As we discussed in our How I Met Your Mother review yesterday, this week's episode will likely go down as one of the show's best, if not the best, in five-plus seasons.
The final scene, which no one saw coming, is one that fans won't forget anytime soon, and according to Carter Bays, one that "we built the whole season around."
In an interview with E!, the executive producer and co-creator explains the countdown clock, where Marshall goes from here, future "mother" clues and more ...
The countdown begins ...
On the demise of Marshall's dad: "One important ingredient in early seasons was that there was some angst and there was some sadness. It was a way for us to really mine our own lives and to really fully explore emotions about situations we've been in."
"There are a few touchstones in life that are really sad, and this is one of them. It's something that a few writers on the show have gone through and we kind of built the whole season around this moment as will be revealed in the remaining 11 episodes."
"We knew that we wanted to do something to explore this particular milepost in living life in your thirties. The first half of the season was kind of us getting our ducks in a row, and this particular event will set off everything else that follows."
"There have been some charged reactions to it in both directions... it's hard to strike a tone of foreboding in a half-hour sitcom, and that's kind of what we were going for."
"And I really should credit an art film from the 1980s, called Drowning by Numbers, that did something kind of similar to this and that's where we got the idea."
On more "Mother" hints: "We stated for the record exactly where Ted is going to meet her, which is this wedding. I feel like what we're hoping for is to somewhat nullify the "Who is she?" and make it more about "How does Ted get to this wedding?"
"That's kind of the new mystery that we're spinning right now, and there will be a few more illuminations about that particular wedding as the season goes on."
On whether it's Rachel Bilson's roommate: "It is. It is."