Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS
''Um. Why is Jon Cryer in NPH's spot?" says commenter MKS. ''How can the Emmys ignore Barney's tear-jerking yet touchingly funny journey with his reunion…

It's the beginning of the end, How I Met Your Mother fans – or it might be. Anyone who has watched the season 8 premiere may have seen the last season opener of Ted Mosby's televised journey toward finding the mother of his children.

The CBS show's writers approached tonight's episode, "Farhampton," like it was the beginning of the show's final season.

"We sort of come in every day and go, 'This is the last season of How I Met Your Mother' until we hear different… We really feel like this launches the last season," co-creator Craig Thomas told reporters last week. Still no definitive word on whether a ninth season is on the horizon.

So right now, the writers are going full speed ahead to the reveal of the mother, with a Plan B in place in the instance the show is renewed. Thomas and fellow showrunner Carter Bays revealed more about their plans for season 8 and about was going on in tonight's episode. Fair warning: SPOILERS AHEAD about tonight's episode and the fate of Ted Mosby and the mother.

Monday's episode gave us a glimpse at the night Ted meets his wife-to-be. There was the familiar yellow umbrella, plus a guitar case – plus a pair of legs, the most of the mother we've seen so far. Thomas and Bays were not at all eager to divulge whether they've cast the mother or whether the woman carrying the umbrella in tonight's episode was another "stunt mother."

"I don't want to say because ultimately when we do cast the actress who's the mother, it's going to have to be shrouded in secrecy, so if it already happened, we already did it, we don't want to say," Thomas said.

As for any concern about successful chemistry tests between Josh Radnor and the actress playing the mother, Bays said, "Josh just has good chemistry just as a guy, no matter who you put him with. I think he's kind of a ladies' man."

Thomas did confirm that that night on the train platform is "the finish line" – Ted does finally meet the mother there. They may have not talked in tonight's episode, but that is the time and the place where that meeting will finally happen.

Bays and Thomas were also tight-lipped about how long fans have to wait until the show returns to that rainy night at the Farhampton train station. Any questions about how soon we'd see the next moment in that fateful meeting were met with the same vague wording that appeared in the premiere: That moment is "a little further down the road."

The two showrunners were a little more forthcoming when the topic of discussion wasn't the ever-mysterious mother. Here are a few other things reporters learned from the showrunners about the season premiere and what's to come:

The morning of Barney and Robin's wedding may appear to be catastrophe-prone, but fans can hold onto hope that the two are meant to be.

Bays and Thomas talked with pride about the scenes between Neil Patrick Harris and Cobie Smulders in the season 8 premiere. "The chemistry between Neil and Cobie is so great that she doesn't even need to be in a scene with him for them to have chemistry," Thomas said.

As for what Barney's thinking about while he's in the cab with Quinn's head resting on his shoulder, Thomas says, "He has his fiancée asleep on his shoulder, and he's thinking about another woman." But this is Barney we're talking about, so Bays' theory may hold water too: "He's probably thinking about a suit he wants to buy."

Marvin Waitforit Erikson will not take over the show, but Marshall and Lily are definitely living the parental life now.

Two of our merry crew are parents now, which any mother or father knows means their life has changed forever, and the writers will make sure that is clear — beyond Marshall and Lily's delirious state displayed in tonight's premiere. But there's no need to worry that the whole dynamic of How I Met Your Mother will change. "I like to believe that we are tending to the fact that they have a baby more than some other shows have," Thomas said, "but I don't feel like the baby takes over the show."

We haven't seen the last of Robin Sparkles.

The How I Met Your Mother team are determined to get one last scene of Robin's Canadian pop star alter-ego in the show. "We want to go back to [Robin Sparkles]. One more time before we hang it up," Bays said. Added Thomas, "And we have a way to do it that I think would be completely different from the other ways we've done it."

How I Met Your Mother will not pull an Office.

If HIMYM moves forward with a ninth season, you can expect to see all of its key cast on the show. "No, we would never, ever, ever [renew without all of the series regulars signed on]. It's a family, and we're finishing this thing together," Thomas said. Negotiations among the studio, the network and the talent to determine whether the show will get another season are in progress.

For scoop about plans this season of How I Met Your Mother, check out EW's report about guest stars lined up for season 8.

Read more:

Episode Recaps

''Um. Why is Jon Cryer in NPH's spot?" says commenter MKS. ''How can the Emmys ignore Barney's tear-jerking yet touchingly funny journey with his reunion…
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