It finally happened.
No, Ted didn’t meet The Mother! Come on, guys, we still have 18 episodes of How I Met Your Mother left until the end of the season. In fact, there were no hints at all about The Mother in 8×06 “Splitsville.” But you could argue that an even more important love story — at least, one we’re more emotionally invested in — got a major push last night when Barney confessed his love for Robin.
Earlier this season, we learned that “Swarkles” (as the fans call them) are definitely together, since we glimpsed the flash-forward where they kiss. But how do we get to that part when Barney is still smarting from his broken engagement to Quinn and Robin is fooling around with the pretty but hopelessly dumb Nick?
I had to laugh, because the writers took a risk by having Barney be the one to break up Robin and Nick. In the wrong hands, it’d be a saccharine rom-com cliche, way too dramatic for real life. But as the episode began, we learned that Robin was already feeling like she needed to get out of the relationship. But the sex was what was keeping them together, and it wasn’t like she had any more compelling options.
Except, Barney has loved her basically since they first slept together in 3×16 “Sandcastles in the Sand.” I was recently rewatching 7×10 “Tick Tick Tick…” where Barney breaks up with Nora but Robin stays with Kevin out of a similar weakness to what binds her to Nick. At the end of that episode, Ted witnesses Barney cleaning up Robin’s room with the rose petals and candles he’d set up for their special night. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried the first time I watched that silent moment, and have teared up on subsequent rewatches.
Suffice to say, we know that when Barney is talking about Robin, he’s never kidding. So when he bursts into Splitsville to tell Nick the truth, he’s 100% sincere. Let’s all reread his romantic speech and melt, yes?
“I love everything about her, and I’m not a guy who says that lightly. I’m a guy who has faked love his entire life. I thought love was just something idiots thought they felt, but this woman has a hold on my heart that I could not break if I wanted to. And there have been times that I wanted to. It has been overwhelming and humbling and and even painful at times. But I could not stop loving her any more than I could stop breathing. I am hopelessly, irretrievably in love with her. More than she knows.”
Someone give Neil Patrick Harris his Emmy. OK, here’s the video, too!
Of course, Robin played it off as a ruse to get rid of Nick. And even outside the dessert place, she reminded Barney that it was all fake. Or rather, she said that to make herself feel better, to shield herself from the depth of his feelings. It’s ironic that Barney is the one who’s ready to be in love and Robin is still resisting, though that does reflect parts of her relationship with Ted.
Still, when Barney said, “Any longer and I’d have had to kiss you,” I was flailing like a proper HIMYM fangirl. Swarkles is gonna happen. It’s just a question of when.
So, um, maybe I should talk about other people on this show. Marshall and Lily‘s responses to not having sex were kinda cartoonish, especially since the writers could’ve delved into darker material by having Lily maybe suffer from postpartum. Then again, the different ways they dealt with their dry spell were very them, plus how quickly they got back into their old rhythm once Ted babysat little Marvin.
But yeah, I can only hope that Ted comes up with as stirring a speech for The Mother when he someday proposes to her. The problem is, if they introduce her in the series finale, we won’t care that much for her. That’s why I’m hoping we’ll meet her soon and have some time to come to care for the Ted/Mother pairing almost as much as we do for Robin/Barney.
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