How I Met Your Mother’ Season 8 puts yet another relationship on the chopping block in its fifth episode of the (potentially) final season “The Autumn of Break-Ups,” as Ted and Victoria try to work through an impasse in their relationship, while Robin finds herself troubled that Barney has retreated into his new canine wing-man, "Brover."

Last time’s ‘How I Met Your Mother’ episode “Who Wants To Be A Godparent?” saw Marshall and Lily holding a game show-style competition to choose a guardian between Ted, Robin and Barney, though the proceedings ended up isolating the three contestants from husband-and-wife team, so what did tonight’s episode bring?  Are we any closer to learning how the last year for Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall and Lily plays out?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘How I Met Your Mother’ season 8 episode 5, “The Autumn of Break-Ups!”

With a lonely Barney in search of a wing-man, the Barnacle happens across an adorable stray pooch seemingly in search of the same.  Hello Brover!  Elsewhere, Ted reflects with Marshall and Lily what a great night they had the night before, only the married couple remembers it quite differently.  Victoria seemed to be dropping some pretty heavy hints that she’s looking for more serious commitment from Ted, which Marshall uses his new sassy soulful voice to explain.

Barney presents Brover to Robin and Nick at MacLaren’s, though Robin sees the dog as more of a cry for help than anything else.  She asks Nick if he has a problem with Barney coming to dinner with them, in order to further observe.  Back at the apartment, Marshall and Lily assure Ted that his and Victoria’s relationship didn’t completely reboot, and she definitely wants t0 accelerate the commitment.

Ted takes the matter up with Victoria herself, who denies it at first, before presenting him with her old wedding dress and confirming that Marshall and Lily’s assessment was correct.  The way Victoria sees it, something is holding them both back from fully diving into the relationship, even if they don’t quite know what it is yet.

Barney shows up to Nick and Robin’s even further regressed, with Brover in a doggie suit and a complete fantasy of how he and Brover make the perfect wing-men.  Just then, Barney gets a call from Brover’s true owner that he has to return the adorably well-behaved pooch!  Taking it well for the moment, Barney steps outside to the balcony, and Robin rushes to pull him down from the ledge.

Ted confirms Lily and Marshall’s assessment of Victoria’s demand, and Marshall once more channels his inner goddess to advise Ted to either make an honest woman out of Victoria, or let her go.  Later,  Victoria arrives home to find a tuxedoed Ted awaiting her in a room full of roses, who then pops the question!  Victoria eagerly accepts, but stipulates that their marriage must come at the cost of Ted’s friendship with Robin, believing Robin to be the thing that’s always held them back.

Barney begins his tender goodbyes to Brover, while Robin observes that she should go with him, to Nick’s chagrin.  Together, Barney and Robin visit the attractive owner’s apartment to return Brover (Mr. Sprinkles), and the woman invites Barney in for a drink.  Realizing herself to be a third wheel, Robin makes an excuse and leaves the pair alone, while Barney notes to himself that Robin was the better wing-man anyway.

Lily reluctantly agrees with Victoria that Robin can’t be in Ted’s life if he wants their marriage to work, while Marshall admits that even he may have taken his inner advice-giving goddess a bit too far.  Ted loathes the thought of losing Robin from his life, but with no relationship between them, and the potential for a lifetime of happiness with Victoria, the choice seems fairly clear.

Robin returns to her apartment to find Nick having already forgiven her, and even tolerant of the fact that Ted texts that he needs to see her right away.  A while later, Ted hesitates outside of MacLaren’s before going in to sit with Robin, and beginning his long goodbye speech.  Before he gets too far however, we see that Ted abandoned the speech with Robin, and instead met with Victoria to ask if she could accept how he considers Robin family.  Tearfully, Victoria says “I hope you get her someday,” and walks out.

Later, Robin arrives to meet the gang at Ted’s apartment, and clarifies how Ted called her to MacLaren’s only to make up an excuse about writing young adult mystery novels.  When Ted explains that he broke up with Victoria, he, Marshall and Lily share a knowing look, Ted having earlier sworn them to secrecy that he broke up with Victoria to protect his relationship with Robin.  Future Ted mentions that Robin found out eventually, but as always, “we’ll get to that."

During the credits, Barney meets with Brover once more to find the poor dog has gotten another pregnant, and the two flee together down the street.

Perhaps because it's been near of a month since we've seen any fresh 'How I Met Your Mother,' but 'The Autumn of Break-Ups" felt like the best episode of the season yet, with an even mix of humor and heart, and not so bogged down by absurdity as in "Who Wants To Be A  Godparent."  However gimmicky, "Brover" certainly made for plenty of laughs, and even extraneous characters like Victoria and Nick felt more fully formed than in previous episodes.  Nick remains the final relationship on the chopping block, but we're much more concerned with finding out if 'How I Met Your Mother' season 8 will end up being the last.

Did you get your ‘How I Met Your Mother’ jollies from “The Autumn of Break-Ups?”  Do you think it made for a solid entry into the (potentially) final season?  What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for an all-new episode recap of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ “Splitsville” on CBS!