“Columns” features the return of Bryan Cranston as Hammond Druthers. Future Ted tells his kids he has always wanted to build a skyscraper but now that he is close to his dream, Hammond Druthers is making him miserable. Anytime Ted brings up an idea for the Spokane National bank building, Druthers criticizes it. Eventually Ted meets with his boss and is told to fire Druthers. After a warning from Robin to pick the right moment, Ted tries to fire Druthers but is interrupted by the office celebrating Druthers’ birthday. Ted tells Robin and Barney his authority was comprised when someone put a party hat on him. Later that night, Ted stumbles onto Druthers’ sleeping in the office. Druthers confesses to Ted that his wife recently kicked him out of the house and he has been sleeping at the office until she cools down. Ted tries to fire Druthers again but ends up taking him back to his apartment to sleep on the couch.
The following morning, Druthers and Ted share a cab to the office and appear to connect as friends, Druthers even gives Ted some words of encouragement. As soon as Ted begins discussing his ideas for the building, Druthers reverts back to his old self and torment Ted in front of their coworkers. Ted eventually works up the courage to fire Druthers but is interrupted by Druthers getting served divorce papers and the office singing “Happy Birthday” a second time. Ted puts his foot down and continues with firing Druthers, even after he appears to have a heart attack and fall on the floor. As the EMTs wheel Druthers away, Ted tries to speak to the office but they all hate him. Future Ted tells his kids he won back the office by declaring every Friday, “Margarita Fridays”, the smartest professional decision he ever met.
Meanwhile, Barney discovers a hidden nude painting of Marshall. Barney, Ted and Robin become overjoyed at the thought of embarrassing Marshall with their new found discovery. Later the group hints at the discovery and we find out through a flashback that the painting was from Lily and Marshall’s time in college. College Marshall didn’t like the idea of Lily painting another guy naked making him her model by default. Marshall to vow to destroy the painting but he painting is no longer behind the piano. Barney admits he hid the painting but Marshall immediately heads to MacLaren’s to find it. There, behind the bar, stands the painting. Marshall tries to purchase the painting from Carl but he politely refuses. Marshall eventually steals the painting and bolts through the exit.
After Robin and Ted leave the bar, Barney offers to pay Lily 5,000 dollars to paint him naked. Lily agrees to think about his offer and discuss it with Marshall. Marshall gives Lily his blessing after he finds out she wants to use the money to pay for their honeymoon in Scotland. Shortly after Lily begins painting Barney in his boxers with a sword, Marshall realizes he can’t let her finish. Just as Barney starts to slide his boxers off, Marshall interrupts and demands Barney to leave. With Barney on the other side of the closed bedroom door, Marshall yells at Lily for painting Barney nude but whispers he thinks they can get more money to pay for a trip to a castle. Marshall opens the door and to no one’s surprise Barney was eaves dropping. Barney offers an additional 5,000 dollars to which Marshall immediately accepts. At the end of the episode, Lily finished the painting and leaves Barney to bask in his glory but to his surprise, Lily left out “little Barney” or as Barney put it, “She made me a Ken doll.”
While “Columns” did not shed any new little on how Ted met their mother, it did give us a small glimpse to Lily and Marshall past and the effects of their choices. The episode also showed us the first time Ted had to fire someone and was even his demented former boss Hammond Druthers. This was definitely a filler episode but it was filled with numerous hilarious scenes including Marshall bamboozling money from Barney.
My favorite scene was when Marshall tried to bargain with Carl for the painting and Carl’s only response was “doubt it”.