Cliff-hangers are somewhat of a specialty for How I Met Your Mother, and last night’s delivered one of the most reaction-inducing episode enders of the season so far.
In the episode, Ted and Barney found themselves looking for a little one-night comfort on a late-night commuter train (hence the title “Drunk Train”) but in the end, all Ted found was an epiphany about his love life. And when he got home to find Robin on the roof mourning the loss of her relationship with Kevin (who broke off their engagement-relationship almost as quickly as it began) Ted couldn’t resist letting her in on his realization: He loved her.
And whether you cheered, exclaimed, groaned, or gasped (maybe all four?), executive producer Craig Thomas promises one thing: Ted isn’t backing down from his statement in next week’s episode. “It’s out there now. It’s out there between Ted and Robin,” he tells EW. “We had [Ted’s season one flame] Victoria come in episode 3 of season 7 and she looked into her crystal ball and said, ‘Something’s going to happen with this you being friends with Robin thing. Something’s going to come from that.’ And we’re going to see that something will.”
Exactly how? Of course he wouldn’t say! But he promises that they didn’t revisit the idea of the pair just for kicks — or to drive fans mad. “There’s a new purpose for this happening for Ted and for Robin. It will spin off in a direction different from what we’ve seen before between the two of them. We didn’t feel like we were retreading ground,” he says. “When they broke up in season 2, one of the lines in the scene where they were breaking up was, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ The funny thing is we’ve not been on the air long enough to be literally exactly five years past that breakup. Five years ago, they had two very different answers. So five years later, Ted having not found the answer to what he thought would happen in five years, it seems real that his mind would go back to Robin and say, ‘Hey. It’s been a half decade later, maybe we should check in about this.'”
The next episode (Feb. 20’s “No Pressure”) picks up exactly there. Ted’s statement lingers in the air, he ponders the changes the years have brought to their lives, and then asks for a response, before assuring her there’s “no pressure.” “It’s sort of sweet and bittersweet. I like to think it goes in a direction that people won’t see coming,” he teases. Unsurprisingly, Thomas adds with a laugh, “Robin’s head is exploding.”
The complicated next chapter in Ted and Robin’s lives will also yield what Thomas calls “big shifts” for the characters — and the show. “The series will even look a little different on TV. There will be some big switches in the dynamics of our gang as we head into the end of season 7. There are going to be some changes that we see,” he says. “I hope people who are fans of the whole serialized, emotional aspect of our show will stay with us…you don’t want to miss any one of these last batch all the way to [the finale]. There’s definitely some turbulence coming up.”