Be warned, How I Met Your Mother fans: You may want to have some Kleenex nearby for Monday's episode. "I think it's fair to say that the episode is different than anyone had imagined coming into it," co-creator/co-executive producer Craig Thomas tells TVGuide.com. "It's one of those where while we're shooting it and editing it that you see people tearing up. It's very funny, but it's very emotional too. The very end of the episode seems like it's made a lot of people cry, but it's a good cry." The episode picks up moments after Robin (Cobie Smulders) told Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) that she's pregnant and it is chock-full of more surprises, Thomas says — including, as the logline teases, some "bad news" for Robin. What could that be? Read on to see Thomas' hints about this revelation, why he and Carter Bays wrote the pregnancy, and what's next for the rest of the season.
How I Met Your Mother's Kal Penn: Robin and Kevin are a fun match
When and how did you decide Robin will get pregnant?
Craig Thomas: We knew coming into the season that we wanted Robin and Barney relapsing. ... And we wanted to explore what it is like for Robin — this woman who swore she never, ever wanted kids — when she's confronted with the possibility of having children. The next episode picks up literally right at that moment that Episode 11 ended with. We see Barney's response to the news. A lot of unexpected things happen in it. People's responses to this news aren't what you think it would be. There's a great forward momentum. This is our midway point — our 12th episode — and it spins into the rest of the season.
So everyone else finds out?
Thomas: I don't want to ruin that, but the whole episode is about Robin's habit of keeping things bottled up inside. Robin's not touchy-feely. She smokes cigars, she drinks scotch, she goes to the gun range, she was raised as a boy. She, in many ways, is a more rugged dude than Ted (Josh Radnor). ... We really stay true to that part of her of not sharing her feelings and news in general.
We know Robin gets bad news. Does this have to do with the baby?
Thomas: Well, all I can say is she gets this huge piece of news and there are more revelations in the episode that are definitely things that she would want to talk about with a friend, but she just can't quite bring herself to. The episode becomes an exploration of Robin as a character and what happens when you keep stuff inside instead of telling your friends. I think Cobie Smulders deserves an Emmy for this episode. She's really, really fantastic in it.
Since she's never wanted kids, will she wrestle with whether to keep the baby?
Thomas: No, we don't go to that place. It's more of her wrapping her mind around what she thought her future would be. I'm interested in what people will think after this episode airs. We've always tried to be a show about these characters who are essentially straddling between childhood and adulthood. ... This definitely hits our main theme of them moving toward adulthood. This is a big crossroads for Robin.
There's also the paternity question, and we know Kevin (Kal Penn) is sticking around.
Thomas: Yes, Kevin will be sticking around. The paternity is addressed in the opening scene. There are more twists and turns for Robin, but that gets settled quickly. Barney will be the only person Robin's told and she wrestles with whether or not to tell everyone else. ... There's such a deep connection between then. That's the reason we keep coming back to them. ... We debated a lot in the writers' room [about whether Robin should dump Kevin for Barney]. But ultimately, if Robin had jumped to Barney in that episode, for her, it would've been a relationship built on a crime. It was such a mistake [sleeping with Barney] and she felt so terrible about it. Kevin is such a nice guy that, I think in that episode at least, Barney represented the darker side and Kevin represented this hopeful, lighter side.
[Spoiler Alert: The paternity is revealed in the clip below. Watch at your own risk.]
Becki Newton suits up for How I Met Your Mother
Barney's been through a lot the past few weeks. How is he going to process all of this? Is this where Becki Newton comes in?
Thomas: That's what the early part of the second half of the season will be about. He's trying to deal with this huge information he's got between him and Robin and how he moves forward from it. We'll meet Becki's character a little bit later. She will be a serious love interest for Barney and she's going to be around for a while. ... It's going to be very different from his relationship with Nora (Nazanin Boniadi). Nora was such a sweet, nurturing, wonderful character. Becki's character is going to be a spitfire, someone who can give it back to Barney and leave him speechless. It's a little Frasier Crane and Lilith Sternin — two people who've met their match. He needs to lock horns with somebody to get his mind off what's happening.
Will we see Nora again?
Thomas: I don't want to say one way or the other. We're like a B-grade horror movie in some ways: No one ever dies. Marshall's father has appeared more since dying on our show than he did when he was alive! [Laughs] Episode 13 begins with Marshall (Jason Segel) exactly a year later at his dad's grave and catching up with his dad, and we get to work with Bill Fagerbakke again in flashbacks. His workload has doubled since passing away! Not usually the case when you die. But luckily we can make that work in our show.
But Chris Elliott will be back. Are Mickey and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) on the mend? They were never totally estranged.
Thomas: He'll be in Episodes 13 and 14. Yeah, they're not completely estranged, but Lily has all these unresolved issues with her father, who's a funny, cool guy, but was never really there for her growing up. This man is going to be the only grandfather for their baby and there's going to be some good stuff from Lily's past. I think that's a very real thing. When you approach having kids or when you have a kid, you realize all of the sudden you have this new, enhanced relationship with your parents and you realize your own issues with your parents come up. We're going to see Lily go through that with Mickey.
I assume he'll be bringing new games.
Thomas: There will be more games! [Laughs] ... We're going to imply that Mickey gets a board game idea that actually becomes modestly successful for him, which is a first! We might see a glimpse of a new board game commercial Mickey has made, like the one for the Slap Bet game.
Watch full episodes of How I Met Your Mother
What's on the horizon for Ted? I think this may be the longest he's been single.
Thomas: It's nice having Ted be single. ... Ted is going to remain on that search. We're going to address what Victoria (Ashley Williams) said in Episode 3 — "Living and hanging out with your most serious ex-girlfriend may be complicating your search for true love." If you remember, Future Ted narrated that she turned out to be right. We'll get back to that prediction in Episodes 13 through 18. We'll address the fact that Ted has spent the last couple of years living with the woman he thought would be the love of his life and being buddies with her. It's going to remind us how important Robin is in his life. The way he started this entire story was: "I met a girl at a bar." And it was Robin. She's very important in his life and to the series. In many ways, I view this season as a Robin season. We're going to remember as a series how important she is and that there's a reason he's telling this story. There's some great, juicy drama coming up between Ted, Robin and Barney.
Will we get more clues about the mother outside of Barney's future wedding?
Thomas: We'll get some on that future wedding day. I think I'll leave it at that. [Laughs] One of the biggest questions is the fans debating whether we'll introduce the mother in the series or wait until the end. I can't answer that. But we will get back to that future wedding and we will learn who Barney is marrying among some other things. We do leave some unanswered questions, but that won't be one.
How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.