Note: If you haven't seen last night's episode of How I Met Your Mother (8.06, “Splitsville”), read no further. (Seriously! You'll thank us later.)
“I love everything about her, and I'm not a guy who says that lightly, I'm a guy who has faked love his entire life, I'm a guy who thought love was just something idiots felt, but this woman has a hold on my heart that I could not break if I wanted to. And there have been times when I wanted to. It has been overwhelming and humbling, and even painful at times, but I could not stop loving her any more than I could stop breathing. I’m hopelessly, irretrievably in love with her. More than she knows.”
Barney said it. He said it in public, in front of an ice cream parlor full of people and the gang on speaker phone. A romance novel worthy declaration of love if ever there was one, and he can’t take it back now. For Barney/Robin shippers, this is American and Canadian Thanksgivings rolled up in one. It’s Canada Day and the Fourth of July, French fries and poutaine. In the middle of “Splitsville,” a dessert place known as an infamous breakup spot, a romantically awkward Robin finds that breaking up with the very sexy but very dull-witted Nick is more than she can handle. Even when failure to break up with Nick while the gang listens on speaker phone means Barney will send everyone she knows a video initiation to a BFF dinner with her nemesis, the perpetually annoying Patrice, Robin can’t get the right words out. She’s too fidgety, Nick’s too dense, it’s easier to procrastinate, and all seems lost, but for the arrival of a knight in suited armor.
Though Barney starts off in an overwrought, comical tone of voice, it’s only seconds before he’s pouring his heart out and there’s no holding back. Nick—and Robin—get the point. Nick goes home with not one but two fellow dumpees, and Barney and Robin make their exit together, Barney congratulating himself on a convincing performance. Robin, however, doesn’t buy this lighter take on Barney’s passionate declaration. She tells him she found it very convincing, when Barney, still insisting he was just “bro-ing” her out, suggests that if Nick hadn't bought into it as quickly as he had, Barney would have had to kiss her. The tension builds, there's leaning, and then... Cue phone call from Patrice, bubbling over with excitement about her BFF evening with Robin. Whoops, guess what video Barney forgot to cancel. The moment may have passed, and Barney’s still maintaining he acted out of bro-hood and nothing more, but Robin’s too smart to buy that.
With all the obstacles thrown in Barney and Robin’s path, Barney/Robin shippers get a perfect moment in this scene. Despite Ted’s inability to fully let go of Robin, despite Robin’s commitment phobia and her social awkwardness, despite Nora and Kevin and Quinn and too many bimbos to mention, despite a pregnancy scare that culminated in a devastating diagnosis for Robin, it’s scenes like this that show, not tell, us how these two crazy kids set themselves on the path to the fateful wedding where Ted will meet his own true love at last. The question remains, with this much of the season still to go, how much will Robin procrastinate letting Barney know what’s in her heart? However this plays out, it’s sure to be legendary.
Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.