Entertainment Magazine

HIMYM: The Final Page Part One & Two

Posted on the 25 December 2012 by Tvtree @EmmaGThomas

'How I Met Your Mother': "The Final Page" (S8Ep11&12)

  'How I Met Your Mother' references it's canon again and again in one of the most important episodes of the series.
As those of you who watch the show reguarly know, Barney and Robin have both been spinning out of control over the last several episodes. Unfortunately, instead of spinning together they seemed to be spinning further and further apart. Yet we, as loyal viewers, knew that something had to bring them together. Why? Because last season's finale (S7) a flashforward revelead that Robin married Barney (or at the very least that they were both in a church preparing to marry each other and totally freaking out about it...but the show's creators have promised a wedding at some point).
The first ten episodes of season eight definitely did everything in their power to dissuade us from believing that truth. First, they had Barney and Robin drunkenly kiss...and Robin reject him. Then they had Barney tell Robin he was letting her go...once and for all. Robin's reaction to that was less than favorable, and she began to realize her true feelings for Barney. But she never had time to act upon them, because Barney started dating Robin's "arch-nemesis" Patrice (for a more thorough description of the beginning of season eight go HERE).
"The Final Page" was a two-part episode (episodes 11 and 12) and was also the winter finale for the show. In actuality, the climax of the episode felt very much like a season finale, but since the show may not be renewed for a ninth season (and since it would have been painful to watch the writers attempt to drag out the tension much longer), this was a perfect time to air the episode.
Since it was such an important episode (nope...not telling you why yet!), it made sense that so much of the show's canon was referenced.
The first reference was not a direct reference; in the opener Ted revealed that the gang put a huge amount of importance on jinxes. They follow them religiously, and cannot speak once they've been jinxed unless someone present at the time of the jinx releases them by saying their name. In any other show this would seem like a situation contrived solely for this episode, but because of the rest of the 'HIMYM' canon it worked.
Throughout the show the characters have all engaged in a slap bet: a bet that enables the winner to slap the loser. This seems ridiculous and childish (as does a belief in jinxes) but has become a vital part of the show's canon. Hence the believablity of committing fully to a jinx.
And believe me, the audience needed to fully believe that each of the characters would committ to a jinx in order for the episode to work.
Anyway, the episode began with Ted explaining how committed the group was to jinxes. Through the opening narration we learned that the one time Barney broke a jinx he got hit by a truck. Loyal viewers will recall that was the day that Barney first realized that he had feelings for Robin. When they showed the brief flashback of the gang in Barney's hospital room, which looked suspiciously like the moment before Barney first stared at Robin in open adoration, it made me wonder whether the writers were referencing their canon again. Perhaps this episode had something to do with Robin and Barney?
Back to the episode at hand: The gang manages to jinx Barney and, because of his strong belief in the jinx, he stops talking. He doesn't even say anything when he discovers that Ted is going a tad crazy.
Why's Ted going crazy? Because it's (finally!) time for the grand opening of his GNB building and he invited his old architecture professor--the same professor who once told him he would never be an architect. And not only did the professor RSVP "no", but he also wrote a note saying that he doesn't know Ted.
Of course, considering the fact that most of Ted's career has been based on proving this professor wrong (and because, come on, he's Ted), he decides the only recourse is to drive to his alma mater and confront the professor.
Since Lily and Marshall went to Wesleyan too they decide to come along as, for some inexplicable reason, does Barney. However, Barney's still under the power of the jinx, leading the gang to taunt him with sexual inneundo (Lily: "I want a weiner. In my mouth" etc.).
On campus Marshall and Lily run into a creepy guy they went to college with (Seth Green, who just happens to have played Alyson Hannigan's boyfriend on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'; now the show is referencing other show's canons). He drags them to his basement and reveals that a game of hacky sack with Marshall and Lily in college made him a millionare (aka he sells hacky sacks online). Unfortunately, he doesn't reveal this until after Marshall has accused him of bringing them into the basement to murder them.
In reality, the poor guy was just trying to give Marshall and Lily a royalties check. But after Marshall tells him the truth he admits that he doesn't need validation from them anymore and tears up the check (much to Lily's dismay).
(I couldn't help but wonder if the chains in the basement were a further reference to 'BtVS'; Hannigan's character had to chain Green's character whenever he turned into a werewolf. But then that seemed too obscure...or is it?)
At World Wide News Robin has been given the task of firing one of her employees and Patrice's name is on the list. Patrice who, as you may recall, is currently dating Barney.
Earlier in the episode the gang had a conversation about putting people "in a pit". A "pit person" is the one person in your life who you want to get rid of and punish...you just want to trap them in a pit. Lily tells Robin that it's clear that Patrice is her "pit person".
And it appears that Lily's right, because when Robin brings Patrice in for her staff evaluation she fires her. When Patrice asks why she's being fired Robin can't think of any legitimate reasons and begins spouting about how her cookies are "only pretty good" and how she's too nice.
Patrice realizes that Robin is upset about something else and the scene shockingly ends with a teary Robin receiving a hug from Patrice.
Seriously, we all know this is about Barney.
At Wesleyan Ted confronts his old professor but is disappointed by his reaction: he still doesn't remember Ted and he thinks his building design is horrible.
But after meeting with the professor Ted runs into Marshall and Lily who tell him about their encounter with creepy guy. When Ted hears that a truly obsessed man was able to find self-validation he decides that he doesn't need the professor's approval.
Throughout the entire Wesleyan trip Barney is jinxed and silent, but when Marshall and Lily stop for snacks on the way home, Barney is alone in the car with Ted. And Barney makes Ted break the jinx by pulling a huge enagement ring out of his pocket.
Barney then jinxes Ted, because he wants to talk to him without getting interrupted.
Barney reveals that he is going to propose to Patrice on top of the World Wide News building and makes Ted promise not to tell anyone. Ted hesitantly agrees.
Of course, Ted being Ted it is unlikely that he will keep that promise. While Barney seems sincere, I couldn't help but think back to "The Broath" (S7Ep19), an episode where Barney manipulated Ted into revealing information to all of their friends by making him promise that he would't say anything. Was that what was happening here? Was the show again referencing it's own canon?
Ted, Lily, Marshall and Robin are all hanging out at the bar when Lily and Marshall ask for permission to leave Ted's event early. Since it's their first 24 hours without a baby they want to make the most of their time (aka have lots of sex). Ted says that's okay, and admits that Barney isn't going to be there either. The rest of the gang expresses shock that Barney would stand Ted up on his big night, but even faced with their confusion he keeps Barney's secret.
When Robin and Ted are alone at the bar she asks him again what's going on with Barney. He claims he doesn't know and distracts her by asking her to be his date to the grand opening that night. She accepts. Suddenly the writers have put some fear in us...what if Ted doesn't tell Robin about the potential engagment?
Ted does partially cave and tells Marshall that Barney is going to propose to Patrice. He wants to know whether he should tell Robin...he believes that he owes it to her in case she's still in love with Barney. Marshall tells Ted to let it go.  Marshall admits that he's on Ted's side (insert passe Twilight reference here: "Team Tedward!") and that he still believes Ted and Robin will end up together.
That revelation would be surprising, except the show is once again referencing it's own canon. In "No Pressure" (S7Ep17) it's revealed that Lily and Marshall have made long-term bets about their friends. One of these bets revolved around whether Robin and Ted would end up together; Lily bet "no", Marshall bet "yes". That episode concluded with Marshall telling Lily "not yet" when she asked for him to pay up.
Ted picks Robin up in Ranjit's limo. They're both very well dressed, clearly having gone formal for Ted's big event. But now that he's alone with Robin he can't keep the news to himself. He tells her about Barney's plans, including that fact that Barney is planning on proposing on top of the World Wide News building (Patrice's favorite spot in the city).
While Robin keeps trying to tell Ted that she is fine with the news, upon discovering the location of the proposal she massively overreacts, screaming "Damn it Patrice!" (Robin's favorite place in the city is on top of the World Wide News building).
And again we reference the show's canon. "Damn it Patrice!" is a varation of "Nobody asked you, Patrice!", a line that Robin has been saying since "The Stinson Missle Crisis" (S7Ep4). While that line has become grating in recent episodes, mainly because the delivery causes Robin to appear somewhat of a caricature, it was definitely used well in this episode. It enabled Robin to show the true depth of her feelings for Barney.
And those feelings help persuade Ted what he already knew; that the woman he loved (and maybe still loves) is in love with his friend. Instead of driving to the grand opening, Ted has Ranjit go to the World Wide News building. When Robin hesitates, Ted tells her that she needs to go after Barney and not worry about how it makes her look. He says: "I made an ass of myself chasing after you...I have no regrets...because it led to you being my friend".
That line references the show's massive history, flashing us back to the very beginning when Robin was just some girl in a bar who Ted thought was hot. It also enables Robin to let go, to realize that her friendship with Ted will be safe even if she literally abandons him to go chase after Barney. It releases her from the fear which must still exist after their extended separation when she told him she didn't love him back (S7Ep17-21).
Robin heads up to the roof of the World Wide News building, but when she opens the door no one is there. Instead she sees a path of rose petals leading to a single piece of paper. It is entitled The Robin. It's an obvious reference to the plays that existed in Barney's playbook. A book we thought we'd seen the last of since Barney burned it in "Over Correction" (S8Ep10).
As Robin reads the play we see a series of flashbacks, all reinterpretations of scenes from the last several episodes. We see Barney realize, after his break-up with Quinn, that he still love Robin. We see Barney and Robin's drunken kiss, and discover that the lack of follow-through was purposeful on Barney's part. We see Barney tell Robin he's letting her off the hook because he knows it will drive her crazy. We see that he's right and it does drive her crazy. We see Barney ask Patrice to help him in his quest for Robin. We see how Barney watches Robin steal the playbook. We see Barney burn the playbook again, and Robin reads his admittance that he doesn't need it anymore. Then we (and Barney) watch the gang hold the intervention for Robin...on the cameras that he has placed in all of their apartments.
In other words, the last five episodes (since "Splitsville", S8Ep6) have been part of Barney's play. While many people online suggested that Barney was using Patrice to get Robin back, it was gratifying to re-watch the hints the writers had given us...and it was nice to know that Barney wasn't using Patrice; that she was in on the plan from the beginning.
Number 15 on the play informs Robin that she is standing under mistletoe. She stares up at it and when she looks back down Barney is in front of her. She begins screaming at him, asking how he could do this to her, and how she can ever trust him again now that he has manipulated her. He just stands there and takes it, smiling gently. When she seems to run out of the steam he asks her to turn the paper over. The back of the piece of paper says: 16. Hope she says yes.
Robin lowers the piece of paper and Barney is in front of her, down on one knee, holding an engagement ring.
And she says yes.
The music starts to swell and we know we're reaching the end of the episode, seeing the winter finale, nearing the end of the series...
Ted has finally built the GNB building (something first referenced in "Unfinished", S6Ep3).
Robin and Barney are finally engaged (something first openly referenced in "The Magician's Code, Part Two", S7Ep24).
And the writers attempt to hightlight that Ted is still relevant to the show (something that I called into question in last week's review).
A toast is given for Ted at the grand opening: "none of this would have been possible without him...to Ted".
And we know that's not just a reference to his building.
HIMYM: The Final Page Part One & Two

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog