7.8/10. This is really what "The Robin" should have been. I know I've been harping on that episode, but this is the kind of thing that shows how Barney could use his scheming for something wonderful rather than twisted. Maybe it's just the abbreviated nature of Season 9--there's something much more palatable about Barney deceiving Robin for an evening rather than for two months--but the heart of the main storyline here, that Barney may continue to lie, but that it will be in service of giving Robin wonderful surprises even if the road to get there is a little frustrating, is a really sweet note that comes this close to revealing the awfulness of "The Final Page."

And hey, Barney trying to give Robin a little taste of Canada is a lovely gesture to Barney showing that he hears Robin and believes in compromise, in addition to making peace with his own heritage. On top of that, there's lots of nice little call backs, from the flashback where Lily and Marshall get annoyed at Ted's declaration that he's great at wedding gifts, to yet another appearance from Alan Thicke, to James being a showoff at wedding. The skating rink reveal is not only a nice romantic moment between Robin and Barney, but it gives lots of the cast, central and extended, a chance to really shine.

Beyond that, the story about Lily being unable to keep a secret was an enjoyable lark. Alyson Hannigan has both the exagerrated humor and the sincere emotional side of Lily down at this point, and it's a joy to watch her work. Plus Ted's adventure of trying to dress as Liberace and learn to play piano/ice skate paid great comedic dividends.

All-in-all, this was a fun episode that takes a significant step in showing why Barney and Robin could be together, in keeping with the more exaggerated tones of the Barney character, with enough fun comedy around that story to keep things light.

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