The first eight minutes of  How I Met Your Mother set high standards for the rest of the episode. Luckily, the hour-long presentation of “The Final Page Part One” and “The Final Page Part Two” lived up to its hype. Guest stars Seth Green and Peter Gallagher distinguished themselves on a night full of important moments. It was a winter finale no fan should’ve missed.

The Players:

Episode Title: “The Final Page Part One/Two”

Barney’s plan to propose to Patrice leave Ted debating whether or not to clue Robin in. Meanwhile, Lily and Marshall run into a friend from college.

The Good:

  • Scotch Neat: Using the jinx to revisit the day Barney got hit by a bus was a nice blast from the past. Any reason to see Lily in that adorable red dress again is completely valid. Plus, it brings a little explanation—albeit a ridiculous one—to that fateful day.
  • The Three Hackmigos: Besides a brief Buffy The Vampire Slayer reunion Seth Green’s role poked fun at two annoyances: people who hang on to old college memories and people that use social media improperly. In Marshall and Lily’s case, these aggravations can be centralized in one person. No matter how you pity pathetic people like Creepy Darryl, they can end up doing a lot better than you assume. Even if their basement is oddly reminiscent of Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
  • Destiny’s Child: You’d think making Barney silent for the first 25 minutes would kill the episode. But you’d be wrong.  The elaborate rules of the jinx are the kind of gag that we adore from this group. Watching Barney silently plead for someone to say his name, and that written out scream from the depths of Darryl’s basement made the first half of the night worth watching.
  • Lotion Up: Commitment keeps Cobie Smulders above the grade. If she didn’t throw every bit of herself into her unbridled rage at Clarice/Patrice, it would have stopped being funny a long time ago. Coupling that with Robin’s impression of Buffalo Bill was a genius move. It wasn’t completely accurate, but it had the lingering creep factor that’s necessary to pull it off. Since Robin wept in Patrice’s arms, it’s safe to assume their conflict is over. All the more reason to pay tribute to an actress bringing stellar skill to a simple character trait.
  • Good Night: Of course Lily and Marshall have a ridiculously long and over dramatic bed time tune for their newborn; it fits their character. They also seem like the type to put their second born into a vibrating chair and call it a day. But any excuse to showcase Jason Segel’s musical prowess is a good one. Plus, what about Lily’s surprise violin accompaniment? How much more awesome can one fictional couple get?
  • The Guilt: The first full night away from your newborn is a nerve-racking night of highs and lows. Flipping between a desire to show off how far Pilates has taken you and needing to smell your son’s scalp is real. Coming to terms with the knowledge that—as long as they’re being properly cared for—your newborn doesn’t need you is even harder. Escaping the emotions with alcohol and insulting the parents that actually found a tuxedo onesie for the black tie gala are fairly realistic and entertaining reactions. It may seem like all the Erikson’s plots have revolved around Marvin, and for the most part that’s true. But it’s refreshing for a show to remain so committed to their infantile cast member.
  • Ranjit Out: It’s been forever since we’ve seen our favorite chauffer and his presence seemed appropriate. Ranjit has attended many big moments for the How I Met Your Mother crew. Some conversations are too good to ignore; we’d wager watching Robin work through her fear about confronting Barney would be one of them. Even knowing he was behind the partition—sort of—sending text message responses to Robin’s rage was almost as much of a comfort as his patented, “Hello!”
  • The Long Con: Every feeling we had that Barney had been up to something was validated. The most glaring and hilarious part of the plan’s unraveling was the group’s lack of boundaries. The concept is old hat but the cameras Barney put in Marshall and Lily’s take it to new heights. It was necessary for Robin to have a strong negative reaction to the revelation that her life for the past month was nothing more than an elaborate scheme initiated by Barney’s playbook.  But it’s a sad truth that men can get away with a great number of crimes as long as they present their tortured love with a sparkly ring at the end. If they’re made for each other, that helps too.
  • Uh-Oh: Ted went on quite an emotional journey. Not only did his addition to the New York City skyline open, but he dealt with a long suffering grudge. Trailed by friends who came for a campus visit and stayed for his eventual breakdown, Ted was forced to come to terms with his lack of emotional growth. If that wasn’t enough, he was also forced to confront the notion that he still hadn’t given up on Robin. He admitted he’s the king of making an ass out of himself. Then, he actually gave her up. For Ted, this monumental character development is what he needs to ready himself for the real love of his life.

The So-So:

  • Pit Guy: It’s crazy that the HIMYM crew would be ignorant of any reference to the lotion-wielding serial killer in The Silence of the Lambs. It’s not Silence of the Lamb-ing, or making someone your pit guy. Since they made it into a pretty useful plot device it wasn’t that bad. But still HIMYM, you’re better than that.

The Quotable:

  • “Marshall, I’m a grown ass man. I’m on my buildings co-op board. When I say a pinot noir tastes luxuriously earthy with a hint of rhubarb, I’m not faking it. I’ve had several of the same sex partners as Henry Kissinger. I’m not about to stop talking because I got jinxed.” -Barney
  • “I don’t think so pal. This is going to be a long jinx, like Yom Kippur services long. The only difference is Yom Kippur is a fast and this is gonna be a slow.” –Ted
  • “I should go; Marvin’s sleeping in my arms. His head smells like love.” -Mickey

Overall:

No one could have imagined how great “The Final Page Part One and Two” would be. There’s Barney and Robin’s coupling, and Ted’s continued evolution.  Now all we need is a few more hints about The Mother to feel complete.

Rating: 9.5/10

How I Met Your Mother airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. on CBS.

What did you think of this episode?