Coming into this episode of How I Met Your Mother, the title and the previews made it clear that this would be the moment when we finally see Barney and Robin’s wedding. Their love story has been a saga that’s lasted long past its time, with far too many will they/won’t they moments scattered in over the last few seasons. Anyone who has been reading my reviews knows I’ve been over that ordeal for quite some time, and if I’m being totally honest, that had me quite skeptical coming into this episode. Well, I’m happy to say I was very wrong.
“The End Of The Aisle” picks up with the scene from the end of season 7. Both Barney and Robin are nervous about their wedding and Ted goes inside to comfort Robin. She is having major second thoughts about marrying Barney and starts talking about how she wished he had somehow found her locket. It turns out Ted actually brought the locket to the wedding, but he decides to give it to Barney to give to Robin. Robin sees right through that though, and the fact that it’s really Ted who tracked it down only makes her more uncertain about marrying Barney.
While I think there’s been an unrealistic emphasis this season on a locket, the way it was handled in this episode was actually pretty good. The scenes with Robin struggling over her decision are some of the best we’ve seen from Cobie Smulders, and Radnor is excellent as always. That’s such a pivotal moment for Ted. He’s faced with the opportunity to show how much he cares to the girl he’s been in love with for nine years and he doesn’t take it. That’s the closure this relationship has needed, and although it needed it a few years ago, it finally prepares Ted to actually meet the Mother.
During the course of his efforts at reminding Robin that she loves Barney, Ted throws in a classic Mosby speech about the power of love. Yes, it’s a bit cheesy, but the difference between that speech and all the overly emotional scenes between Barney and Robin is simple – the writers acknowledge it. Through something as simple as Ted saying, “I know that’s cheesy,” the scene instantly becomes exponentially better. It’s a simple writing technique, but it’s enough to take that scene from something that could’ve been groan-worthy to something that’s sweet and tender. There’s also the fact that the speech is coming from Ted, which is believable, whereas when they’ve tried similar gimmicks with Barney it never has felt right.