I've been watching How I Met Your Mother faithfully this season, but more out of habit and to spend time with characters who now feel like old friends than because I've actually been all that invested in the show. But last night, with two-part finale "The Magician's Code," the show did the one thing it could have done to pull me back in. But first, we had the super-sweet birth of Marvin. I'm a sucker for birth episodes, and that was a nicely executed one. And I liked that the show met the "how will they hang out at a bar with a baby?" question head-on by having Marvin's first outing be... to the bar. (It's also helpful that Marshall and Lily are now the ones who live above the bar. Running downstairs with the baby when necessary is a lot more believable than if they had to actually make plans and take a cab or something to go to MacLaren's.)
It was the second half hour that got me, though. Unlike a lot of people, I still like Ted, but I really couldn't care less who the mother is. She's an abstract concept, an unknown. What I care about is the characters we already know and love. And Barney and Robin's relationship is one of the best ideas the show has had in recent years, even if the actual execution was bungled. Barney and Robin just make sense together, and the actors have amazing chemistry. So when they teased that we would find out the identity of Barney's future wife in the finale - well, I'm not the type to say "If such-and-such happens, I'll stop watching the show," but if they had Barney marry Quinn or someone else other than Robin, I'm not sure the show would ever be the same for me. But now that we know he is marrying Robin, I'm actually really eager to watch everything play out. Well played, show!