himym challenge 520 'How I Met Your Mother' wedding finale: A groom revealed, a mystery bride and a gross red herringIt’s been a season in the making, but one very crucial element of the game-changing “How I Met Your Mother” wedding finally revealed itself during the Season 6 finale.

While the bride — both the wedding’s and Ted’s future one who he meets while performing best man duties — remains a secret, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) is unmasked as the groom. But will he be walking down the aisle with the Nora (Nazanin Boniadi) or Robin (Cobie Smulders)?

First, let’s settle a few things.

“HIMYM” starts the episode by taking a few years off of my life with a quick Zoey cameo (Jennifer Morrison), followed by the casual suggestion that Ted (Josh Radnor) might actually get back together with her. His default mode is “sentimental fool,” so when the construction foreman (guest Chi McBride) stresses him out with a question of what kind of light bulb he wants in the building, Ted gets nostalgic. And delirious.

Luckily, he has Barney and Robin to steer him back to sanity. They spend the episode traveling between boroughs — with help from go-to cabbie Ranjit (Marshall Manesh) — in an attempt to stop his rekindling with the eager Zoey. They talk some sense into him… while separately recognizing that there are worse things than getting back together with someone you once loved.

While all of this is going on, Lily (Alyson Hannigan) gets a case of atomic food poisoning from some soup. She tosses her cookies on the class pet, before leaving her students unsupervised to spare Marshall (Jason Segel) the same fate.

But it’s too late. Here’s where the “24”-esque pacing of the episode becomes clear. Marshall has mere hours to enjoy life, and successfully complete a job interview, before he too has it coming out both ends. [Editor’s note: I’m gross, I know, but I’m really toning it down from the episode.]

Marshall spills the unmentionable beans that he’s bracing for an Ebola-like loss of bodily control  to his would-be boss (guest Dave Foley) at the environmental law firm, but it probably won’t damage his chances of getting the gig. Why? Because Marshall deserves some success after this season. And because I want to see more of Dave Foley.

Not that it really matters now. Marshall doesn’t get food poisoning. In fact, Lily never had it. She’s pregnant — and I honestly didn’t see it coming until just before she shares the revelation. It probably would have been more obvious earlier in the episode, but it seemed as though there were too many symptoms in the mix for morning sickness.

At the long, long, long-awaited destruction of the Arcadian, a very mature Barney lets Ted push the implosion button as a sign of manly respect for how far he’s come personally and professionally over the season.

“New is always better,” says Barney, as the hotel crumbles to the ground. These words hurt — because you know what they mean. 

Robin and Barney leave the demolition together, when a tender moment is cut short by a chance encounter with Nora on the street. Barney apologizes, Nora keeps it brief, but it’s clear that the door is still open. She tells him to call her sometime. “Challenge accepted.” 

robin challenge accepted 'How I Met Your Mother' wedding finale: A groom revealed, a mystery bride and a gross red herringBarney grins as the shot shifts focus on Robin behind him. Her pride turning to confusion and then heartache. She’s in love with him again. [See the figure to your right and tell me you don’t feel like you didn’t just get shivved by a kitten.]

“Some time later,” outside the wedding we first saw in the season premiere, Lily tells Ted that the groom needs his best man. It’s Barney, duh. Did you really think they were going to waste such an epic moment on Punchie?

There’s no bride in the picture, but it’s quite clearly going to be either Robin or Nora.

“HIMYM” fans will clearly be divided on the most desired outcome, but I’m going to call the bride, be she intended or accidental, as Robin. Season 7 has already been teased at being a Scherbatsky-heavy outing for the show, and the finale makes it quite clear that at least some of that will focus on renewed affections for her ex.

Maybe Nora and Barney do get engaged and make it to the alter, but for the show to seriously suggest a future for the its terminally single leads again, this long after their short-lived romance, I have to think it’s because they’re destined to be together. And I’d almost rather see Robin stand up and object at Barney’s wedding than be the intended bride. But that is a long way down the road.

Now let’s spend the summer thinking up baby names for Marshall and Lily.

I’ll start. Scooter!

Posted by:Mikey O'Connell