End tag: Marshall sits in the booth at MacLaren's, writing to his future self.
Dear 60-Year-Old Marshall,
By now you should be working somewhere that's making the world a better place, or at least trying to. No pressure, dude. I mean, sir. Also, if time travel is possible, maybe you could give me a little sign on Tuesday, December 8, at 8:29 P.M.
Current-day Marshall looks around, but his hope soon fades. Just then, Lily comes over with some munchies. "Someone sent back these chicken wings, because they were too hot. And I'm like, 'Too hot? Are you crazy?' So, free wings!" Across the bar, we see an old man sitting alone in a booth, by the front window. He looks oddly familiar. Marshall smiles appreciatively at his smoking hot wife and her platter full of wings and continues his letter...
Old-Man Marshall, as long as you're still married to Lily, you're doing just fine.
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.