Sandra Gonzalez
October 25, 2011 AT 05:51 AM EDT

For an episode that was so heavily about Barney and Nora, I sure didn’t have a lot of post-episode thoughts on them. But that’s to be expected when an episode featured a guest star slate as impressive as this one.

When I first learned Chris Elliott, Wayne Brady, Frances Conroy, and Bill Fagerbakke would be returning for the episode, I wasn’t sure in what capacity they’d be turning up. And in my wildest dreams I never could have imagined how they’d all be worked into an episode — especially considering Marshall’s dad (Fagerbakke) died last year. I would have put money on “flashbacks,” but I would have been wrong. As it turns out, the episode took a far less direct approach (and even featured a guest spot that I didn’t know about!).

Barney’s brother (Brady) was visiting when the episode opened, and his presence meant much more than booth crowding. He offered some perspective on Barney’s new relationship, telling the gang that Nora had many eerie similarities to his and Barney’s mother (Conroy). Ewwww. Upon hearing this, Kevin (Kal Penn) told the gang that it was only natural that people seek out significant others who remind us of our parents. Cue uncomfortable silence as everyone reflected. Followed by more Ewwww.

His assessment had a particular impact on Marshall and Lily, who started to have hallucinations about attempting sexy time with their parents. (For Marshall, Lily reminded him of his sandwich-loving father; and Marshall reminded Lily of her father.) As disturbing as these images were, it was also the best part of the episode, in my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved seeing Nora with her tooth knocked out and wearing a rat hat, but I’m still getting used to seeing Barney bend over backward for a girl. I much prefer him bragging about bendy girls in bed. (BAM!) And if we were going to see him taking a submissive role in a relationship, I’d rather it be with someone I want him to be with in the end. Not that I have someone in mind (yesIdo).

Also a highlight this week? Kevin pretending to bond with Ted over Weird Al Yankovic — not to mention an appearance from Weird Al himself! Kevin is slowly humbling himself around the group, and I love that. He’s learning how to hang out — and that’s vastly important if he’s going to stick around for a bit. For that, he’s growing on me.

So what did you think of the episode readers? What did you think of all the guest star action? And did you anticipate in a million years how they’d work them all into this week’s story?

Follow Sandra on Twitter: @EWSandraG


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