TV: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ finally gets to “the end of the aisle” before next week’s series finale

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
The hour-long series finale of How I Met Your Mother airs Monday, March 31 at 8 p.m.
Rating: 5/5

The End of the Aisle

Tonight’s episode was the last before the finale of How I Met Your Mother. I’ll save the long speech about my love for this show and how weird Monday nights will be without it, for next week. For now, let’s rejoice over another splendid episode.

The episode is called “The End of the Aisle,” a fitting title because it details the story that brings us to the end of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin’s (Cobie Smulders) long, and I mean long, wedding weekend. This wasn’t a feat I thought they would conquer until the finale, so I’m incredibly excited but still irrevocably sad for next week.

It’s Sunday at 5:28 p.m., 32 minutes before the wedding.

The episode begins where the season seven and eight premieres left off: with Ted (Josh Radnor) trying to soothe Robin, who is convinced she can’t go through with the wedding, and with Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) holding Barney back from trying to flee through the window in hope of getting his cornflower blue tie.

Robin doesn’t feel right that she never found the locket and that she wants to be with a guy who could magically find it for her. Ted, who just so happens to have the locket in his pocket, gives the necklace to Barney to give to Robin. But, Robin knows Ted is the one who found it, despite his adorable story about Barney and some baby birds. “You always go big for me,” she said. “The most loving things Barney has done for me (the proposal and the rehearsal dinner) are all based on lies. … Legendary means not real. … His initials are B.S.!”

“Maybe I should be marrying you,” Robin tells Ted. “I should be with you. … Shouldn’t I be with the guy who gets me the locket and steals me the blue French horn?”

Anyone who saw the promo for this week’s episode knew something was going to happen on the Ted-Robin front. Though Ted may have literally and figuratively let go of Robin, they never showed her truly saying she was done with that possibility. Luckily, Ted truly is done and doesn’t play along with these last minute nerves.

“I don’t love you like that anymore,” he tells her. “You don’t love me. You love Barney. If you think I would be part of something that would screw that all up, then you don’t know me at all.”

The fact that he says, “you don’t love me” and not “you don’t love me anymore” was the final affirmation that Ted will never be with Robin. He knows she doesn’t truly love him like that, and he’s finally and truly done loving her like that. I’m glad this non-relationship can finally be put to rest. I never had a problem pairing up Ted and Robin before because Radnor and Smulders have incredible chemistry, but after seeing Radnor and Milioti, there’s no doubt in my mind, that is what I want for Ted’s future. I want someone he connects with on every level; someone who is just as nerdy and adorkable as he is; and someone who truly loves him.

There was also another Mosby monologue about how love is nonsensical by its very nature and that humans do love best. All I want in life is for someone to compile all of these wondrous speeches so that I may listen to them as one would listen to any self-help audiobook. I would never buy one of those, but I could sit and listen to Ted pepping me up for life and love any day, any time.

tumblr_n2yxwxfwRe1qfmzxdo6_r2_250Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily try to help Barney figure out his wedding vows, which of course he hasn’t finished. It’s only 30 minutes until the wedding; no big. “Vow”-za, Marshall was strong with the puns tonight; he showed us “vow” it was done. Segel’s pun delivery is so corny but it is the best. I love that giggle and will miss it dearly. Surprisingly, Barney actually attacks the two for breaking all of the vows they made at their wedding — not the sweet ones they made by the tree in their pre-mini-wedding.

Yet, the couple’s love is unphased as Marshall leads Lily into the empty church so that they can share updated vows. My heart instantly melted. They vowed to keep updating them as they go because one set of vows can’t cover a lifetime of love. This moment is probably one of the final memories I will have of the amazing couple, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect. Everything they said was accurate to a real relationship and made me believe, all over again, so wholeheartedly in their love. I have always longed for Ted’s love story because it is about finding someone you connect with so deeply and love instantly. Tonight’s episode showed me why I need Marshall and Lily’s love as well, this isn’t to say I haven’t always wanted it but that I now realize how equally important it is. These two have been together for a large portion of their lives already and been through a ton of ups and downs, yet their love has persisted. As Marshall says, he vows to fall more in love with Lily every day. Their love has grown as they’ve grown. To steal from Veronica Mars, their love is epic — an epic I truly believe in and wholeheartedly root for (I just have some qualms about the whole LoVe thing, OK?!). Their love is something I will never doubt, and that’s something we all long for and hope to find one day. You go, Marshmallow and Lilypad.

Though Ted’s speeches did the trick for me, Robin still wants to run, and she runs right into the Mother (Cristin Milioti). This is how Robin met the Mother. Robin tells the Mother of her qualms — because everyone just instantly tells her their deepest secrets upon their first encounter — and the Mother only responds with “wow,” much to Robin’s disappointment. Because she doesn’t really know her, the Mother only offers her the advice to take three deep breaths before she decides anything.

After three breaths, Robin opens her eyes to see Barney standing there. He forgoes the stack of vows he had prepped and instead makes only one: to always be honest with her. He then tells her the truth about the locket. Before he goes, Robin calls him back for a kiss.

It’s Sunday at 5:59 p.m., 1 minute until the wedding.

Barney is itching to go back to Manhattan to get his cornflower blue tie, but Marshall literally slaps it out of him, fulfilling the final slap of the seven-year slap bet. After the previous slap episode, I knew the last slap would be either on the altar or sometime during the celebration. It was a great moment but honestly a rather weak slap. Here’s to another lovable HIMYM gag that has bid its final adieu. Farewell, slap bet; you are an excellent way of settling debates. We’ll miss you and the slap bet countdown.

ringbearThere’s a ring BEAR and he’s adorable!! I refuse to ever go to a wedding unless there’s a ring bear; bearers can just never live up to the cuteness.

We also got one last “Nobody asked you Patrice” as Robin scolded Patrice (Ellen D. Williams) — who I am assuming is her bridesmaid because Robin doesn’t have any other people she talks to — after she complimented her wedding dress.

As the beloved narrator Bob Saget put it, it was a “twisting and turning road to the end of the aisle.” It wasn’t perfect getting there and it wasn’t perfect after. But “it was legendary.”

We all know the finale has to end with “And that’s how I met your mother,” so I’m glad “legendary” could make its impact here.

My heart rests easily now that I know Barney and Robin are married. For some reason, I never felt comfortable fully committing to the idea for fear of it shattering before the very end. It was never something I felt was endgame or surefire, but I am thrilled they tied the knot. Going with the overall comedic idea of the show, it would have been too difficult to end the show with those two not ending up together. This is also my reason for why the Mother just simply cannot die in the finale.

I’m trying to save all of my HIMYM thoughts and feelings until next week when I need to simply binge them all out at one time. All I can say is that this episode was a great precursor to the end. Ted and Robin are finally wrapped up; Robin and Barney are married; and Marshall and Lily are as adorable as ever. I can only expect my mind to be blown next week and that my heart will melt as my eyes gush waterfalls over the finale.

Tell me where I can find a ring bear @buzzlightmeryl


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