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'How I Met Your Mother': The Robin problem

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HIMYM Robin
Eric McCandless/CBS

“What do you even like about me?” That was the question Robin posed, at two different critical times to the two men who love her, Barney and Kevin, during last night’s gut-wrenching episode of How I Met Your Mother. [SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU STILL HAVEN’T WATCHED]

For years that was an easy question for any HIMYM fan to answer. Because, in spite of being from Canada (as Barney once cried, “Why are you guys even a country?”), Robin Scherbatsky (or Robin Sparkles/Robsy Wobsy/Scherbs, if you will) is a loyal friend, a hard worker who has paid her dues, a fun roommate (at least, if you like someone who doesn’t throw empty milk cartons away), and, depending on your feelings on her gun fixation, a damn good shot.

But many fans, myself included, had to re-examine their feelings for Robin after what she did to Barney — and let’s face it, eventually Kevin — last night. Sure, Robin has always been a mess when it comes to love (Ted could certainly attest to that), something she reiterated throughout the episode, but she’s never done something so outright hurtful. If she made her decision to stay with Kevin, why not, at the very least, send Barney a text to alert him to her change of heart? Why make him suffer doubly? I don’t know who this Robin is and I’m not sure I like her. Robin has always made decisions from the head, rather than the heart, but she never handled it in such a heartless way.

That said, I have to give the writers of HIMYM some major credit. No matter how this makes us feel about Robin and what she did (the look on Barney’s face at the bar was downright heart-shattering), they at least continue to write characters who are flawed and layered, if not borderline reckless. Life is no sitcom, after all.

Still, it’s going to be hard to look at Robin the same in the next HIMYM episode. Barney’s transformation into a sensitive, mature, committed man took years and Robin could have undone all of it with the shake of her head. (This would especially upset Lily. In fact, I predict a “Yoouuu son of bitch” in Robin’s future.) How will we be able to laugh along knowing Barney is in so much pain? Better yet, will this kill the idea of Barney and Robin ever getting back together? How can we root for them to be a couple again when this has happened? Blame Canada, PopWatchers.

Have your feelings about Robin changed after last night’s How I Met Your Mother? Is Barney just going to have to suffer and wait for her at this point? Should he even do that in the first place? Share in the comments section below.

Read more:

‘How I Met Your Mother’ recap: Misgivings and Mr. Right

‘How I Met Your Mother’ recap: The Perfect Storm

‘How I Met Your Mother’: Does it suffer from Wrong Title Syndrome?