Actor Allusion: In "P.S. I Love You" the gang watches a Canadian version of Vh 1's Behind the Music devoted to Robin Sparkles. Among the people they interview is Dave Coulier. At one point in his interview he says his classic catch phrase "Cut. It. Out!" complete with gestures. Future!Ted remarks "I always did like that joke."
Actually Pretty Brilliant: In "The Fortress", Robin admits that she actually thinks some of the devices Barney has in his apartment (originally intended for his days as a bachelor) are genius.
Anguished Declaration of Love: In "Splitsville", while trying to help Robin and Nick break up, Barney pours his heart out about his feelings for Robin and doesn't hold back.
Invoked in "Twelve Horny Women". Ted, Robin, Barney, and Lily all brag that they were a "Badass" in their youth, and by "Badass" they mean, "Rude juvenile delinquent". None of it's true, of course. Except for Lily. In that same episode, Lily calls Marshall a Badass when he comes up with the trick that helps him win his case.
Invoked in "Lobster Crawl," when Robin appears at the Laser Tag game dressed as Lara Croft.
Bait and Switch: At first, in "The Autumn of Breakups", we're led to believe that Ted really was going to tell Robin he couldn't be friends with her anymore... only for a subtle cutaway to ensue, showing that Ted's telling Victoria that he couldn't bring himself to cut Robin out of his life.
Bathroom Stall Graffiti: In "Time Travelers", Marshall writes Robin's number on the mensroom at McLarens to get back at her for having a drink he invented named after her. Robin appears to do the same in retaliation, but when Marshall goes to the ladies' room to see, he finds a long, eloquent apology written on the whole wall. As he gets to the end, it is revealed that it was really a trick to have Marshall get caught in the ladies room.
Bittersweet Ending: "The Final Page". Barney and Robin finally get back together for good, while Marshall and Lily share the joy of the snowfall with their son. Meanwhile, Ted stares out at the city from his building, all alone.
Bookends: The first episode of the season ended with the moment Ted was about to meet The Mother. The finale ends with us meeting The Mother.
In "The Final Page Part 1": Before the second commercial break, when Marshal, Lily, and Jinxed!Barney are left alone in Daryl's basement (with them thinking he is going to murder them), the three of them scream towards the camera.
Something similar happens in "Nannies", as Lily and Marshall are freaking out over Marvin's disappearance.
Lampshaded in "Who Wants to be a Godparent?": Marshall brings Ted, Barney and Robin into the apartment to play the game, and says that they'll be back "right after these messages." Ted comments, "Why is he pointing at the wall?" Cut to real commercial.
The three of them also break the "interior" fourth wall when they speak to Marshall and Lily within their answers.
Brick Joke: A rather epic one dating to the second season. When Barney had to return Brover to his owner Robin came along with him and reminiscent about when she gave her dogs to her aunt and her female friend living together upstate back in "Stuff." In that episode Lily mentioned that "Oh, they love dogs!" which confused Robin over what she meant by "they." Talking about it again Barney made it clear that her aunt is a lesbian and she was caught off guard that she didn't realize that before.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Everyone, Barney included, forgot that Barney tagged along to go to the art gallery and did a play from the playbook. Because he usually does things like that.
Call Back: To Season 4: " I'm gonna win her back." (although the two clips of Ted saying this are totally different).
A rather clever one to Season 2: The last two episodes in Season 2 are titled, "Something Borrowed," and "Something Blue." The last two episodes in Season 8 were revealed to be titled "Something Old" and "Something New," which goes along with The Mother appearing in the Season Finale.
"Where's the poop, Ted?"
The Previous season has an episode called Good Crazy, this season has an episode called "Bad Crazy".
Casting Gag: The guy who Alyson Hannigan's character runs into right after returning to the college after 15 years? It's Oz!
Character Development: Barney and Robin break up with their Season 7 romances, then dance around and toward each other. Lily and Marshall reconsider the direction of their careers. It is Ted, however, who gets the most development out of everyone for the 8th season. After the heartaches and trials he had endured for the past year, the experiences finally gave him the push to stop chasing every distraction and really settle down.
In Band or DJ, Ted learns that he doesn't always have to be right, and sometimes it's better if he's not.
In Weekend at Barney's, Ted breaks up with Jeanette, who tears through apartment destroying all of his stuff. This event represents the destruction of Ted's single-guy baggage and convinces Ted to really commit to his search for a wife.
In Something Old, Ted encourages Robin to take matters into in her own hands and not to rely on the Universe for signs.
Cliffhanger: Two in The Stamp Tramp: after Marshall and his boss find out their opposing lawyer knows their entire strategy, Marshall is told, "Win this case or lose your job!" Also, Barney and Robin have a Big Damn Kiss, only for Robin to freak out and leave.
Barney's explanation of the entire show in 52 seconds has a lot of these.
Brad claims that his breakup with his girlfriend caused his Start of Darkness to suit up and side with the Corrupt Corporate Executive. Marshall says he knows that can happen, because Marshall knows that's what happened to Barney.
Brad and Marshall note that they'll always be brunch bros.
"The Over-Correction" sees the return of Ted's red boots, the Bro Code, the Intervention banner, and the Playbook. The Playbook is destroyed by Barney.
The last jinx Barney broke led to his being hit by the bus in the third season.
"The Final Page Part 2" shows that Marshall is still a Shipper on Deck for Ted/Robin, as was previously revealed in "No Pressure".
"P.S. I Love You" show Barney using a notepad and drill that both say "Property of Ted Mosby", calling back to "The Over-Correction", where it was revealed that the group is always "borrowing" Ted's things and not returning them.
Barney is breaking into Robin's apartment using the same drill that Robin used to break into Barney's apartment a few months ago.
Barney and Robin attempting to break up a rude couple in "Something New" with the "ring in the wine glass" trick. It works, though they later decide to get married anyway and thank them.
In "Something New", when Marshall is trying to find a way to simultaneously be in Rome and be a judge, he offers the possibility of doing the "Jor-El head thing" to be a judge from long distance, referencing "The Fortress" where it's revealed that Barney has such a contraption in his apartment.
Crazy-Prepared: After Hurricane Sandy, Ted stocked his bedroom with plenty of food, water, and a toilet bucket in case of a future emergency. In Bad Crazy, this comes back to bite him when his girlfriend barricades herself in the room.
Darkest Hour: "The Time Travelers" has Future!Ted explaining just how depressed he was in the lead up to meeting The Mother that he has himself derail the story to confess to The Mother about the future they had in store.
Attempted with Victoria but backed off at the last moment. In the same episode that "revealed" Nick was too sensitive, it was also "revealed" that Victoria was a total slob at home, something that was not a character trait before. But it was moreso Foreshadowing that she and Ted were not back to their perfect first relationship. Her being a slob wasn't mentioned, and the cause of their break-up (Ted's friendship with Robin) was depicted as a legitimate issue.
Disproportionate Retribution: Barney and Robin breaking up a couple that were rude to them and took their seats at a restaurant by making them think the guy was proposing to the woman. Later on make up and decide to get married.
Distracted by My Own Sexy / Screw Yourself: Sort of. It turns Robin on to see herself on TV. She says it's because it makes her feel confident. Her former experience with Argentinean Robin in season 3 suggest otherwise.
Don't Explain the Joke: In "Twelve Horny Women": Barney comments that nowadays, he only wears handcuffs in the bedroom. The bailiff comments "Bondage. I get it."
Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Jeanette is a psycho who will trash your property if she feels you slight her in the slightest. If Ted did a quarter of what Jeanette does to a woman's apartment he would have been locked up for a decade at least.
Dramatic Irony: A year earlier, Victoria had gently chastised Ted for sharing his apartment with his former lover, Robin. This year, she and Ted are doing the same thing, sharing their apartment with her former lover (and fiance!) Klaus. And Klaus sometimes hangs around the house naked!
The Ending Changes Everything: "The Time Travelers" has a surreal story of Ted and Barney dealing with duplicates of themselves in multiple time periods along with a detailed subplot of a Marshall and Robin conflict regarding the name of a new cocktail, the ending has Ted realize that it was an Imagine Spot of him being alone in the bar and hallucinating events from different periods in the past. Future!Ted then talks about how that was such a depressing moment in his life that he says the only thing that he would have wanted to do was run to "The Mother" and be with her 45 days earlier than what really happened.
Epic Fail: Barney's bachelor party. Exactly as planned.
Felony Misdemeanor: In a flashback, baby Marshall gets tossed around by his father and his older brothers. Judy is horrified - they could have broken a lamp or a vase. The men continue their game outside.
As revealed in the season seven finale, Barney and Quinn don't end up together. The same goes for Ted and Victoria, since it's been stated that Ted meets the Mother at the day of Barney and Robin's wedding.
Given that one of them was marrying someone else, its pretty obvious that Robin and Nick aren't going to last. Ditto Barney and Patrice, which turns out to be faked, as told in "The Robin".
The show lampshaded this in "The Pre-Nup" by having a split-screen image of all four couples arguing in bed, and Ted ominously stating that one of the couples would break up the very next day, before admitting it obviously wasn't Marshall & Lilly.
Sorry Ted; you aren't moving to Chicago or selling your house.
Foreshadowing: Marshall not telling his mother about his and Lily's moving to Rome foreshadows how he deals with receiving a judgeship; he tries to keep it from Lily until he can tell her in person. He even uses the same line: "This is face-to-face news."
Klaus, who is played by American comedian Thomas Lennon, uses two words (Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz (lifelong destiny-darling) and Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand (almost passion-object) when he explains Ted about Victoria. The compounds are made up, but the words (if written as "lebenslanger Schicksalsschatz") would be valid German and at the very least understandable to a German speaker.
Hypocritical Humor: At the end of "The Final Page: Part 2", Barney mentions a few times that his friends have no boundaries while he also mentions having one of his hidden cameras in Marshall and Lily's apartment.
Nick is made fun of for his misconceptions towards gypsys yet Robin, a Canadian, didn't beleive in the North Pole nor Riendeer.
I Call It "Vera": At the beginning of "Lobster Crawl", Barney calls one of his ties Cornelius.
Ignored Epiphany: In "Weekend at Barney's", Ted decides he's done with dating and just wants to settle down in a committed relationship. No more fooling around. The following episode sees him hooking up with a girl who thought he was gay and British.
Karma Houdini: You think Lily's bad? Meet Jeanette. Even in-universe, the gang (except Ted, of course) sees that this woman has absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever as a human being, and that it is Ted's sheer stupidity that keeps him under her rein. Despite the sheer property damage she has caused, not once has anyone ever called her out. It could be explained by her job as a Lieutenant in New York Police Department, but she's had prior disciplinary problems there as well, so it's not as if they'd cover for her.
After being jinxed (And tortured by the entire group over it) thoughout "The Final Page Part 1," Barney gets to watch Lily & Marshall inadvertantedly throw away $100,000 before jinxing the two of them & promising to torture the two of them on the car ride home.
When Barney discovers that his half-sister Carly slept with Ted, Ted then frames it as karmic retribution for Barney's previous behavior towards women, especially since Barney claims to have hooked up with Ted's mom.note This allegedly happened following the season 2 episode Brunch, but Barney doesn't tell the story until "Home Wreckers" in season 5. Barney's story is clearly embellished, but was there a kernel of truth?
The Barney is the perfect payback against Barney for pulling off The Robin.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "The Pre-Nup", Ted describes a TV show thusly: "It's big comedy, but you also really care about these characters."
In "Who Wants to Be a Godparent?", after Marshall (who just announced the titular game) turns to the camera to announce the commercial break, Ted, Robin, and Barney follow his gaze... and wonder why he's talking to the wall.
Loony Fan: Daryl to Lily and Marshall in The Final Page Part 1.
Love Hurts: Ted in Band or DJ finding out that Robin and Barney are engaged causes Ted more emotional pain than some of the most painful parts in his life. Including: getting his tattoo removed, spilling hot food on himself, getting beaten up by a goat, getting punched in the nuts, Robin telling him that she doesn't love him etc A thousand times.
Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Robin and Nick. Nick isn't overtly feminine, but he is much more sensitive from the "raised as a boy until she was 16" Robin, and hosts a cooking show.
May–December Romance: In "Ring Up!", Ted (who is in his mid 30s) dates Carly, who is 20. In one scene, they go to a club and the other people in the club were represented as young children.
Meaningful Background Event: Now, while The Stinger of "The Ashtray" reveals that Barney was with the guys (sans Marshall) despite them all claiming otherwise, Lily's version of the story actually gives it away sooner: While she and The Captain were looking at his painting, Ted can be heard screaming from the living room. If you recall, Ted was under the assumption (due to a "sandwich") that The Captain was threatening him (which Robin's version of the story confirms; he was just making some adjustments to his DVR). But how can he be "threatening" Ted in the living room if he and Lily were in his bedroom? Was Ted just seeing a hallucination, or was it Barney messing with the remote?
Mood Swing: In "Twelve Horny Women," Marshall is going before the judical review board, implied that he is about to be disbarred due to conduct in the court room. It turns out he wants to apply to be a judge because he had actually won the case but was dissatisfied by that judge's ruling.
My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Done with a delicious layer of irony. Ted ended up sleeping with Barney's half-sister Carly, only both Ted and Barney learning who she was when showing her picture to Barney. The complicated part is Ted wasn't really connecting with her, but gave it a shot under Barney's request in order to help wean off his one-night-stand lifestyle. Barney is caught between typical "high-five for scoring" behavior and disgust for his role in Carly getting some action. His only solution was to try and arrange a Shotgun Wedding to make it right.
The moment in "The Over-Correction" when Robin realizes the Intervention isn't for Barney, but for her.
Robin: Please tell me this is about my drinking. (Lily hands her a drink) Dammit.
Marshall in "Something New", when he learns that his application for becoming a judge has been accepted, just one week before moving to Rome with Lily and Marvin.
O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Barney burning The Playbook is accepted as proof by most of the gang that he's serious about Patrice. It's later revealed he burned it as part of his "Robin" play... but it's no less shocking because and he did mean it "Because [he doesn't] need it anymore."
Subverted later in that it wasn't the real Playbook, due to Barney's fear of destroying his legacy. Then double subverted when he encourages Jeanette to blow up the real one.
Once More, with Clarity!: In "The Final Page," we see many of Barney's actions throughout the season from his perspective, revealing his plans.
Only Sane Man: Arthur of all people diffuses the arguments in the second episode.
Playing Gertrude: Lily and Robin are shown in scenes from various points of the future in the sixteenth episode. Hairstyles change, the wardrobe gradually becomes more suitable for middle-aged ladies, yet not much effort is made to actually make the actresses look older. Despite the fact, that the last scene takes place seventeen years later, when both characters are fiftish.
Marshall wins a class action lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company, but the judge was unwilling to hurt the company by fining them the intended 25 million dollars and so reduced it to 25 thousand (.1% of the original, and in fact only $500 more than the company had already offered out-of-court). Marshall is very upset, as more was probably spent on court fees and lawyer paychecks for each side. This inspires him to apply to be a judge so he had more influence on the system. It gets taken Up to Eleven later in the season when we found out that the judge's refusal to award costs ended up financially wrecking Marshall's law firm, who are eventually left with just Marshall and one other employee, have had virtually no cases since the lawsuit, and almost certainly go bust after Marshall leaves to join Lily on her trip to Italy.
Ted also experiences this in "The Final Page". He insured that Robin would go after Barney (and unintentionally helped Barney pull off "The Robin") at the expense of being alone at the party for the opening of his building. The last scene shows him looking out a window depressed.
"Rashomon"-Style: In "The Ashtray", the story of the last time they saw The Captain is told from the point of view of Ted, Robin and finally Lily. Ted's story seems normal, until Robin reveals he was high the entire time, and Robin's version seems normal until Lily reveals Robin was drunk the entire time.
Retcon: When it was first revealed that Robin had been teenaged pop star Robin Sparkles, she claimed she had only one minor hit, "Let's Go To the Mall". Later, when it was revealed she had a second song, "Sandcastles in the Sand", she claimed it "kinda tanked." But according to the Canadian music documentary in this season, both songs were huge hits at the time, although "Let's Go To the Mall" was twice as big a hit as "Sandcastles in the Sand". And while everyone in the documentary (exceptk. d. lang) laments her public meltdown with her third song, "P.S. I Love You", it's still seen as a major music milestone: The Day Grunge Was Born (in Canada). All of this suggests that Robin Sparkles had been a much bigger hit than Robin had ever let on. Could be Justified, as Robin Sparkles is still an Old Shame for Robin, who's fully aware that Robin Sparkles has neither aged well nor translates well South of the Canadian border. Robin might have deliberately downplayed her early success because she didn't want to expose herself and Canada to even more ridicule from her friends.
The Reveal: In "Lobster Crawl", that Barney did not, in fact, hook up with Brandi at the news station. Instead he spent all night talking to Patrice and, apparently, they're dating.
Sort of Double Subverted in "The Final Page", where it turns out Barney wasn't actually going out with Patrice, but instead it was all a part of a complicated play to ask Robin to marry him.
In "Time Travelers," all the events being shown happened a few years ago, and Ted is actually sitting in the bar alone with a Robots vs. Wrestlers ticket because everyone else was too busy to come.
The biggest one so far in "Something New", Finally seeing The Mother for the first time. We don't yet know her name, we don't know the exact conditions of her and Ted's meeting, but we have seen her face. That's enough for some.
Scooby Stack: The entire gang are trapped in Barney's apartment and don't wish to be spotted by him, but they peek at him and his date through a door and their stacked heads form the stock pose.
Screw Destiny: Ted has a speech about taking matters into your own hands in Something Old.
Secret Test of Character: "The Robin" was one For both Ted and Robin. Barney had to know that he had Ted's implicit blessing to date Robin, and he had to know that Robin still cared for him.
Sentimental Sacrifice: Barney burns the playbook as part of "The Robin," the ultimate play to get Robin back and marry her. "Step 11: Decide to burn the playbook. Step 12: Actually burn it. You don't need it anymore."
Share the Male Pain: Every guy in the room once they realized where Quinn wanted to put the shock collar on Barney in "The Pre-Nup".
Ship Sinking: According to Ted, Klaus would eventually be right regarding Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz. This seems to not only decisively sink the Ted/Victoria ship, but any likelihood of The Mother being one of the girls introduced during the last seven seasons.
The episode name "Twelve Horny Women" is explicitly a reference to 12 Angry Men.
Shown Their Work: Although some fans have expressed disbelief that the New York State Judiciary Committee would require an immediate response from Marshall without even giving him a chance to discuss it with his wife, this sort of thing actually does happen. Becoming a judge is a highly-coveted profession in the legal world, and many vacancies only up when somebody dies (a lot of judges never retire and cling to the job for as long as they can). In Marshall's case, he was number one on a list for an immediate vacancy in an understaffed office. If Marshall had hung up without taking the job, they simply would have called the next person on the list and the position would likely be filled before Marshall had a chance to call back.
Social Networks Always Spoil: Right after the Season Finale, the Facebook page of the show put a picture of Cristin Milioti as the Mother, with her face in full display. That spoiled the hell out of the people who hadn't watched the episode yet. Specially the audience from outside the US (which is pretty big).
Spexico: In "Something Old", when Ted recalls his trip throughout Spain with a fanny pack, at first things go more or less well: the map shows the correct country, (although the cities are all misplaced and some of them are misspelled) and Ted is seen in some places that are actually in Spain (and not all of it is Toros y Flamenco)... and then, a group of Mexican mariachi show up...
Snow Means Love: The second Barney and Robin kiss after becoming engaged on the WWN rooftop, it begins to snow. And continues to snow while they bask in the moment, and while Marshall and Lily reunite with Baby Marvin
Surprisingly Good Spanish: In "Something Old". Despite the blatant Spexico in the way it's delivered, "el ganso con la riñonera" DOES mean "fanny pack dork". Although it's a rather bland mocking by Spaniard standards, the translation is completely sound and even has some Woolseyism involved: "ganso" literally means "goose", but figuratively can mean also "dork" depending on the situation. Plus, the sentence is simplified to make it flow better in English (a more word-for-word translation would be "the dork with the fanny pack").
Stalker with a Crush: Robin becomes this to Barney after he's given up on her. As Barney planned with his "Robin" play.
Stalking Is Love: "PS: I Love You" explores this and Stalker with a Crush, and basically says the difference between being a stalker and being romantic is whether the stalkee is interested in the stalker.
Status Quo Is God: Just before Marshall and Lily go to Italy, the former is offered a judge position causing the couple to stay in New york.
Tagalong Kid: Lily and Marshall's baby will probably be this to the gang.
Ted narrates his own version of their encounter with the Captain except he was stoned at that time, which causes him to think that the Captain is much more threatening than he is, and also to think that he only thought various things that he actually said out loud.
Robin also narrates her own version of the encounter which believes that the Captain was coming on to her, when in fact she was actually drunk at that time.
Barney keeps trying to insert himself into stories that he wasn't present.
Furthermore, Ted commented that even though the Gang eventually moved on and drifted apart, they would still come together to watch Robots v. Wrestlers. In The Time Travelers the gang have no time for Ted, and he's stuck in the bar with the two tickets.
Wham Episode: Just about every episode this season brings in something big. From the season premiere, nothing more whammy than seeing the yellow umbrella, cluing in that The Mother and Ted are about to meet for the first time.
"The Autumn of Breakups": Ted and Victoria break up after he refuses to end his friendship with Robin.
"Splitsville": Robin and Nick break up after Barney pours his heart out about his feelings for Robin and then then tries to play it off later.
"The Final Page": Part 1 ends with Barney telling Ted he's planning on proposing to Patrice. Part 2 reveals how this and a good chunk of his actions this season concerning Robin were all part of "The Robin", a play he devised so that he can propose to her. She says yes.
"Band or DJ?" reveals Barney and Robin's wedding date is May 25th 2013 (episode aired January 14th, 2013 and the show is contemporary), making it the day Ted met The Mother. Plus The Mother was the bass guitar player at the reception, who was recommended by her roommate Cindy when Ted happened to run into her.
"The Time Travelers" opens with a lot of information about the state both Ted and The Mother were at in the exact same time: she lived within walking distance of Ted's apartment and MacLaren's, she was an Econ Major at Columbia, she was dating a guy named Lewis and she didn't spend all her time at a bar. It also confirms with no question that after the events of the episode they met 45 days later.
Something New reveals that Ted is selling the home he was fixing and moving to Chicago, Marshall is offered a judge position, and The Mother appears in flesh for the first time.
Ted calls out Barney on his behavior with other women during his engagement to Robin, and Barney then proceeds to call him out on his feelings for Robin.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: this trope is supremely deconstructed in "The Stamp Tramp." Marshall, who believes in kindness and people, decides to help his old compatriot Brad to get a job in his law firm. The gang, even Ted, point out that Marshall has been too generous in giving anyone his stamp of approval. But Marshall does not listen. Turns out that Brad works for rival firms and uses Marshall to get inside Marshall's law firm and plant bugs in their strategic meeting. It also does not help that he is a big Fan of Underdog and is willing to support people merely for trying to improve rather than for actually delivering good work.
Will They or Won't They?: Barney and Robin. An odd example because it's revealed in the seventh season finale that They Do since Robin is the bride at Barney's wedding. But now it's really just a matter of when and how.
You Can't Fight Fate: The somewhat grim conclusion Ted and Lily come to in "Band or DJ" when admitting to each other that there are times Lily wishes she wasn't a mother and that Ted still wishes Robin was marrying him instead of Barney.