By Hillary Busis
November 19, 2012 at 12:00 PM EST
Richard Cartwright
  • TV Show

And here we thought that Joe Manganiello’s return was the only reason to be excited for tonight’s episode.

“The Stamp Tramp” featured a potentially life-altering moment for Marshall and a funny, sweet Ted/Lily subplot. But the scene that’s really going to get fans talking is the last one of the episode, featuring Robin and Barney — who has gone from declaring his “fake” love for Robin to kissing her passionately after a drunken night at a strip club.

While the couple’s lip lock certainly wasn’t unexpected — if these two are going to get married this season, they’ll have to stop dancing around each other sometime soon, right? — it was a little surprising that it served as the culmination of such a silly storyline. Robin spent the episode serving as Barney’s “strip club agent,” trying to find a go-to topless joint to replace Quinn’s tainted stomping grounds. Then again, How I Met Your Mother is no stranger to last-minute curveballs; remember “Bad News”? (Warning: Do not read if the thought of our Marshmallow in pain gets you feeling teary.)

And speaking of Marshall — the big guy’s storyline featured a twist ending every bit as punchy as The Kiss. It all began when Marshall ran into his old buddy Brad (Manganiello, rocking a salt-and-pepper wolf beard and hobo chic long hair), who was apparently suffering some “depresh” after being fired from his corporate law job. Because kindhearted, Midwestern Marshall couldn’t bear to see Brad reduced to peddling hot dogs in a creepy costume, he promised to put in a good word for his pal at his own firm instead.

That’s where the episode’s title came in: We learned that Marshall is a “stamp tramp,” a genial guy so willing to put his stamp of approval on anything and everything that the stamp itself loses all meaning. Especially when the stampee is boorish, belligerent, and totally inappropriate, as Brad is when he comes in for his Honeywell & Cootes interview. Between his muffin-stealing, way too much talk about his psychic and his astrologist, and his willingness to let everyone in a room know when he’s about to let one rip, it seems like Brad’s really gone off the rails since being fired…

…until the episode’s end, when we learn that Brad was actually preying on Marshall’s stamp trampitude all along. The entire down-and-out routine was just a ploy so that Brad could get into Honeywell’s offices — he’s actually been working for the pharmaceutical company on the other end of Honeywell’s biggest case all along. Who knew our favorite brunch bro was secretly so devious?

After Brad’s disastrous interview, Marshall had to do major damage control to get back into his boss’s good graces. And now he’s being forced to start at square one once more — if he can’t win this case against Brad, Honeywell will fire Marshall. As Old Ted says, “More on that later.”

Which of tonight’s three storylines was your favorite? Which fake strip club gets your vote for best name — The Melon Patch? Moneyballs? Mouth Beach? (“Honeywell” would totally fit into this list, wouldn’t it?) Is Marshall’s “fsh” joke the greatest joke ever, or is it the greatest joke ever? Will anyone ever get tired of watching dorky college-aged Ted trying in vain to be cool? And who else has that Dishwalla song stuck in their heads now?

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