We're expecting an announcement very soon in the near future whether or not the current season of 'How I Met Your Mother' will be the last for Ted, Lily, Marshall, Robin and Barney, or if the gang will go on to a ninth, and presumably final season. Creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have expressed their preparations for either case, but the deadline is fast approaching for CBS to navigate a deal before one path must be chosen. So while we wait, what's on deck for 'How I Met Your Mother' in the rest of 2012?

While 'How I Met Your Mother' fans wait on bated breath for the seemingly inevitable reunion of Barney and Robin, this week's all-new episode "Lobster Crawl" tossed a surprising new wrench into the works, complicating Robin's pursuit of her ex with Barney's new involvement with her nemesis Patrice!  But how far will the relationship go before Barney and Robin get back on track?

According to the official press releases for upcoming episodes "The Over-Correction" and winter finale "The Final Page, Pt. 1" and "The Final Page, Pt. 2" Barney and Patrice is no mere overnight affair!  See for yourself:

“The Over-Correction” — Robin becomes increasingly suspicious of Barney’s relationship with Patrice. Meanwhile, Marshall discovers his mother is moving on in her romantic life… with a very disturbing partner.

“The Final Page, Part One And Two” – With Christmas fast approaching, Barney tells Ted that he plans on proposing to Patrice, which leads Ted to debate whether or not to tell Robin. Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily run into an acquaintance from college (Seth Green).

Sheesh, an engagement already? And how much do you want to bet that Marshall's mother's new fling is none other than Lily's father Mickey (Chris Elliot), absent but referenced this week? Plus, in addition to Seth Green's appearance in the latter episode, 'The O.C.'s Peter Gallagher will make his appearance as Ted's former architecture professor.

What say you? How do you think 'How I Met Your Mother' will close out 2012 with Barney and Robin? Will this be the final year for the show?