While Marshall struck me as a guy who prefers his burgers cooked rare, this week's How I Met Your Mother, "Tailgate," was well done. Was it one of the season's best? I don't think so, but it marked a good return from the holiday hiatus and did well to catch us up on each character.
I half expected Marshall to open his own beer on his dad's tombstone so I was glad he swallowed his pride and channeled his father's hospitable spirit toward the end of the episode. I didn't recall the sibling rivalry being so heated between him and his brothers. Nor did I remember his Marcus always being that enormous. Great Galloping Ghost, maybe the Bears would have fared better had they signed him to their roster. He was like a plaid and purple eclipse.
Also, once again, great attention to detail by the show's costume designers, who outfitted Marshall in the Fran Tarkenton for President apron.
Speaking of "tying one on," I thought the MVP of the episode was the dark horse Sandy Rivers, as she provided the best quotes this week. Whether it was referring to himself in the third person, drinking on air or counting down to "two hundred and twelve," he was a nice addition, reliable for a laugh each time the series went back to his storyline.
The same could not be said for the Enigmas of the Mystical, but it did set up the emotional surprise visit from Lily's dad. So much so that I thought it overshadowed the touching close to Marshall's tailgate. If Marshall still wants some time alone with his dad, he might want to dial up Oda Mae Brown.
I'm still trying to decide whether Puzzles was a chute or ladder. Barney's red velvet rope earned him a Slappy New Year, but he and Ted harmonizing was applause worthy. As was their reluctance to take any pointers from Kevin with regard to the bar. Robin was smart though to listen to Kevin's sound advice about going back on air, but did anyone else cringe when he toasted "that's my girl," while sitting next to two of Robin's former flames?
All in all, a solid return and positive start to 2012 by the writers. I was happy to see the only ball dropped this week was in Times Square.
P.S. Did we ever find out why the hats were wet? Please help a HIMYM-brother out if we did.