns their lost traditions, because they're symbols of the kind of commitment he craves, and he continues with the mourning and the craving, until Barney makes a connection with two adorable college girls from Arizona Tech, who are in the city to play with their band.
Meanwhile, the city is socked by the Blizzard of '09 -- a three day storm. APPARENTLY THAT IS A VERY IMPORTANT DETAIL. Barney and Ted ride out the storm in an otherwise empty MacLaren's, waiting for the co-eds. Carl gives them the keys so they can stay in the pub to meet their girls -- but leaves strict instructions to lock up as soon as the women arrive, and not to let anyone trash the joint. Ted and Barney are trashing the bar all by themselves in an ill-begotten attempt to imitate Tom Cruise (in Cocktail not in couch jumping -- don't be glib), until their girls finally wander in. The brunette is a Star Wars fan, so Ted calls dibs. The blonde has Daddy issues, so Barney calls dibs. Several times. The girls talk the guys into keeping the bar open until their band shows up. Unfortunately -- we're not talking rock band or jazz quartet here -- but rather the entire Arizona Tech marching band. Against Ted's better judgment and Carl's instructions, Barney convinces Ted to keep the bar open and things go downhill from there. When Carl calls to say he'll be back to the bar in five minutes, Barney and Ted evacuate the party to Ted's place.
While Marshall fixes the radiator in Ted's apartment for a sweltering Robin, she says Lily will probably bring him a six pack of souvenir beer, even though he's not meeting her. He feels badly and imagines Lily getting picked up by a French guy, so he decides to continue their tradition, after all. Coincidentally, Lily's elderly seatmate on the plane points out to her that Marshall sounds so nice that he'll probably show up for her, anyhow. And so Lily imagines a foreign, blonde supermodel-type deplaning with souvenir beer, and stealing Marshall away. When the captain announces that their flight is set to arrive an hour early, Lily screams in delight.
Lily runs into Ranjit at the airport (RANJIT!) -- who ditches his customer to get Lily to "Brewniverse" in East Meadow to pick up a Seattle micro-brew, and then back to the airport, in an hour. In a blizzard. At the store, they discover there's no six pack waiting for them -- but rather -- a whole keg. Ranjit refuses to take a keg in his cab until Lily bribes him.
Elsewhere, and despite their arguments on the road and Robin pulling over -- thereby causing them to get plowed in -- Robin and Marshall finally end up at the airport – and yet Marshall and Lily don't find one another. That's because this is a three day storm -- REMEMBER -- and they're at the airport on different days.
What? Yeah, I know, but playing with time is what this show does best, so just roll with it, 'mkay. After a bunch of exposition from Saget!Ted that is nearly as complex as string theory, or maybe is actual string theory -- we learn that the first time Marshall showed up to the airport, he did so after missing Lily's voice mail informing him that her flight would be delayed a couple of days because of the Blizzard of '09. When he shows up on the right day, he has the Arizona Tech Marching Band pave the way for him, and sweeps Lily off her feet, and leaves me to create a timeline on a piece of graph paper I lifted from one of my kids. Awesome. I hope I figure out how to relay this in an orderly fashion before my weecap deadline.
Discuss this episode with other fans and come back on Wednesday for the full weecap.
In March of 1998, in their sophomore year, Marshall surprised Lily by picking her up at the airport, chauffeur hat on head and "Lilypad" sign in hand, and Lily surprised Marshall with a six-pack of a locally brewed beer she picked up on her trip: "Fort Lager Ale. Get it?" It became a ritual between them. We see a shot of Lily from 2002, wearing the hat and bearing a "Marshmallow" sign, as Marshall deplanes, wearing a "Twins" shirt and saying, "Minne-Cidar. Get it?" In February of 2008, Marshall's picking up Lily again, and she's got the beer. "Aspen Yards Ale. Get it?" Marshall admits he doesn't but Lily doesn't either, so all's well here, except I suddenly have a toothache from the sweet.
At MacLaren's, in January 2009, Marshall announces to Ted that he's not picking Lily up from her trip this time. Lily doesn't see the sense in him taking a cab all the way out to the airport, only to take one back home. Marshall holds his glass of white wine (!) as if he were holding a brandy snifter as he explains, "As the relationship matures, we mature with it." So I guess it wasn't just "Arrivederci, Fiero", but also arrivederci traditions (and goodbye fun). Sensible, but sad. Ted argues for maintaining the tradition because Lily and Marshall are such an inspiration, and when he sees what they have he knows that's all he wants in the whole world. So of course Barney runs in and tells Ted there's two easy-looking college girls outside, and Ted leaves Marshall and their booth like a bat out of Hell.
Outside, he stammers to the girls about how they're from Arizona and how he's always wanted to see an Arizona license. Barney whispers, "I already ran that play, bro. They're 21. We're good." Not so fast, Barney boy. That cute little blonde you're sparking is Dean Winchester's mom. Now, I'm not saying Dean wouldn't admire your style, but if you were trying it out on his mother, when she was just a wee college girl in the big city, "overkill" wouldn't begin to describe what he'd do to you. I'm just saying. Anyhow, the girls are in town with their band. When Ted suggests he and Barney go hear them play, Barney pulls him back in the bar and gives him a lecture about how they're the older, cooler guys. "If we see them play, we're no better than the bleach-blonde bimbos who flash their boobs at a Van Halen concert." Ted notes to Barney that those girls get to have sex with Van Halen after the show. Barney says, "If you want to have sex with Van Halen, do it on your own time, Ted. We are not the maybe-we-can-come-see-you-play guys. We're the other guys, the older guys who never showed up and whose approval they now crave." Okay, whatever, Barney, but let's back up a tick. Does anyone still want to have sex with Van Halen? I mean, you can't even find pictures of the band on their website, save a far-away shot of Eddie, and he's standing with two classic cars, which helps anyone look better. Ted realizes Barney's working the Father-Issue angle, and surprisingly, he's all right with that. It seems they're actual wingmen tonight, rather than paying the idea a lot of lip service.