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Let's just get it out of the way: What's the latest on doing a Season 9?
Carter Bays: We're going to write through [Episode] 14. We're not quite at the point where we have to diverge paths [to a Season 8 ending or a Season 9 ending]. At least through 2012, what we're working on works either way. I'm hoping we resolve that soon. We're coming up against the edge now.

Robin's teetering on the brink of sanity with her obsession of him and Patrice. Do you think you might have gone too far with that?
Bays: Robin's a tough girl for sure and obviously we've never seen her like this, but there's something about Patrice that gets under her skin in a way other people don't. ... [Monday's episode] is about confronting Robin's issues with Patrice and how weird it is to have an enemy and someone that makes you that angry and how much Barney has to do with it. Can she go through with getting Patrice fired? It's a great study of Robin and her feelings.
Does that imply that we won't see the courtship of the mother?
Bays: I still can't say. [Laughs] But we're going to start, I'm sure, frustrating a large segment of the viewership by answering a couple of small questions this season here and there before getting to the big shebang. We will get a couple more glimpses of her this year.

Will there be any clues in real time? A glimpse of another body part in Cindy's (Rachel Bilson) apartment? Her bass guitar?
Bays: [Laughs] Our first episode in January, somebody will resurface that you wouldn't expect to see. It's an important moment that we're going to see involving an old face and Ted. Ted bumps into somebody that will have a big influence on his search for the mother. That's the first real-time clue. We have a few more surprises with old faces. Ray Wise is coming back [as Robin's dad] and we're hoping to get some more. We're all pretty nostalgic here.

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