Ron P. Jaffe/CBS
December 18, 2012 at 06:00 AM EST

Ron P. Jaffe/CBS

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen tonight’s How I Met Your Mother, do not continue reading.

Monday night’s episode of How I Met Your Mother was not short on memorable moments, and in fact, the episode, which saw Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) getting engaged, is being dubbed by some as one of the best episode of the series.

But even before the episode had hit television screens, executive producer/co-creator Craig Thomas knew it was something special.

“I was on set for [the limo scene with Ted and Robin], and it was just one of those moments where you feel really lucky to work with these actors — and everybody,” he says. “It was just one of those moments where you’re like, ‘Well, you know, the show isn’t going to last forever. So let’s just take a moment while filming this to appreciate the depth of this cast and how much we care about these characters eight years in.'”

But even eight years in, there’s still quite a bit of story to tell. For scoop on tonight’s developments and a look ahead, read more from Entertainment Weekly’s chat with Thomas  below.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start off with this limo scene.

CRAIG THOMAS: Josh [Radnor] and Cobie’s limo scene was one of those where it so much more powerful than you thought it’d be. That moment with Cobie and Josh, in a sense, was Ted was saying goodbye to Robin and saying goodbye to the possibility of getting her. He makes that sacrifice and supports her so she can go make one last Hail Mary pass for Barney. It’s almost saying goodbye to a whole future possibility that, in the back of his head, he always imagined. He knows it and she knows it. It’s like eight years of history sitting there between those two characters in that limo, and it was just really heartbreaking. It really hit them; they both started to cry. We weren’t pushing them to cry. It wasn’t written, ‘Now they cry!’ It just really hit them. So what you’re seeing there is them feeling that for their characters. It was just a real reaction that no one asked for and surprised everybody.

But it was an important moment for Ted to finally get there.

Then, Ted was an amazing friend to both Barney and Robin in that moment, but then seeing Ted standing alone there by that window looking out at the world and looking ahead, it’s definitely bittersweet. There’s a wistful feeling about it at the end. There are about five different moments in the episode where we all started crying. We’ve seen it 100 times now, and it keeps getting us. So hopefully everyone will like it.

Speaking of the window moment, I love how you ended on that moment. We’ve closed this big Barney and Robin chapter, and ending on Ted after all that seems symbolic.

Yeah. Definitely there’s a feeling at the end of the episode [that] there’s still an odd man out here. There’s still Ted Mosby, who is just the best friend in the world to Robin and to Barney, and he’s still out there searching. There’s definitely a “to be continued” feeling. If Barney and Robin have gotten to the place we’ve always promised and are heading toward a wedding potentially, what’s in store for Ted? It’s a nice moment to end on. It sort of feels like a mini season finale even though it’s just a midseason finale. It feels like, “Alright now, let’s see what the next — and possibly last — chapter is for Ted.” How does he move into his future if we are watching Barney and Robin move into theirs? In the way that Christmas is sort of great and a little bit sad and nostalgic and wistful — that’s definitely how I feel at the end of the episode. And hopefully people will feel a feeling of resolution, in terms of waiting for Barney and Robin to reunite, but also a question left unanswered. Stay tuned for what either will be the final 10 episodes ever of the show or possibly that plus one more final season. We don’t know yet.

Now, you said “potential wedding,” but there is a wedding right? I never know what to believe.

Right. They’re heading for a wedding that will have its own twists and surprises when we get there. But yeah, we’ve been waiting for them to get engaged, so hopefully that will feel satisyfing to people. It certainly has been a long time coming.

Let’s talk about this proposal. Why the trick?

To me it feels like a really appropriate way for Barney to propose to someone. We could have gone much straighter at it and had just had him propose in episode 3 of this season, but there’s something really fun, elaborate, playbook-y, and very “evil genius” about the way Barney put it together. [Laughs] He’s an evil but very sweet genius, I suppose. It’s very heartfelt and wonderful. The moment where he’s on bended knee and puts a ring on her finger is just super sweet. I hope people will be as moved by it as we were making it.

NEXT: One last dance with Robin Sparkles.

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