At long last, Barney Stinson met his long lost dad (played by the awesome John Lithgow). Let’s get the weak bit out of the way first. Intermingled with some great scenes between Lithgow and the equally awesome NPH, we saw the other friends calling each other out for all those little things they should know as adults but somehow fail to understand. And come on! Would someone as smart as Robin not know that the North Pole is a real place (or that Jack Kennedy and John Kennedy were the same person)? Would architect/college professor Ted really not know how to pronounce chameleon? Kind of liked the gang calling Lily out on her lack of aim, but the only aspect of the plot that slightly worked was Marshall begging his friends to stop cutting him breaks because of his own father’s passing (the possum was the sight gag, but I loved Barney and Ted struggling to agree that The Phantom Menace was the best of the Star Wars series). Other than that, the subplot sagged.
Back to the A story, while it was pretty obvious that Barney’s version (name drop!) of his drink with Jerry was what Barney wanted his dad to be, Lithgow played the faux father well. But Barney’s dad is no legen-wait for it-dary ladies man but rather a driving instructor from White Plains. So Barney vows to never speak to his father again, which led to another fabulous Marshall moment (he really can’t speak to his father again; side note: don’t you think Jason Segel should get an Emmy nomination for this season’s worth of work?). Barney agrees to dinner with Jerry and his family, and what started off amusing (Barney getting into it with his newly discovered little brother, JJ), turns heavy when Barney realizes the kid got the suburban dad that he was denied. The scene at the basketball hoop? Foreshadowed and excellent. You knew Jerry would pull out a screwdriver to fill in Barney’s gap, but damn if it still worked as did Barney giving the hoop to Ted. And that’s really the story of this season. It takes awhile to get there, but more episodes than not end with a painfully poignant moment. Pretty sure we’ll see Lithgow again. Just surround the next stage of the reunion with a better B plot.