How I Met Your Mother Recap: Barney Rings in the Holidays -- Now Updated With Photos

The Final Page, Part One And TwoIf you have yet to watch Monday’s How I Met Your Mother, avert your eyes now. Everyone else, you may proceed…

Monday night’s special holiday episode of How I Met Your Mother gave viewers quite a gift: Barney and Robin got engaged!

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Leave it to Barney to propose to his ex via an incredibly elaborate plan. Perhaps knowing that a ring in her Scotch just won’t do, Barney enlists Robin’s work nemesis Patrice in his scheme by pretending to date her and spilling to Ted that he’s planning to ask her to marry him. In actuality, she helps Barney orchestrate the romantic moment in which he pops the question to Robin.

But first, let’s rewind to the beginning of the hour, which finds Barney jinxing Ted into silence as he announces his intentions. Barney makes his pal promise that he won’t try to talk him out of it and that he won’t tell anyone. Ted agrees to the terms, but knows he should tell Robin. However, he ends up asking her to be his date to the unveiling of the GNB tower instead and spills Barney’s secret to… Marshall.

“What is wrong with me?” Ted exclaims. “Deep down, is there still some crazy part of me that thinks I’m going to wind up with Robin? Am I that deluded? If so, I need to grow up.”

He continues: “Robin deserves the chance to go after Barney one last time if that’s what she wants.”

But Marshall believes Ted and Robin could still end up together, so he tries to convince Ted to keep mum and be selfish for once.

In the limo on the way to the GNB event, Ted reveals the truth about Barney’s plans to Robin. She insists she’s not in love with him and instructs Ranjit to proceed as planned. But Ted can’t be selfish and has the limo brought to the World Wide News building, where Barney plans to propose on the rooftop — aka Robin’s favorite place.

“I can’t keep making an ass of myself,” protests Robin. Ted, an expert in the field, sweetly encourages her to “get the hell out of this car” because making an ass of himself while trying to get her led to a beautiful friendship.

When Robin arrives on the rooftop, she finds a piece of paper titled The Robin on the floor. The step-by-step play guide chronicles everything Barney has done the past few months — including not-so-fake confessing his feelings in front of her boyfriend, trying to kiss her and fake-dating Patrice — and reveals them as points in his master plan to win back Robin. Among the final steps: Burning The Playbook because “you don’t need it anymore” (feel free to aww) and waiting to see if Ted will tell Robin about the proposal. If he does, it means he’s “let go of Robin and has given you his blessing” (aww, part two). (And please, let it be the truth so we can put the Ted/Robin thing to rest.)

As for Robin’s answer, the writing’s been on the wall since last season’s finale flash forward revealed that the two get hitched a little ways down the road. Even though Robin initially feels manipulated by Barney’s master “lie,” her feelings shift when she sees the final step in his The Robin play: “Hope she says yes.” And she does.

HIMYM fans, what did you think of the long-awaited moment (captured in the photos below)? Did Ted earn some points in your book for doing the mature thing? And did you like the Buffy reunion between Seth Green and Alyson Hannigan?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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146 Comments
  1. Kc says:

    Amazing episode

    • Stacie says:

      Amazing episode for a standard and even just subpar season. It proves that this show still has something left in the tank. I still feel like they should end after this season, but this proves to me that they can still deliver, so I do believe that the final question of “Who Is The Mother” will be a satisfying one. This episode definitely gave me that hope. Loved that Ted finally let Robin go, it only took 8 years. :) But really great by the HYIMYM people.

      • Mark P says:

        AGREE. This season was very disappointing until that momentous scene. AMAZING. Just amazing. We know they’re gonna end up together, but the writers still managed to make it exciting, special and very romantic. THIS is the HIMYM that I loved.

        Forget who the mother is, SWARKLES is the reason I stayed up for How I Met Your Mother for this long.

        • Jenny says:

          I agree! HIMYM is more about Barney and Robin for me than the mother.

        • hilmi says:

          I heard that the reason why ted’s future wife is yet to emerge is because initially Robin was supposed to be the woman with the yellow umbrella. But then they got carried away and now they are cracking their head on how to top up Robin’s character so that the future wife of Ted will be better than Robin.

    • Eric A. Howard says:

      Loved the ep.,though I couldn’t help feeling that Ted’s friends didn’t care enough about him to be there and stay the whole evening and honor him on his special night.

      • Stacie says:

        Yeah, I mean Barney wanting to get engaged probably could have waited until the day after Ted’s party, but that’s more about the show stuff then for it to actually make sense because there wasn’t a real rush for him to get engaged that exact time and day, but it is what it is.I’ll take it. Knowing that Robin and Barney were getting married it was dragging on and on that they weren’t together. Now we can at least move forward.

      • Dan says:

        Ted did keep staying “it’s just a building”.

      • fiyero says:

        Yeah, they just did that so they could put all the big moments in the midseason finale but…yeah. Ted’s friends love him so much it didn’t really ring true that they would miss his biggest moment ever because of things that they could have easily waited a day.

    • Esaul says:

      It doesn’t happen often. I got teary eyed.

    • Annie says:

      Truly – they not only found the funny again (THANK GOD) but the “awww” too. Lovely to see.

  2. I figured that’s what was going to happen.

    • Alan says:

      ever since he started “dating” patrice i knew it was just a con but i still couldnt help but smile when the reveal happened. and i will admit i didnt think it went as far back as his speech in splitsville, figured the con started later than that, im impressed by how that played out makes barney’s action this season a little less desperate

  3. Brandon says:

    Best episode of the season. Finally has Ted act like a man.

  4. I thought it was beautiful. Best episode in a long time. I have to say, though, the mother reveal is going to have to kick some serious butt to top this!

  5. Eric says:

    Oh so predictable. Oh so satisfying. I loved every second. Good job, HIMYM.

    • jenna says:

      my thoughts exactly! I’m still hoping we’ll actually get to know the mother though and it won’t just end up being the last scene of the show

  6. AJ says:

    Although I saw this coming from a mile away (it was pretty obvious), to see it actually happen and to watch it play out was great! Amazing episode!

  7. Brenna says:

    Best episode of the series, love love love it!!

  8. as a ted and robin guy…idk. its done that was a perfect proposal. i feel bad for Ted and yes I know he gets the girl and all but man oh man Ive been there.

    • cas says:

      I am a ted and robin shipper too. I never bought the Barney/Robin thing. However, I will say that proposal was amazing and I guess I can start to get on board with them. However, the mother better be amazing.

    • Alan says:

      as a guy who isnt a shipper, doesnt understand why people have to define themselves as shippers i really dont understand how anyone can ship robin and ted, its been stated to be impossible from the beginning of the show so why would you torture yourself by routing for a couple that definitely wont happen

  9. TV Gord says:

    The last two or three seasons has been so bad, I don;t even like to watch the older episodes anymore. Now I know how Gilmore Girls fans felt at the end. If I didn’t love Alyson and if I didn’t want to see Seth Green tonight, I wouldn’t have wasted my time tonight. That was one painful hour.

  10. CS says:

    Best. Proposal. Ever.
    So in character for both of them!

  11. Steph says:

    Such unique storytelling on the part of the writers. I think it could be said that they pulled off another “misdirection.” Also, Barney is amazing at proposing. And finally, why did they leave us with Ted brooding by the window?

    • Ari says:

      Because that’s what Ted does!

    • Jennifer says:

      In telling Robin about Barney, Ted just finally let go. It reminded me of the scene in the movie Love Actually where Kiera Knightley’s character kisses her husband’s best friend on Christmas after he makes a very romantic, very private declaration and afterwards as he’s walking away, alone, he says “enough”.

    • Nero theTVFiddler says:

      Why is Ted staring out the window at the end of the episode, brooding? Because he’s still in love with Robin. That kind of love for someone doesn’t go away immediately – it takes time… a long time.

      • John says:

        Or he’s finally faced with being his group’s third wheel in every direction. Couples to the left, couples to the right….

        But I’m now officially stating my preference for Maggie Q as the mother. Maria Canals Barrera is probably more available but still….

        • Alan says:

          maggie q: too asian (look at the kids) and too busy with nikita
          marie canals barrera: too old in my opinion (she had teenage kids on wizards of waverly place, that makes her too old to be with ted in my opinion)
          i would love to see lizzy caplan as the mother, although that may have something to do with me wanting her to be in everything i watch

          • John says:

            The son on HIMYM was one of Maria’s on Wizards…. And the daughter is Maggie’s gal pal Alex on Nikita.

          • Alan says:

            both of those facts i knew but decided to ignore and present proper arguments against them because not everyone would know that and i wasnt sure if you knew that or not

    • Alan says:

      because ted has become a whining little waste of air time in the last 2 years and this was just another example of that

  12. J says:

    Even though I knew exactly what was going to happen because let’s face it, it was predictable as anything, I still cried. Nice to see the writers let the show’s heart shine.

    • Ari says:

      Yea as predictable as it was, I still teared up and joyfully shouted “FINALLY!” Lol, Love me some Swarkles.

      • Boomshakalaka says:

        the singular suprise to me was either step 2 or 3, can’t remember specific, but the step where the drunken kiss & rejection was planned. everything else was predictable, but that, Barney setting himself up for rejection, that was a total “NO WAY” moment!

        • Alan says:

          yeah that was the moment that got me too, i really didnt think the writers had planted that that far back, figured the con started when he started “dating” patrice

  13. c-mo says:

    Legen-dary and perfect.

  14. Christy says:

    OMG! I literally cannot stop screaming!! BEST proposal ever!!!

  15. Bob says:

    I have been a long time fan of the show and will continue to watch. However, I have never seen writers who hate their title character (“Ted”) as much as this show. They should consider a name change to “How Life was terrible to Ted”.

  16. I… am just about ready to give up on this show. But I won’t because I’ve been with it for 8 years and I deserve to at least SEE the Mother ONCE.

    Positive of the episode? How absolutely AMAZING Cobie Smulders looked in that red dress.

  17. WB Frog says:

    Great episode! Great season! Great show! Hate that there’s only this season (or one more).

  18. Tvaddict says:

    Alyson Hannigan Seth Green and Alexis Denisoff!!!!! This Buffy fan was very happy with this episode

  19. Ashley says:

    The ooey-gooey romantic in me was grinning ear-to-ear through the whole proposal scene. It illustrates what’s great about the show: yes, we know what’s going to happen but it makes us care about the journey to get there.

  20. paul says:

    Episode was best of the season

  21. Marc M says:

    Best episode of the season, hands down! It got me all teary-eyed! Knowing that it sticks makes it even better! Loved it!

  22. Jenna says:

    Loved it! Still smiling.

  23. Jack Wahl says:

    I cried like a little girl… really.
    the ending wasted me.

  24. VFS says:

    This needed to happen this way for Ted to finally meet the mother because until he let go of Robin he never would be able to.. and yes best episode of the season.

  25. Kelly says:

    Absolutely amazing, and so VERY Barney. It was beautiful-so much more than I had ever hoped for.

  26. Lulu says:

    Like “The Robin”, this episode was well played and well executed. Dare I say it one of the best episodes to date — LEGEN–Wait-for-It–DARY — ’twas legendary!

  27. Kevin Dillon says:

    What was the song at the end ??? I love their use of music

  28. Antony says:

    I think the mother will be played by Lyndsy Fonseca.

  29. Jennifer says:

    Barney made me cry, Ted had me sobbing uncontrollably. I know the show is about Ted and how he meets the “mom”, what he did in this episode was so touching, even if he never meets the “mom” I’d still be rooting for this guy. I don’t see the show very often but I’ve seen enough this season to know what’s been going on and I’m glad my suspicions were right. It didn’t make sense that after all this time Barney suddenly turned over new leaf.

  30. Kelly says:

    Win. Christmas time romance & surprises are the best presents. :)

  31. ec says:

    Does anyone know the song that’s playing during the proposal?

  32. Amy says:

    Team Swarkles! But for crying out loud, put poor Ted out of his misery and let him meet the mother already!

    • Stash says:

      Or kill him and end the show with him and the children he and Robin never had reminiscing about things that never happened.

  33. Booger says:

    Best episode ever. I skweed with joy and almost cried. It was the best.

  34. Courtney says:

    I’m not a fan of Barney/Robin (or the last few seasons), but if they have to end up together, fine, but do they have to get married? Robin&Barney both never wanted to get married, but all the sudden Robin wants this even though she loved Ted and didn’t want to marry him, and Barney has proposed twice and been in three serious relationships, out of nowhere he doesn’t trust Quinn and they breakup, and that same season him&Robin get engaged?! Bothers me so much. Just stupid storytelling, I think.

    • Boo Radley says:

      People change as they get older. The show has been on for 8 years so Barney and Robin’s view on marriage changing isn’t that far fetched. It would make less sense if Barney never grew up and changed his life from the guy he was in season 1. Barney never fully trusted Quinn so that wasn’t out of nowhere. And Robin and Barney getting engaged the same season he broke off another engagement isn’t so strange. The two of them had known each other for years. They dated for quite some time and they never really stopped loving one another. As stated earlier this season, the clock doesn’t reset when people get back together. Marriage isn’t out of the question. The storytelling isn’t stupid. A little cheesy, yes, but not stupid.

  35. Babybop says:

    Very sweet… But I still find it strange that she would say yes after them dating was a fiasco, and they haven’t been in a relationship since.
    But thank God we’re done with Ted and Robin. I hope the next half of the season will be even better because they don’t have to add anymore of this drama.

  36. Rachel says:

    I don’t know. People do change. I guess she didn’t want to marry TED…and she justified it to herself by saying she never wanted to get married. In a lot of ways, that relationship led them both on a path for better people. I’ve never gotten the whole Barney/Robin thing, but I appreciate that a large fan base is happy.

    • Courtney says:

      Yeah. Kind of wish they would have atleast been together when engaged. They dated once and it was a mess, now years later they decide to get married? Kinds weird.

      • Brady says:

        They’ve both grown up a lot since they dated. Plus, Barney knows how to be in a real relationship now. Maybe they should have dated again first, but then we wouldn’t have seen that awesome proposal.

      • Alan says:

        its called character development, and its something that happens in real life too. people change and how they perceive themselves and the world around them changes robin and especially barney have matured greatly since their disaster of a romance a few years ago

  37. Matt says:

    Ted is such a sweet guy. I’m happy for Barney and Robin, but I’m so much more heartbroken for Ted. I feel like he’s constantly being rejected by Robin, who doesn’t even realize how awesome he is. Gah! Robin!!!

  38. Billy Bob says:

    AMAZING EPISODE! this show is so good at “big moments”. Left me feeling confident that the Mother reveal will be even more epic. Absolutely loved this episode. Perfect.

  39. Mike says:

    Best episode this season by a long shot and one if the best episodes ever, the last ten minutes were awesome, I won’t lie I teared up a bit.

  40. Stash says:

    I didn’t tear up. I was kind of in shock from Robin’s reaction, and just happy that Barney obliged in never dating her again.

  41. Doane06 says:

    Could have been the series finale if Ted met the mother.

  42. lariet50 says:

    I enjoyed about 50 percent of the episode. Loved the proposal, even though I saw the whole thing coming a mile away. Really enjoyed the jinx thing. And the stuff with Ted and Robin was great. But the mess with Peter Gallagher (by the way, what the HELL happened to his face?!), Seth Green, the pit stuff and Marshall and Lily going nuts at leaving the baby – all lame. So I half loved it. I really hope the producers just let the show end with some dignity and let this be the final season. I love the show, but it’s time for it to go.

  43. Nick Schulte says:

    Awesome episode. Even though I had guessed every detail beforehand I still almost cried. The best episode since Marshall’s dad’s funeral. Hopefully they’ll have some fun with the relationship and keep the show at this level for the last half season.

  44. Jessica M says:

    I was hoping that it had all just been a plan to get Robin, because if Barney was actually happy with Patrice and he was ending up with Robin, it would have been really sad. I figured that it was all a trick right off the bat, mostly when he was uncharacteristically yelling around his apartment when Robin was hiding in it. But there were a few times where they tricked me and started making me think Barney really did have a thing for Patrice.

    But daaaang… Barney (I guess if you want to be technical, the writers) is fantastic at coming up with proposals. First, the magic trick bit with Quinn. I thought that could not be topped, but he definitely managed it with this proposal. Geeez.

  45. Saluki Dawg says:

    Am i just reading to much into the episode but Robin mention to Ted that he may meet his future wife at his party. When Ted was walking away from people at the party, they showed a clear shot of a girl staring at Ted. Could that be the mother?

  46. Julie says:

    I enjoy Barney and Robin together, but don’t care either way really. But they didn’t need to date again to know that it’ll work this time around. The reasons it didn’t work the first time were taken care of by their other relationships since and life experiences. Neither of them are the same commitment phobics that they were back then. They’ve each been engaged and have come to terms with what they want from life and how they feel for each other. They both will probably need to address their daddy issues once before this wedding, but other than that I see smooth sailing ahead.

    I just find the complaining about Ted being hated by the creators silly. Ted is a romantic, and completely hopeless at it. This is real life. You get hung up on people for years sometimes and need to let them go before you can be happy. Ted’s a forever kind of guy. And he’s not going to settle for less. This episode makes me root for him so much more. And I don’t want to know the mother. The title isn’t how I met your mother and who she is, it’s just how he met her. If “hi” is the only word she ever utters I’m 100% fine with that!

    • C. says:

      ^ THIS. I totally agree with every word you just said. I’d be totally fine, and happy even, if the only shot of the mother is when Ted decides to approach her. I feel like the whole show would be kind of pointless to go on about their relationship any further than that. Though, I would like to see Ted’s wedding photos…

      • Brenda says:

        ^^ Oh you are a genius!…Yes, that would be the way to end the show right there!! Show them meeting, and maybe him asking her to dance or something or even them walking away under the yellow umbrella, then Ted’s voice over with something like “…and that’s how I met your mother…” with photo montage of everyone at the wedding, and a few over the years of when the kids are born, etc. …thier life together, the kids growing up with thier “cousins” from Uncle Marshall & Aunt Lily…stuff like that…
        I totally agree, it would be anti climatic to “get to know” the mother.

      • hilmi says:

        I do hope that they show how Ted would propose to his future wife. If Barney’s proposal is awesome….I think Ted’s would be greater…He stole a blue french horn, make it rain, string quartet…But probably they can do that in another spin off after this one…may How I Propose to Your Mother…maybe just one episode…His friends should go all out in this episode to help him propose…since all he had done in the previous episodes were helping his friends over and over again throwing his personal gain for the benefit of others

  47. rachelle says:

    beautiful, beautiful, beautiful proposal. i loved it.

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