HIMYM returned last night with a great episode ripe with callbacks to classic episodes that would have any long-time fan waxing nostalgic.  A few weeks ago, Barney and Robin shared a kiss while walking home drunk.  Robin said, “No, this can’t happen,” and stormed off.  Last week, Barney proclaimed that he was done going after Robin, just as Ted had done last spring. 

Suddenly, Robin is throwing herself at Barney.  Lily tells her that this is so typical and she always wants what she can’t have, referencing her deadly lobster binge after finding out she was allergic to shellfish.  Against Lily’s advice, Robin decides she has to hook up with Barney one last time to “get it out of her system.”

Robin begins trying everything she can to get Barney’s attention with a great callback to “The Playbook,” one of my favorite episodes.  She tries several plays:  the damsel in distress, the center of attention, flirting with a hot female co-worker.  Lily is disappointed to find out that Robin did not pick her for the flirtation play, another chapter in Lily’s ongoing girl-crush fantasies.  Robin even tracks Barney down at a laser tag game, reminiscent of the season one episode “Zip, Zip, Zip,” where Barney and Robin have their first one-on-one interaction.  Nevertheless, none of the plays work, and the girl on girl flirting backfires into Barney going to hook up with Robin’s co-worker, Brandi.

In a desperate attempt, Robin shows up at Barney’s apartment.  When Barney answers the door, Robin reveals that all she is wearing under her trenchcoat is lingerie (wow, btw, Cobie has still got it).  Surprisingly, Barney reveals that he has been spending the day with Patrice, another of Robin’s co-workers.  He reveals that when he brought Brandi back to the news studio intending to hook up with her, he ran into Patrice.  He says Patrice said he looked sad, and offered him a cookie.  Barney says he realized then that he didn’t want the meaningless hook-up and ditched Brandi.  After all he’s been through with Quinn and all of his escapades, he is now searching for something more.

I really enjoyed this episode.  The callbacks helped remind me what made this my favorite sitcom.  There were some classic moments with the characters in the sub-plots as well.  Barney once again personifies his clothing and mourns the death of his tie when he stains it.  Then in entrepreneurial Stinson fashion, he uses the experience to come up with the idea for “Bro-bibs.”  The bibs have a patern on them to match whatever you’re wearing.  Can I get in on the ground floor?  Ted once again takes on an over-bearing parent role when Marshall and Lily ask him to nanny for Marvin.  Of course he overdoes it by taking Marvin to see Santa for the first time and gets himself fired.  In the tag scene Lily and Marshall exact their revenge on Ted, several years later of course.

If I didn’t know how it ends, I might’ve said this was it for Barney and Robin.  How will they fall back together?  We’ll just have to keep watching.  The legend continues Monday 8/7c on CBS.