“The Last Page”—this week’s double episode that closed out 2012 for How I Met Your Mother—was right out of the show’s playbook. It was a textbook story that finally ended a long-running arc. No, not that story arc; the other one. Finally, and quite obviously, Barney and Robin end up together with a romantic or very creepy proposal, depending on how you look at it.
The first part of the episode dealt with a funny, somewhat meandering plot about grown people believing in jinxes, talking about who would be in their Silence of the Lambs pits and finally wrapping up with what seems like a big reveal.
It kicks off with Marshall and Barney both ordering a Scotch neat at the same exact time, resulting in Marshall jinxing Barney, something a flashback reveals hasn’t happened since the day Barney got hit by the bus a few seasons back. It’s a funny way to shut Barney up for an episode and let his antics take a different course. He mouths Destiny Child’s “Say My Name” draws detailed pictures of a barn and a knee and has his own speech bubble. All of this builds up to the “shocking” (not really) conclusion of the first part.
But meanwhile Marshall and Lily discuss their old college friend (played by Seth Green) who they played hacky sack with once, but he has been lurking in their lives ever since. When Ted goes back to their college to confront a professor (played by Peter Gallagher) who told him he’d never become an architect, the couple go along for the ride and bump into Daryl. Ted realizes that, even though he is the youngest architect to design a skyscraper in the Manhattan skyline, he is insane to seek approval from a professor who doesn’t even remember his name.
This part of the episode deals with the characters letting go of the past and does a good job of setting up the second part of the double header. Finally, in a moment of clarity, Ted realizes he needs to move forward in his life, but accidentally says Barney’s name when they’re alone, ending the jinx. Which returns us to that “shocking” (not really) final scene when Barney reveals he’s going to propose to Patrice.
The second part of “The Last Page” really focuses on the Ted/Robin/Barney love triangle. Ted is sworn to secrecy about the proposal, but eventually caves and tells Marshall. His best friend tells him not to tell Robin, to be selfish and reveals he wants Ted to end up with her. It seems like the Ted and Robin romance is going to pick back up again for maybe a nanosecond, but we all know that was never going to happen.
Ted reveals to Robin Barney’s plans and takes her to the rooftop of her World Wide News’ headquarters to stop the proposal before scurrying off to his building’s grand opening. There Robin finds a romantic set-up, but no Barney and Patrice. She finds a page torn out of Barney’s Playbook that is revealed to be the last page, and more importantly the last play he’ll ever need.
It’s called “The Robin” and details how for the past couple of weeks he had romantically/creepily played with Robin as part of a master plan all leading up to his legendary proposal. She says yes and an arc we all knew had to come to an end finally does.
Part of me is bummed the creators teased us so much with Barney’s wedding to Robin, because it sort of ruined this proposal. We knew it was coming, and the past few episodes seemed like a page out of Barney’s Playbook. Everything was too transparent, and I didn’t get that emotional tingling I got when Chandler and Monica got engaged.
Still, HIMYM fans have to be pleased that the show can return focus to Ted and the mother. If this is the last season (which is still up in the air with CBS, the creators and the actors) then there are only 10 or so episodes left before the final big reveal. Things will move quickly and this episode was the perfect set-up for the show’s ultimate final play.