This episode starts with everyone in the gang (except Barney) stuck in closets with all of them on their cell phones talking to each other. Future Ted begins explaining how everyone got there.
One week earlier, Marshall and Lily were telling Ted and Robin that Marshall's mother is coming to town and they need to figure out a place for her to stay, and they ask Ted for his air mattress. After Ted refuses, a relieved Lily pulls out a list of hotels and other creative housing options. Marshall tell Lily his mother won't stay at a hotel or their storage unit. Ted explains he won't let them borrow his things because he's tired of his friends borrowing things and not returning them. Ted then shares the story of his ex-friend Stuart, who borrowed Ted's Red Cowboy Boots for Halloween and never returned them, despite claiming to have done so the next day. An angry Ted had called Stuart a "horrible human being" at his daughter's christening.
He then wonders where Barney is since he is "Ted's worst abuser of his generosity". The gang believes he is probably on another date with Patrice. Earlier Patrice had chased down a guy who had tried to take Robin's purse after she forgot it on a vending machine, but dislocated her shoulder in the process. Robin had yelled at Patrice for having scratched the leather. Back at the bar, Robin is questioning whether this Barney-Patrice thing is for real, thinking Barney is trying to get back at her for rejecting him. The gang clarifies that Barney had rejected Robin after she had rejected him, as well as reminding her of when she showed up at his apartment and attempted to sleep with him in her purple-and-black underwear. Angry at Lily for telling Ted and Marshall about this, Robin tells Ted that Lily still has his cooler.
Robin continues doubting Barney's motives for dating Patrice. Ted says that Barney's thing with Patrice is an over-correction: Barney broke up with Quinn, a stripper he never really trusted, and now he's over-correcting by dating her exact opposite: warm and nurturing Patrice.
Back in the apartment, Lily expresses her concern over Ted, explaining how they are now parents, and everyone else in the gang, including Barney, had moved on. She suggests to Marshall that his mother stay with Ted, but Marshall says no. Lily explains that with her father nannying Marvin all the time, the apartment will be over-crowded if Judy comes to stay as well.
Robin comes to the apartment, claiming that Barney is not serious about Patrice and says that they need to keep trying to stop this from happening. She admits that she's been trying to tell Patrice who Barney "really is" by telling her about Barney's playbook. But Patrice is still confident that Barney is her honey bear (actually the name of one of his plays). After failing to convince her, Robin then yells at Patrice for not believing her, shouting, "Why won't you let me help you, Patrice?!"
Robin says that it "breaks my heart" that Patrice doesn't see that Barney is obviously using her, claiming that she "loves" Patrice like a sister. She reveals her plan to steal The Playbook and show it to Patrice, so that she will believe Robin. Marshall suggests she not do anything else and not "sound so creepy." Ted tries to convince her this obsession isn't right, and she needs to let it go. Robin thanks him for talking some sense into her. However, Robin still breaks in into Barney's apartment by drilling Barney's door with Ted's drill.
Marshall's mom has arrived and tells Lily that she's been thinking about getting back into the dating world and meet a nice man, and tells her to not tell Marshall because he isn't ready. She wants some advice from Lily. Lily tells her throw out any giant sweater with a horse, even the ones with real horse hair on the mane. She also encourages her to "let the gals play a little more," and, when Judy is confused, opens up the buttons on Judy's shirt, to which she responds, "You mean the Minnesota Twins."
Meanwhile, Robin breaks into Barney's apartment and searches for the The Playbook. She is about to give up on ever finding it until she accidentally opens a vault-like hiding place, only to find The Bro Code. Robin then tries to get a drink, revealing another vault that contains David Lee Roth's autobiography. When Barney gets home, Robin quickly hides in a suit closet in Barney's bedroom. Barney, meanwhile, is on the phone with Patrice. He tells her to come to his apartment so they can begin setting up Christmas decorations with a tree and says, "There's not one reason to leave this apartment for even a second tonight."
Robin calls Ted from her cell phone in Barney's closet. She asks him to help get her out and she'll return the Weekend at Bernie's DVD she borrowed. He tells her that is not enough to involve him in her crazy mess, but he accepts when she offers to also go with him to "Bernie-man."
Marshall is in the kitchen and hears his mom doing baby talk in the baby monitor, saying, "Someone's excited to see me!" Judy then asks, "Who's momma's big boy?" Marshall realizes he's holding Marvin, then hears Mickey's voice on the monitor, saying, "I am, and I've been bad!" Marshall opens the door to Marvin's nursery, covers Marvin's eyes and shouts, "Get off my mommy!".
Back in Barney's apartment, Barney begins juggling with three of Ted's Christmas ornaments when there's a knock on the door. Immediately breaking the ornaments, he opens the door. It's Ted, saying Hugh Hefner is in the lobby of the building. Barney runs to grab his robe and pipe from Robin's closet, narrowly avoiding her. Ted then realizes Barney has his ornaments, though Barney denies it and runs to the lobby. Robin gets out of the closet, then continues looking, briefly opening the katana that contained the Bro Code vault. She trips over and runs into Barney's Storm Trooper and another secret hiding place which has The Playbook.
In the apartment, an extremely shocked Marshall, also covered in a blanket, asks his mom why she'd "do that with Mickey." She admits she has been lonely and that all of the men in St. Cloud's idea of romance is taking her ice fishing. She says that ice fishing was her and Marshall's father's thing. Besides, she might have over-corrected, but it's nice being with a "sophisticated, big-city man" after being with Marshall's father for so long. Mickey comes out of the kitchen, pants-less, belching and drinking juice from the container, wearing Ted's lost sweatshirt, and tells Marshall he doesn't get why it's a big deal, since "You've been been bumpin' uglies with my daughter for years. The second I climb up on your mom, it's the end of the world?" Marshall, disgusted, runs hurriedly to the closet.
Meanwhile, Robin hears Barney and Ted coming back from the lobby, Barney is annoyed at Ted for thinking that a black guy in the lobby was Hugh Hefner. She quickly hides the Playbook's vault and races back to the closet, but doesn't have time to take her purse. She immediately calls Ted back and asks for help again, but he refuses and begins to hang up. Robin then reveals that she is staring at Ted's red cowboy boots in Barney's closet. Ted wonders how they got there.
A flashback reveals that Stuart had actually returned the boots to Barney at the bar. Stuart told Barney that his wife borrowed them to dress as Wonder Woman for Halloween, adding, "Can you believe Ted thinks a guy can get laid wearing these?" Barney immediately says, "Challenge Accepted". Robin pulls out a pocket knife and threatens to cut the boots with her pocket knife. Ted then counters that it's actually his pocket knife, which Robin had borrowed two years ago. Robin then notices that the pocket knife contains a label that marks it as property of Ted Mosby.
Ted comes back to the door, apologizes for the Hugh Hefner mix up, and tells Barney that Jon Bon Jovi is downstairs. Barney, still bitter, asks if Ted confused Bon Jovi with his landlady, Mrs. Takahashi. Ted tells him he is serious, that Bon Jovi is in the lobby, literally standing next to a sign that reads, "Slippery When Wet" since the janitor just mopped the floor. Barney doesn't buy it and closes the door on Ted, who demands his ornaments back. After the door is shut, Ted receives a picture in his cell phone of Robin holding the pocket knife threateningly to the boot's "neck".
Ted sneaks back in after Barney turns his back and grabs Robin's purse. He then sneaks into Barney's kitchen when someone knocks on the door. Barney goes to answer the door and, believing it to be Ted again, yells at him that he could have his ornaments back after Christmas. He opens the door to reveal Patrice, who has Ted's Rudolph decoration which she took from Ted's fire escape. Ted then sneaks into Barney's living room closet.
Ted calls Robin to tell her he got her purse, but he's stuck in a different closet. Robin decides to call in The Wolf: Lily. She dials Lily and hears a phone ringing and opens the door to see Lily hiding in another closet in Barney's room. Before Lily can tell her why she is there, she gets a call from Marshall, and the scene shown at the beginning of the episode takes place.
Lily runs over to the closet Robin was hiding in before Barney returns to the bedroom, and they hide together while Barney gets a tree topper from the closet. Lily explains she's been using Barney's apartment to pump breast milk because her apartment has gotten so crowded that she can't get a minute to herself. Since she has a key to Barney's apartment, she can enter into the apartment, sit on the couch and watch all of Barney's taped The Real Housewives episodes, including the reunion specials. To keep the milk cool, she uses a mini-cooler that she'd borrowed from Ted and never returned.
When Lily heard Robin breaking into the apartment, she ran and hid in the bedroom closet. Robin tells Lily she broke in to find The Playbook and show it to Patrice, so that she can see who Barney really is. Lily asks why she can't let them be happy and Robin says it's because Barney couldn't really be happy. We then hear Barney ask Patrice to go to the bedroom to grab his computer because he wants to change his Facebook status to "happy." Lily tells Robin she shouldn't have The Playbook in her hands, to which Robin agrees and puts it on Barney's bed. Meanwhile, Ted finds his label maker in Barney's living room closet.
Marshall, still in his closet, shouts at Judy and Mickey, who are outside, that he is never getting out. Mickey, who is passing water between two cups in an attempt to lure Marshall out, tells him that he has been there for a while, and that he also noticed that Marshall drank a super big cup. Marshall tells Mickey that it won't work as his bladder is "as big as your betrayal". Mickey continues to tempt Marshall into going into the bathroom, but it backfires and Mickey ends up going into the bathroom.
Patrice finds The Playbook and asks what it is. Robin gleefully wonders how Barney is going to lie his way out of this one. However, Barney actually admits that the Playbook is the book of tricks he's used to get women to sleep with him. He tells her about one of the plays, the "Two Can Play at that Game", and we see a flashback of Barney performing the trick, which consists of Barney approaching a married woman and telling her that his wife is having an affair with her husband, showing her a list he found of all of the dirty ways that they've been enjoying each other's bodies. He tells her that he wishes they could think of a way to get back at them. The married woman suggests that they could kill their respective partners and Barney, put off by the idea, leaves her and goes to perform the trick on another married woman.
Patrice gets angry at Barney and prepares to leave. They go out on the balcony to argue over it, and Robin and Lily try to make their exit, but only make it to the living room and end up hiding in Ted's closet. Ted also recognizes Lily's cooler as his own. Barney tells Patrice that while he may have done everything mentioned on the Playbook, Patrice inspires him to be a better person. Patrice tells Barney she can't be with a man who has a Playbook, so Barney tosses it in the trash and sets it on fire. Robin, Lily and Ted all look and say, "Whoa!" Ted then notices that the garbage can actually belongs to him as well.
Patrice happily tells Barney she knew he was a keeper and hugs him. Barney puts out the fire when the smoke alarm goes off, then leaves to tell the super, asking Patrice to come with him on the off chance that Jon Bon Jovi really is in the lobby. Patrice exclaims that You Give Love a Bad Name is the first track on her Get Psyched Mix and Barney says that says that it is the first track on his Get Psyched Mix too. After exiting the closet, Robin asks Lily if she still thinks that Barney and Patrice aren't for real, and Ted gets back his cooler, but returns it to Lily upon realizing the breast milk spilled. He claims that the Ted Mosby store is officially closed, also saying that he gives and gives, only asking for a little bit of respect.
Lily gets home and Marshall is still worked up about his mom being ready to "get back out there." Lily tells Marshall that he has to let his mom "get out there and rediscover her sexuality with someone special." Marshall then realizes that Lily doesn't know about her father being with Marshall's mother, though Lily believes that he is just grossed out because of Judy finding love with someone else despite being his parent, but that it is actually beautiful. Marshall then tells her his mom and her dad are humping. Lily, disgusted, then immediately pukes into Ted's cooler.
At MacLaren's, Barney says they should be happy for them. He tells them that he respects Mickey, since Judy is "a piece". She isn't Ted's mom, but she is a piece. He then goes on to say that "sometimes you go for someone you'd never expect, but that doesn't make it wrong. Doesn't everyone deserve to be happy?" The whole group is stunned as Barney goes to the bar to buy another round. After asking Robin if she believes that Barney is still faking, Robin seemingly agrees.
However, she now thinks Barney has completely lost his mind and advises the gang to hold an intervention for him, since she thinks that the sudden change in Barney's behavior is a cry for help. She says that if she were this out of control, she'd want them to have an intervention for her. They all agree. Robin later shows up early for the intervention, and is giving them tips on how to do the intervention for Barney when she realizes that the intervention isn't for Barney: it's for her.
Marshall and Lily vehemently apologize to Judy and Mickey for the way that they acted when they found out about them. They say it's alright with them if Judy and Mickey want to date, but Mickey and Judy say they aren't dating. It's just sex. "We're family," Mickey says, "with benefits". Marshall and Lily are then seen shivering in their own closet, both blanketed, jointly puking into Ted's mini-cooler.
|Josh Randor||Ted Mosby|
|Neil Patrick Harris||Barney Stinson|
|Cobie Smulders||Robin Sherbatsky|
|Jason Segel||Marshall Eriksen|
|Alyson Hannigan||Lily Aldrin|
|Ellen D. Williams||Patrice|
|Suzie Plakson||Judy Eriksen|
|Amy Holland Pennell||Christy|
- "How Lily Stole Christmas"
- "Little Minnesota"
- "False Positive"
- "Symphony of Illumination"
- "The Final Page"