5:30pm PT by Michael O'Connell
'How I Met Your Mother' Reunites Cast Spouses as End Draws Near
If there were any doubts that How I Met Your Mother wasn't rapidly approaching its end, those were likely cleared away by Monday's episode, "Gary Blauman"
The third-from-last episode of CBS' outgoing sitcom focused on endings and wrapped with a little montage sending off many longtime recurring characters with flash-forward resolutions -- including activist ex-girlfriend Zooey (Jennifer Morrison), annoying co-worker Patrice (Ellen D. Williams) pilot cab driver Ranjit (Marshall Manesh) and bartender Carl MacLaren (Joe Nieves).
But the real guest-star focus of the episode was a trio of castmembers' real-life spouses. Cobie Smulders' husband, Saturday Night Live star Taran Killam, returned as the titular Blauman. His (un)welcome arrival at Robin (Smulders) and Barney's (Neil Patrick Harris) wedding prompted the gang to reminisce about their various run-ins with Barney's co-worker and prompted a montage featuring two other HIMYM husbands.
Alyson Hannigan's husband and former Buffy the Vampire Slayer co-star Alexis Denisof reprised the role of flirtatious newscaster Sandy Rivers one last time. This marks his 10th and final appearance on the show, which gave him only the tiniest amount of shared screen time with his wife.
Hannigan revealed during the cast's March 15 PaleyFest swan song that when co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas originally approached Denisof for the role of Robin's co-anchor, he wondered if he should first have to go in and read for them. (Unhirable in the U.S., Sandy moves to Moscow to grope co-workers on Russian state-owned TV.)
The third married castmember, Harris, welcomed husband David Burtka back as Scooter. Lily's high school boyfriend, who never quite got over her, Scooter was revealed to be still working in a cafeteria, though he had finally found a new love: Lily's stripper doppelganger Jasmine (also Hannigan) -- still speaking with a Eastern European accent and now slinging mashed potatoes instead of pole-dancing.
Blauman himself did not get a flash-forward, though 2008 episode "The Chain of Screaming" did imply that he died at some point after becoming a janitor at an old folks' home and ultimately moving into a one-room apartment above a bowling alley.
The final notes for some of these characters don't necessarily mean it's the last they'll be seen. Patrice shows up as one of Robin's bridesmaids in next week's penultimate outing, "The End of the Aisle," and both Ranjit and Carl (recurring characters since the very first episode) appear in the one-hour series finale on March 31.
Only 90 more minutes of How I Met Your Mother remain.