Dec 18 2012 11:18am

How I Met Your Mother’s Ship Has Come In!

Barney and Robin in How I Met Your Mother Season 8 episode 12, The Last PageThis post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of How I Met Your Mother, including last night's Season 8 mid-season finale, episodes 11 and 12, “The Last Page" parts 1 and 2.

For Barney/Robin shippers, this has been a big season, and no episode bigger than the double episode midseason finale. Part of the fun of shipping is following a couple from that first meeting, through the ups and downs of their relationship until it all explodes in a supernova of romance. Long-suppressed feelings finally declared, hard-won commitments made, and in a way that's not only right for the couple but for each individual.


“The Last Page” of Barney's fabled playbook contains his greatest play of all, and, as we hear in Barney's own words, the last play he'll ever need to make. Barney plays this one like Yo Yo Ma plays the cello, tricking Ted into believing Barney intends to propose to Robin's nemesis, the ever-perky Patrice, then swearing Ted to silence. Oh, Ted, did you really ever believe Barney thought you would keep quiet on this one?

Despite the severe consequences of breaking his silence, despite the fact that this was slated to be both the celebration of Ted's skyscraper and Marshall and Lily's first night away without baby Marvin, Ted stays true to form and confesses all to Marshall, asking if he should tip Robin off and soften the blow. But does Ted still have feelings for Robin? Marshall encourages Ted to do what's best for Ted and not think of anything else...which is exactly what Ted does, delivering Robin straight to the WNN building, where he believes Barney is about to propose to Patrice. Does Robin want to do anything about that?

She does. It's Patrice who forces Robin to finally understand that feelings can't be shut off forever—hm, is there a term for a girl bromance?—and all of the feelings hit Robin at once when Ted clues her in on Barney's plans. Barney plans to propose to Patrice on the roof of the WNN building, which happens to be Robin's favorite spot in the entire city. Robin insists she's done chasing after Barney, insists she's over him, over making an ass of herself around him, but Ted reminds her how glad he is that he made an ass of himself over her, because that led to having her as his friend.

Buoyed by Ted's support, Robin heads to the roof and finds no Patrice, but lights, mistletoe, and the last page of the playbook, entitled “The Robin.” This single page spells out Barney's long game, his tricks, his accomplices, the misdirections and maneuvers, all of which put Robin in touch with her...anger. How could Barney think he could manipulate her into dating him again after it went so badly before?

Then comes the kicker. Barney asks Robin to turn the page over, and when she does, she reads the final step in the final play Barney will ever make. “The I Propose: she says yes.” Robin lowers the paper to see Barney down on one knee, offering a diamond ring. No dating this time, but marriage. Robin does, and the crowd goes wild. The crowd meaning shippers, of course, as Barney and Robin are completely alone, this most private of moments entirely and uniquely theirs.

Was this a perfect moment, or was there still something lacking? Do lovers need to exchange the specific words “I love you” for the commitment to seem real? Was Barney being a bad friend by planning his proposal on Ted's big night? Does Marshall encouraging Ted to go after Robin have anything to do with his long-ago bet with Lily? Should Robin have been the one to propose, since she'd rejected Barney so many times? Or does none of that matter because Barney and Robin are now engaged?


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.

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
I do wish Robin had been the one to propose, yes. Like we've talked about before (because I know you feel similarly), Barney has done the lion's share of the chasing and I was SURE Barney's "I'm done" speech was going to lead into Robin realizing she's been an idiot and pursuing him. And while the jealousy in the last couple episodes was nice, Robin was pretty passive (and passive-aggressive) with it. She's been told now, several times, that Barney is CRAZY about her, but does Barney know for sure she feels the same way yet?

And then there's the concern that they've rushed into this engagement (and it was a lovely moment for them--I have zero issues with that) without discussing how this time will be different from their previous failed go-rounds. They can't stay away from each other, clearly, but that doesn't automatically mean being together will be healthy for them; I think it can be, but I want to know how and why.

Oooh, and I'm reminded: what about the children issue? Is it moot now after Barney had his baby craze (last season, was it?) and decided he wasn't actually ready to be a father?

All that said...I've been waiting for this moment for YEARS, and I'm so so so glad the writers have decided to go this way with Barney and Robin.
Anna Bowling
2. AnnaBowling
@redline_, I'm thrilled that Barney and Robin are now officially altar-bound, and they had a beautiful moment despite the fake skyline, but I can't help wanting Robin to be the one who set up the huge, dramatic proposal. I wanted Robin to be the one to play Barney into it. I love what we saw, but I think it could have been even better. Proof positive that shippy shows need romance writers on staff, IMO.

Definitely agree on the issue of children (pun unintended, but I'll go with it) ; now that Barney is over his baby craze, and committed to Robin, but doesn't know about her infertility, how will this impact our betrothed pair?

I do agree that being together is healthy for them, as they're two halves of the same whole, but the how and the why can only add to the richness of this pairing. If the second half of the season can hold up to this standard, it's going to be legen-wait for it-dary.
Heather Waters
3. HeatherWaters
@AnnaBowling -- Oh, that skyline! So hideous.

Yeah, playing the player! THAT would've made for an awesome proposal from Robin.

Ohhhh, he doesn't know about her infertility? I didn't remember that.
Anna Bowling
4. AnnaBowling
@redline_, If that fake skyline is Robin's favorite part of the city, then she hasn't really seen New York.

Robin playing the player and beating Barney at his own game would have been an amazing proposal setup. I'm not complaining about what we got, but that would have been even better, and provided Robin with her chance to go all out for Barney like he has for her. Maybe there's still a chance for her to make a big declaration in some other manner, but dang, it would have been wonderful.

IIRC, only Marshall and Lily know about Robin's infertility. Though Ted set up the AC/DC synched lights display in last year's Christmas epiosde, Robin didn't want to talk about what was getting her down, so he didn't press. Viewers have been assured by the powers that be that the infertility issue will be addressed, though.
5. Franziska
I am glad that Barney proposed to Robin. I know Robin is a strong woman but ultimately she wants to be wooed. Especially since she’s been chasing Barney for a while now. As for Robin not being able to have children… I cannot see Barney and Robin as parents. The world is their oyster, they will enjoy their time together, whether at home, with their friends or travelling the world. Children aren’t necessarily the fulfilment of everyone’s life.
I can’t wait to find out how these two will go about their engagement now. I like to think that Barney has grown up and is so much in love with Robin that there won’t be any need for ogling other women. Unless of course, they both feel so secure in their relationship that Robin can point out a particularly good looking woman to Barney without having to be scared he might do something stupid. And Barney needs to ensure that Robin never feels let down by him like she felt before when they dated.
Anna Bowling
6. AnnaBowling
@Franziska, that's a good point about Robin wanting to be wooed, and Barney definintely came through on that front. I really did have that romance novel happily ever after feeling (any wonder that reformed rakes are such a popular trope?) after this episode and thought to myself that now Barney will never ever even want to look at another woman for the rest of his life; he's got the best one for him already.

How the show handles the infertility issue will be interesting to see, and I agree, Barney and Robin are a perfect pair on their own. They can be the cool aunt and uncle to Marshall/Lily's and Ted's/Mother's kids and lavish all their attention on each other.
Stephanie Ziegler
7. booksbysteph
I loved the way Barney proposed. It was in true Barney- ness. I think anything different would have been weird.

We know the two love each other, but if Robin proposed, Barney would for sure have said yes, but I think he would have trouble wondering if he was actually ready to settle. I think we all know what it's like to love someone forever but still think "what if". Having Barney propose shows that HE is ready.

As for saying "I love you"...totally not needed. You can see the love he has for her in his eyes. I LOVED that final moment when he was hugging her from behind and he kissed her face and nose. I may love that more than the proposal.

As for children, if they ever decide they want them, the show can reflect NPH's real life and adopt. Lilly had a kid the natural way. Robin could show us something different.

There are so many questions about the infertility, but has anyone thought of the wedding, where Ted meets his wife? Is the show coming to an end?
Anna Bowling
8. AnnaBowling
@booksbysteph, I do like that it was Barney who wrote the last page in his playbook and his proposal was beautiful. It also does cement the fact that he is indeed ready for marriage. You're right, he totally said "I love you" in the way he looks at Robin, and the nose kiss...perfect.

Children or not, Barney and Robin make a great couple, and you're right, families come in many different forms, so if Barney and Robin do want children in the future, they could definitely adopt.

It is funny sometimes how the Barney/Robin romance seems to nearly eclipse Ted/mother, when the whole show is about how Ted meets his wife. The show has been planned for eight seasons, but there are still whispers about a possible ninth season.
9. Micheal H
What the hhell with robin. whose friend is she?
dushe. what a canadian. why every american gonna ffukk each other at himym? why every girls are so silly with barney he is a golden boy. nowadays people gonna extramarital. so BAD!
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