How I Met Your Mother Recap: So, So Many Blasts From the Past -- Plus: A Big First!

How I Met Your Mother Season 9 RecapLest you think How I Met Your Mother was going to skip over the good parts of Ted and The Mother’s relationship, Monday night’s episode delivered another milestone in their romance.

And bonus: If you ever wondered what happened to Zoey, The Blitz, Janet, Kevin and more, we’ve got answers — thanks to the best, continuous one-shot recap!

Let’s review the highlights from “Gary Blauman”:

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WHO’S GOT BUTTERFLIES? | The episode begins Wednesday at 8 pm, three days after the wedding. It’s time for Ted and The Mother’s first date, which is full of the requisite awkward/cute banter and a horrible dining choice (Scottish-Mexican fusion). Instead of going inside the restaurant, The Mother suggests they go somewhere else. But it’s not so easy to do without a reservation, Ted argues as they walk and he launches into the story of Gary Blauman (more on that later).

Along the way, they spot her ex, the one whose proposal she just turned down four days ago. That makes The Mother realize she’s in a weird place and not quite ready to date, so Ted takes her back home. “I guess this is where I leave you,” he says, and you can tell he’s crushed about possibly losing this girl forever. Nine years ago, he would have made an impassioned speech and scared her off, but now, Future Ted tells us, he knows it’s all going to work out. He turns and leaves — but then The Mother calls him back! “Oh, thank God,” he says under his breath. And proving to be a woman who knows what she wants, she goes in for the kiss. She invites him to keep walking with her, but he just stands there staring at her, so she asks what he’s doing. “Remembering this,” he replies. Swoon!

THE CURLY FRY | Gary Blauman (SNL‘s Taran Killam, aka Cobie Smulders’ real-life hubby) shows up at the wedding, but Robin doesn’t remember him RSVP-ing. Code red! Marshall takes charge, promising to find a seat for him. Things get complicated as everyone starts to reveal why they either hate or love Gary. Ted believes the guy tried to steal a girl he was hitting on with Teddy Roosevelt factoids. William Zabka loves him because Gary appreciates his poetry. James reveals that Gary is the guy with whom he cheated on Tom. (Ted’s delighted to learn he was the prize during the Teddy Roosevelt-off.) But as sad as James’ reason for disliking Gary is, Barney’s is the best: He ate one of his accidental curly fries. How dare he?!

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MORE BUTTERFLIES! | Meanwhile, Lily is pro Gary. When she and Marshall were broken up, she listened to a lot of Sugar Ray and almost got an embarrassing tattoo of the singer. But thanks to Gary, she stopped at half a butterfly, which is a lot better than Marshall having to stare at the full tattoo every time they have sex on his birthday, she points out.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW | When Gary initially leaves the wedding, the gang realizes that they might never see him again and that people don’t stay in touch. When you find someone you want to keep around, do something, Future Ted says. Then he reveals that he kept tabs on people and so begins an amazing parade of returning (and mostly unannounced) guest stars as we see their futures. Ready?

Carl is still working at the bar alongside his son; Jeanette (Saturday Night Live alum Abby Elliott) was convicted of sending jars of urine to Val Kilmer — not that one — and was mandated to see Robin’s ex, Kevin (House‘s Kal Penn), who hit it off with the nutso; Ranjit has his own limo service; Patrice got a radio show; Zabka became an award-winning poet; Zoey (Once Upon a Time‘s Jennifer Morrison) is still fighting for her causes; Scooter (Neil Patrick Harris’ fiancé, David Burtka) married Lily’s doppelganger; The Blitz (Lost‘s Jorge Garcia) kicked the gambling habit — just before losing a jackpot; James and Tom got back together; Sandy (Alyson Hannigan’s husband/Angel alum Alexis Denisof) went on to report and be his usual inappropriate self in Russia; and Blah Blah (Suits‘ Abigail Spencer) got a name! (It’s Carol, FYI.) And that was all filmed in one continuous shot, so major props to director Pam Fryman and the folks who had to coordinate all those schedules.

HIMYM fans, what did you think of The Mother and Ted’s first date? Which blast from the past was your favorite?

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