Sandra Gonzalez
February 22, 2011 AT 03:00 PM EST

Image Credit: CBSHere’s a conundrum. By all indications, one of TV’s most notoriously single men is head over heels in love with a woman. Before you ask — no, that in itself is not the issue at hand. In fact, I rather enjoy it when Barney shows emotional growth and evolves as a character. I loved when he silently pined after Robin (though, a large part of me always liked them better as friends, and their interactions last night proved that’s a fair preference). I loved that he suddenly found himself so smitten with a woman that he rejected an offer from Robin to have ex-sex in last night’s episode. (It was a test; not a real offer.) And I think many of us can agree that it’s about time he think about the future of his love life. The problem is that I feel like I don’t know the woman who’s so suddenly stolen my Barnacle’s heart.

Nora seems nice enough. She’s gorgeous, spunky, and had enough strength to decline drinks with Barney. But am I blind for simply not understanding why he feels such a strong connection? Are we supposed to accept this as a simple (or not so simple, depending on your view) case of love at first sight? Call me cynical, but that seems like an easy out in any case — much less when there’s a wedding to be speculated about.

Ah yes, the wedding. The season-long mystery that will — one can hope — be solved come season finale and show us where Ted met the Mother. (As Ted said last night, we know that his relationship with Zoey “didn’t end well at all.”) Until Barney met Nora, it could have really been anyone’s game. Okay, maybe not anyone. Marshall and Lily, who decided this week to put a hold on baby plans while Marshall found a job “saving the world,” were clearly out of the running. But with Robin in a dry spell (18 weeks!) and Ted obviously single at the time of the wedding, we’re on a path that would lead us to believe it’s Barney and Nora at the altar.

One could say that’s being too presumptuous and that it’s a definite fake-out, but you can’t help but wonder if that’s where this is headed. Personally, I’m afraid Barney will end up with this girl I don’t know for the sake of having a wedding that was set up at season’s start. I mean, I like Nora just fine, and I want Barney to be happy. But with less than half a season to go, would a marriage be too much, too fast? If it turns out to be Barney and Nora’s wedding, will you eat that omelet, PopWatchers?

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