He and Lily dig into the wings as the old man watches them with some interest from across the room. Wendy-the-waitress approaches the old man and, close up, we see that it's Old-Man Marshall! She tells him his tab is on them and apologizes that the wings were too hot. Old-Man Marshall rasps: "Oh no, dear. It wasn't that they were too hot. It's just that I had wings earlier." He waits a beat and then looks off toward his younger self and pretty bride. "Much earlier." Wendy takes her leave and Old-Man Marshall stares 'til we fade to black.
I hope you grade the episode up at the top of the page. There seem to be a lot of diverging opinions on it and I'm wondering what the overall sentiment is. I just loved it, and not just for the romance -- for the heart, which is, to me, one of this show's best features. There were some overly broad moments (mostly from Robin and Barney, but their timing makes up for it), but they don't ping me when a story is this well told. I do wish Joanna Garcia had played a character that mattered as a person, rather than as an object. She's a winning actress. I'm sad she can't be the mother, but grateful that I know that window is closed, so I don't hold out hope.
For those of you yearning for the show's edge, next week's "Last Cigarette Ever" is bound to be less sweet, since the gang struggles to quit smoking (and not counting Robin's sneaky puffs here and there - who knew they did?). Meanwhile, Robin clashes with a new co-worker. I think we know who that is. See you then. In the meantime, don't forget to grade the episode, and vote on the poll. Then come on over to the forums and licky boom boom down.
Cindy McLennan hasn't started her Christmas shopping yet, so there's still time for you. Send your list to CynthiaMcLennan[at]gmail.com, or follow her on Twitter.