How I Met Your Mother’ Season 8 comes out of the pit with its eleventh episode of the (potentially) final season “The Final Page, Part 1,” as Ted returns to his alma mater Wesleyan to confront his former architecture professor, Marshall and Lily encounter their creepy old classmate Daryl (Seth Green), Barney suffers a jinx and Robin faces a difficult decision at work.

Last week’s ‘How I Met Your Mother’ episode “The Over-Correction” saw Robin going to obsessive lengths to expose Barney’s relationship with Patrice (Ellen D. Williams) as a fraud, while Marshall and Lily discovered their respective parents had taken up a disturbing new pastime, so what did the first half of tonight’s one-hour 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 11, “The Final Page, Part 1!”

As the gang sits at the bar, Marshall orders the same drink as Barney and calls a Jinx, sending the group into elation.  When Barney ignored a jinx years earlier and wound up hit by a bus, the group had taken them very seriously and had been eager to pay Barney back for his many jinxes since.  With Barney unable to talk, the group sets about torturing him for it immediately.

The next day, Ted prepares invitations for the opening of his GNB skyscraper, including one for his former architecture professor Vinick (Peter Gallagher), whom he’d never been able to impress before.  The gang jokes that Vinick is Ted’s ‘Silence of the Lambs’ pit guy, much as Marshall and Lily would be for their creepy former classmate Daryl, an obsessive, stalking hacky-sack enthusiast.  Meanwhile Barney continues suffering for his inability to speak, while Robin wrestles with a recent work opportunity to fire Patrice, her own pit person.

Ted opens the RSVP from Vinick to see that the professor has declined, and doesn’t remember him anyway, leading Ted to manically drive the whole group back to Wesleyan to confront his former teacher. Robin continues her sadistic interview of Patrice as the gang arrives on campus, where Marshall and Lily are immediately confronted by a still-present Daryl. Showing off his hacky-sack stand adorned with Marshall and Lily’s faces, he invites them all down to his basement to see something, despite Barney’s silent protests.

Meanwhile, Ted stews in the back of Professor Vinick’s class, getting swept up in his own enthusiasm for the subject material.  He approaches Vinick afterward, who still doesn’t remember him, and doesn’t care for his GNB building designs either.  Ted remains crushed, while back in New York Robin impulsively fires Patrice for being with Barney.

Marshall, Lily and Barney (silently) panic, as an increasingly manic Daryl leads them into his basement, but when Marshall believes the moment of murder has arrived, he yells at Daryl for obsessively holding onto them.  Taken aback, Daryl reveals that he planned to give them a $100,000 check for their share in the business, but having realized his own happiness and fiscal success, decides he doesn’t need his old friends anymore and tears the check.  Back in New York, Robin admits to Patrice her true sadness about losing out on Barney, and tearfully un-fires her.

The gang finds Ted in the hall, having made a full model of his building to show off, but upon hearing of Daryl’s epiphany Ted realizes that the only person in the metaphorical pit is himself.  Robin comes to a similar realization about her anger with Patrice, and the two resolve to let go of their captive emotions and move on.

Back in the car, Barney shows Ted an engagement ring, tricking him into saying Barney’s name and releasing the jinx.  Capturing Ted in his own jinx, Barney explains that he plans to propose to Patrice, finally feeling enough happiness to settle, and releases Ted from the jinx on the promise that he not tell anyone about it.  Marshall and Lily get in the car, accidentally stuck with a jinx of their own, and Barney revels in his victory and upcoming plans.

It's difficult to review the first half of tonight's episode on it's own, but "The Final Page, Part 1" does a fantastic job of keeping up the pace of its gags, even if the story feels cartoonish in some of the worst 'How I Met Your Mother' ways.  Seth Green's appearance is a welcome one, as is Peter Gallagher's as Ted's snobby professor, but the real entertainment comes from Barney's obsessive adherence to the jinx, and the multiple gags it creates. We especially enjoyed the 'Silence of the Lambs' references as well as their sweet resolution, but can the second half keep it up?

Did you find vindication with “The Final Page, Part 1,” or did it leave you down in the pit?  Do you think it made for a solid entry into the (potentially) final season? Stay tuned for an all-new episode recap of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ mid-season finale “The Final Page, Part 2” on CBS!