Coming Back

HIMYM episode 9x02 (186)

103523 D0087
First aired:
September 23, 2013
Pamela Fryman
Carter Bays
Craig Thomas
Barney's Blog

Images (25)

When James reveals that he is getting divorced, Robin worries about how Barney will take the news. Meanwhile, Marshall races to find a way to get to New York in time for the wedding, and Ted deals with being alone at a romantic hotel.


On Friday noon, (54 hours before the wedding), Ted and Lily try to check in at the Farhampton Inn. When the frontdesk clerk, Curtis, learns that Ted is there alone, he grows condescendingly sympathetic. He advises Ted to stay at a motel as the inn is really romantic, but Ted refuses. He then informs them that their rooms won't be ready for a while. Lily then gets a call from Marshall who tells her that he missed his flight and he might not make it to the wedding. Stressed, Lily arranges a deal with the bartender, Linus, so that she has a drink in her hand at all times, so she can make it till Marshall arrives.

Marshall calls Barney from the airport, telling him about the situation, and Barney suggests that he play it dirty to get a ticket because he is not going to be able to make it to New York by being nice, but Marshall tells him that he will get to New York without being a jerk. Marshall and Daphne are then informed that nobody is going to be able to make it to New York as all the airports are closing down due to a big storm. They are advised to rent a car and drive, but they should hurry up as they cars are going to run out soon. Marshall suggests to Daphne that they should share a car as they are both going to New York, but Daphne runs off before him. At the car rental place, Daphne is far ahead of him in the other queue to get a car. Worried he might not get a car, he prays for a miracle and the miracle comes in the form of the elderly Herm, who (much to Marshall and Daphne's surprise) starts handing out car keys rapidly to everyone and Marshall gets the last one. He then finds out that the car he got, a Monstrosity, is notoriously bad for the environment, but he reluctantly agrees to take it. When he asks for a baby seat, Herm tells them that they are all out. Daphne then suggests that she rent the car, buy the baby seat and come back and pick them up and then the three of them drive together. Marshall happily agrees.

At the inn, the others are sitting at a table with James, and Barney tells them about the "Stinson curse". In 1807 in Moscow, their ancestor's carriage once hit a gypsy woman and she cursed them to get hornier. And for the next two hundred years every male member of the Stinson family got the curse, until James met Tom and they lifted the curse when they got married. When Barney leaves to answer a phone call, James tells the others that he is getting divorced. Ted correctly guesses that James cheated on Tom (repeatedly). Robin asks James not to tell this to Barney. He and Tom are the only couple that makes Barney believe in marriage and he will freak out when he finds out they are getting divorced. However, a drunk Lily accidentally lets this slip in front of Barney and he abruptly leaves after hearing this. Robin runs after him and finds him at the front desk. She thinks he is asking for directions to the nearest strip club but Barney tells her that he is asking for the key to James's room. Barney takes her to the room, where the bed is decorated with rose petals, a banner saying "Love is Awesome" is hanging from the wall and there is even a life-sized erotic cake of James and Tom. Barney then tells Robin that although he is bummed about James and Tom getting divorced, he doesn't need them to believe in true love as he has her now.

At the airport Marshall is about to give up, thinking that Daphne has left him and Marvin, but she comes back. She tells him that they can head to New York together only if she picks the music and Marshall pays for gas. Marshall agrees.

At the inn, Ted is sitting alone at a table at the bar. James comes and sits with him. Ted asks James how he's doing. James tells him that he is trying to be happy for Barney but has a different perspective on weddings, now that he's getting divorced. Curtis then comes to their table and tells James that his room and ready and tells Ted that "she's around the corner". Ted says that he feels it too, but Curtis says he's talking about the housekeeper who is around the corner from his room. As James gets up to leave, Ted tells him that neither of them is giving up. A flashforward to exactly a year later is shown, in which The Mother is sitting at the same table (with present-day Ted shown sitting in the seat next to her). Ted walks up to her and tells her that she's looking beautiful, but she tells Ted she isn't because she's been in a car all morning and had crumbs in her bra. Ted then tells her that exactly one year ago, he was sitting at this table and he made a promise to himself that he will come back and bring her to the inn. She remarks that Ted hadn't even met her a year ago, but Ted tells her he knew he would. He gets up and leaves to check them in.

In the last scene, Curtis tells Ted that his room his ready. Ted goes to his room and finds it filled with stuff from James's room. Frustrated, he leaves to get another drink.


  • Lily's attraction to Marshall's calves is first mentioned in Brunch.
  • Robin gets Barney to cover his ears and hum The Battle Hymn of the Republic in order to discuss James' divorce without him hearing by telling him "it's for the bride".  Barney previously did this to get people do to things for him, including getting girls to give him their phone numbers, in Something Blue.
  • In Barney's fantasy James plays the electric bass left-handed.
  • While Marshall is waiting for Daphne, one can notice a six pack of beer bottles, referencing Marshall and Lily's tradition of bringing a beer back from the place they have visited, something previously done in Three Days of Snow.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Ted thinks Lily smoked on the train in Daisy because he saw her chewing gum at the beginning of this episode.
  • Lily signs up for the Kennedy Package. This and the line "Thank you, Linus" become a running gag throughout the season.
  • Ted visits the lighthouse in The Lighthouse.
  • Marshall tells Lily he won't get there until the The Rehearsal Dinner, but the bus he takes breaks down in Bedtime Stories, so he misses it.
  • Lily orders The Kennedy Package, which The Mother will order in Bass Player Wanted.
  • We learn in Mom and Dad, that Daphne's story about her daughter's U.N. speech was true.
  • James' divorce will be the focal point of The Poker Game.
  • Barney will go to "The Crab Shed" in Sunrise.
  • Marshall will gain control of the music on his cross-country trip at the end of The Lighthouse.
  • This is the first of multiple flash-forwards of the Ted and The Mother visiting The Farhampton Inn.
  • In Daisy it's revealed that Lily ordered non-alcoholic drinks from Linus because she suspected she was pregnant.


For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:Coming Back images.

Memorable Quotes

Curtis: And keys for Mr. Mosby?
Ted: Just one please.
Curtis: Oh... Oh. Oh. That's okay. Hang in there. You'll find somebody.

Curtis: Look at this place... it's so romantic. Countless babies conceived within these walls! ...and one grisly murder.

Ted: I'm not some miserable, lonely person. Tell him, Lily.
Lily: It's a tough weekend for him.
Ted: Bro.
Lily: We're here for a wedding.
Curtis: Ouch.
Lily: And he used to date the bride.
Curtis: Ooh, mama.
Lily: And he's the best man.
Curtis: Devastating.

Marshall: Barney, before you get too upset, there's another flight that leaves in five minutes.
Barney: You're getting on it.
Marshall: I'm gonna try.
Barney: There is no try! You're getting on that plane.
Daphne: Hey, growth spurt, if there is only one seat left on this plane, I will fight you for it. And I'm a biter.
Barney: Marshall, whoever that is, grab her carry-on and throw it into a restricted area. I'm serious. Do it now.
Marshall: What? No—Barney—are you—no—I'm not gonna—that's—no—
Barney: There is no “what-no-Barney-are-you-no-I'm-not-gonna-that's-no”!

Barney: This is a holiday weekend. You're not gonna get to New York by being nice. So you're gonna have to lose the whole Midwestern Aw-shucksy-doodles thing Shucksy doodles? And act like a New Yorker. A pushy, obnoxious, knock-the-other-guy-down- And-take-his-hot-dog resident of the greatest city on earth!
Marshall: No can do, Barney. I'm from Minnesota, Where there's plenty of hot dogs for everyone. Perhaps even too many.

Barney: For the next 200 years every male member of the Stinson family was afflicted by the gypsy's curse: an unquenchable thirst for booty that no committed relationship could ever satisfy. That is until my brother James met his husband, Tom. The day they got married, they lifted the curse forever... Freeing me from the shackles of having sex with lots of different women. Although sometimes, Robin and I still use the shackles. BONDAGE-FIVE!

James: Tom and I are getting divorced.
Robin: What-
Lily: That's why you look extra handsome!
James: I do get extra hot when I'm single.
Lily: Your skin... It's-
Lily & James: Amazing!
James: I know!
Ted: What happened? Why'd you guys break up?
James: The thing to remember is that when something like this happens, it's nobody's fault-
Ted: -You cheated on him.
James: Repeatedly. I though about keeping it quiet but I realized, wouldn't my family want me to be honest with them about news this big?
Robin: Oh... Can I just say... Five things..

Sorry six

James: What!
Robin: I'm sorry about you and Tom but you can't just drop a bombshell like this so close to someone's wedding! You broke the curse! You and Tom are the only couple that makes Barney believe in marriage!
Lily: Really..? The "only" couple? No one else comes to mind? Been together 17 years... She's a spunky redhead... He's got calves that launched a thousand lady boners...

James: Robin, have some faith. Do you really think that what you and Barney have is that fragile?
Robin: I don't wanna find out.

Robin: Vince... Off the table.

Barney: Am I bummed about James and Tom getting a divorce? Obviously. But I don't need them to make me believe in true love anymore. I've got you for that now.

One-year-later Ted: Hey beautiful.
The Mother: Hi.
One-year-later Ted: God, you look great.
The Mother: What? Come on.
One-year-later Ted: You do.
The Mother: I've been in a car all morning. I just ate a croissant crumb I found in my bra. I'm disgusting.
One-year-later Ted: Yeah, I saw you do that, and it was super hot. Come here.
The Mother: You come here.
One-year-later Ted: Come here.
The Mother: No, you. *they kiss*
One-year-later Ted: Hey, wanna hear something funny?
The Mother: Uh huh.
One-year-later Ted: One year ago today, almost to the minute, I was sitting at this very table right in that seat.
The Mother: Oh yeah, I can see it. Nursing your gin and tonic with three extra limes, doing the crossword, probably being all showboaty about it.
One-year-later Ted: I wasn't being all showboaty about it.
Present-day Ted: Vesuvius. Booyah. Oh wait, that doesn't fit.
One-year-later Ted: The point is, one year ago today, I made a promise to myself right at this table.
The Mother: What was the promise?
One-year-later Ted: I'm coming back...
Present-day Ted: ...and I'm bringing you.
The Mother: Wait a second. Hold it. One year ago today, you hadn't even met me.
Present-day Ted: I know, but I knew I would. And now it's a year later.
The Mother: And here I am.
Ted: Here you are. Love in your eyes, baked goods in your undergarments.
The Mother: Yeah. You picked a real winner, Mosby.
One-year-later Ted: I did. …Okay, seriously, what the crap is taking so long with these rooms? It was like this last year. … I’ll be right back.
The Mother: I'll be right here.

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • Marshall says that Daphne wouldn't want to take I-94 to New York through Pittsburgh because it "backs up around Allentown", but I-94 terminates in Detroit. Also Allentown is north of Philadelphia roughly 300 miles away from Pittsburgh so a back up would not affect them in the way he implied.

Allusions and Outside References

  • Marshall mentions meeting Prince at the airport.  He also mentions reading James Patterson at the car rental dealership.
  • Ted's first on-screen words to The Mother are "Hey beautiful", which is the title of How I Met Your Mother's theme song by The Solids.
  • Lily describes Marshall as having "calves that launched a thousand lady boners." This is a reference to Helen of Troy being described as "the face that launched a thousand ships."
  • When Marshall tells Barney that he'll try to get on a plane to New York, Barney yells, "There is no try," which evokes Yoda's line, "Do or do not. There is no try," from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
  • During the flashback to the Stinsons' Russian ancestry, the music playing is Korobeiniki, a 19th century Russian folk song. This song is most widely recognized as the theme to the video game Tetris.
  • The legend of the Stinson curse is a direct allusion to King Stephen King 's 1984 novel, Thinner
  • When Barney and Robin go to James' room, she asks him for permission to eat his "brother's Ding-Dong" and Barney says he'd like to join her. Is this simply an expression of Barney's love of chocolate marzipan, or is it a quiet allusion to Neil Patrick Harris' sexual orientation? 
  • The rental car Marshall gets is called a "Monstrosity" because Future Ted can't remember the real name of the car, but it's supposed to be a Hummer. The name Monstrosity could be a reference to the Maibatsu Monstrosity of the Grand Theft Auto game series.
  • Lily reveals that James and Tom are getting a divorce. While we think it's because Lily's drunk, she's drinking non-alcoholic drinks. This marks the shortest period Lily's kept a secret before blabbing.


Other Notes

  • This marks the first episode we've seen Ted and The Mother talking and interacting with each other. It also marks their first on-screen kiss.
  • The song played when the erotic cake is shown is a slow-jam version of Bang Bang Bangity Bang, performed by Barry Manilow.
  • This episode mentions two names of future Season 9 episodes: Vesuvius and The End of the Aisle.
  • This is first episode in the entire series without any scenes shot from neither MacLaren's nor the Apartment.



Featuring Craig Thomas and Carter Bays.


  • The episode, along with The Locket, was viewed by 9.40 million people.[1]
  • Donna Bowman of The AV Club gave the episode a B+, praising the show's new episode structure, saying the entire season will be "entirely satisfactory" However, she said that she is least anticipating the rest of Marshall and Daphne's storyline, but mentions that it "will no doubt have some good laughs". She also liked the scenes with the Mother, and the idea of a Ted and Robin closure to end the show.[2]
  • Max Nicholson of IGN gave the episode an 8 out of 10.[3]
  • Angel Cohn of Television Without Pity gave the episode a C.[4]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 8.5 out of 10 stars. "...Marshall missed his plane...will he ever get there?"


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