How I Met Your Mother Season 8 Review “The Final Page, Parts One and Two”

I know that technically there was a whole 45 minutes or so of material that came before the last 15 minutes of this week’s two-episode mid-season finale of How I Met Your Mother, but when things fall into place as perfectly as they did tonight, it’s hard to focus on any of the other stuff. So, allow me to start at the end of “The Final Page” and gush for a moment about what might have been one of the best sitcom proposals in recent memory.

Ever since Barney first started hanging around Patrice, I had my suspicions that he was up to no good. I was relieved to find out exactly what Barney’s plan was this time and that Patrice was in on it from the start. “The Robin,” the very last play in Barney’s Playbook could accurately be described as the play to end all plays. Sixteen steps of patient planning and plotting to get Robin to realize what Barney had known all along and what she had been denying for so long – that she had always been in love with Barney.

Ted struggled with his decision to tell Robin about Barney’s plan to propose to Patrice, but somewhere deep down he knew that Robin wasn’t meant for him. Despite knowing the emptiness and loneliness he’d inevitably feel after telling Robin about Barney and Patrice, Ted already knew what Robin wasn’t willing to admit aloud. He was going to give up his last chance at a romantic safety net in Robin because as her friend, he knew that Robin deserved a chance to fight for her feelings.

The fact that Barney was counting on Ted being able to let go of Robin before he would ever be able to propose to her was a great detail that highlighted the strength of the friendship between Ted and Barney. I ended up crying because I was so happy for Barney and Robin and also because I was so moved by Ted and Barney’s true bro-hood.

Robin fought her feelings right up to the very end, and of course, Barney had factored that part of her personality into his calculations. She was right to be angry about Barney’s big scheme, but there seemed to be a feeling of relief mixed in with her anger. Barney set everything into motion and cornered her with her own emotions, putting her in a position where there was no way she could deny to herself or to Barney how she felt. Robin never would have made her way onto that roof knowing that Barney would be there with Patrice if she didn’t seriously hope that there was a chance that Barney would reciprocate her feelings.

There were definitely other parts of this two-part episode that had little to do with the proposal. The jinx bit during Part 1 was classic How I Met Your Mother hijinks, and I loved seeing Lily and Marshall reunited with their awkward friend from college. Ted’s obsession with his old professor brought back that obnoxious and goofy geek side of Ted’s personality that’s always so entertaining. Ted might have come to his cathartic realization earlier if Ted considered the fact that his professor admitted to having been a teacher for the last 20 years while Ted left his career in teaching to become a professional architect. Ted had long ago surpassed the teacher he admired in college and never needed his teacher’s validation at all.

Lily and Marshall’s baby-withdrawal craziness fell into the category of predictable parenting centered story lines that they’ve been getting all season, so this might have been my least favorite plot line of the episode (but I did like watching drunk Lily demand to smell a stranger’s baby’s head.)

There was also a healthy helping of Robin screaming at (or about) Patrice which is always comedy gold in my book. Since Patrice played her part so well in getting Barney’s plan to work, I hope she’ll continue to be featured on How I Met Your Mother and I definitely hope she’ll play an important part at Barney and Robin’s wedding.

There have only been a few How I Met Your Mother episodes that caught me completely off guard and brought tears to my eyes. Despite knowing that there was a proposal in Barney and Robin’s future, the ride getting us to that inevitable end was really well done and this episode hit all the emotional points tied to the story between Barney, Robin, and Ted. All three of these characters have grown up, but they’ve managed to grow together instead of apart. “The Final Page” has rekindled my excitement about How I Met Your Mother and I find myself looking forward to what the rest of this season will bring.