This week's episode was clearly a building up for the two-episode finale on May 14 (there will be no new episodes airing next week), with three central relationships coming to important developments. While it's difficult to glean what this will mean for the events in the finale, the episode itself was an enjoyable return to form (i.e. Ted trying to get over Robin and the return of the ducky tie).
Relationship Development #1: Barney and Quinn
Though Barney and his new stripper girlfriend have experienced an incredibly fast development in their relationship (they're already living together), this week we saw them approach a crossroads as Barney finally broke under the difficulties of dating someone who undresses for other men for a living. While it's clear Barney enjoys the fact that Quinn is a stripper, it's equally evident he struggles with it too. When he finally brings her to his workplace and offers her a job as a "executive strategy coordinator," Quinn storms out, saying she has "some thinking to do."
This could set up the break-up of Barney and Quinn (and the swooping in of Robin to be Barney's bride in the finale), OR it could push Barney into an extreme solution by proposing to Quinn so she won't have to strip anymore. Quinn did say she would stop stripping if she were to get married, a nugget that was planted a few weeks back and is likely to play out in the finale.
Relationship Development #2: Ted and Robin
Ted and Robin are still playing the avoidance game with one another, and when Barney gets Ted to try online dating to find a "palate cleanser" date, Ted can't help but see Robin in his three dates. The first girl ("Robyn" with a "y") is virtually a copy of our Robin (she loves scotch, guns and Canada), so that's not difficult to see. But the second girl simply mentions "lasagna" on the menu, taking Ted back to that one time Robin supposedly made a failed lasagna. Date #3 has an ex-fiance named Wayne who has no manners, leading Ted to make the connection Wayne Manor, the home of Batman, whose sidekick is Robin. Clearly, Ted is overcome by the thought of getting over Robin - who eventually tells him (through his subconscious) that while she may not love him the same way, their friendship is still something worth hanging onto.
Ted rushes to reclaim his cherished friendship with Robin, who would loves to talk, but unfortunately there are more pressing matters at hand (see Relationship Development #3) - could this mean the two friends will eventually make up in the finale and put their messy past behind them? Does this finally open the door for Robin to address her possible feelings for Barney?
Relationship Development #3: Lily and Marshall
Marshall has gone into crazy Prepared Father mode, setting alarms every 3 hours to simulate the baby's sleeping habits and watching breastfeeding documentaries. As expected, Lily is the other extreme, claiming they should use this time to relax and learn the ins and outs of parenthood "on the job." Their differing perspectives push them into an argument that gets Lily to ambush Marshall by sending him on a trip to Atlantic City with Barney to unwind (which he initially believes is a baby boot camp). While Lily enjoys the quiet time at home, Marshall and Barney let loose by turning off their phones for one hour and downing 100 shots of tequila while they gamble.
Unfortunately, their partying comes at the worst moment, just as Lily goes into labor. The episode ends with Lily leaving 17 voice mail messages (increasingly angry and panicked in tone) for Marshall and (presumably) Ted and Robin going to assist her.
We've heard the finale is going to be a "satisfying" ending
, and we know the birth of Lily and Marshall's child will be a tender moment - but what about that pesky issue of Barney's bride? Will fans be satisfied if the bride is revealed to be Quinn? Or will they only be satisfied if it's Robin standing across the aisle, after she and Ted presumably put their past behind them? Only time will reveal how this season will conclude, and we can only hope it meets the expectations of all this hype.
(Image courtesy of CBS)