How I Met Your Mother "The End of the Aisle" Review: Love Makes You Do the Wacky

By Kaitlin Thomas

Mar 25, 2014

How I Met Your Mother S09E22: "The End of the Aisle

The decision to set the final season of How I Met Your Mother entirely at Robin and Barney's wedding has been a strange and often challenging adventure. Some episodes have been better than others. Sometimes the flashbacks and flash-forwards have worked, and sometimes they haven't. But I've definitely come away with the impression that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination itself. This is a point I made a few weeks ago when discussing "Vesuvius," but this week, as Robin and Barney finally said their vows, it became blatantly obvious that we were witnessing a monumental moment in these characters' lives, and we've spent months hanging out with them as they prepared for it, and then it was over in the span of a few minutes. 

That's not a complaint, by the way; it's merely an observation of the situation. And it's an observation about life itself. We can spend months and weeks and hours preparing ourselves for the biggest moments of our lives, but at the end of the day they're still just fleeting moments, stories we'll later tell our friends (or children). It takes more time to nuke a burrito than it did for Robin and Barney to pledge their love to one another. It doesn't make that moment any less important or special, it just means that before it occurred, they weren't married, and now they are. This wedding has been dictating the path of the show for years now, ever since we saw the flash-forward to Robin in a wedding dress, and again when it was revealed that Barney was the groom. This was a moment many fans have been waiting for; It signaled the end of Robin and Ted, it signaled the beginning of a new chapter for both Robin and Barney, and it also meant that dammit, Ted's about to meet the Mother!

This is both an exciting moment and a very sad moment for How I Met Your Mother, because once Ted meets the Mother that's it, folks. Porky Pig might as well pop out of a drum, because the show will be over. It'll be a fleeting moment that Ted, the Mother, and the series' dedicated fans will remember always. We'll talk about the episodes that led up to this moment, and about how many hours we spent waiting and preparing for her arrival in Ted's life and in ours. But at the end of the day, it's still just that single moment. It might be the most important one in the show's narrative, but that doesn't change all of the things that happened before it, nor does it devalue them. Because all of those stories were necessary for Ted to be able to turn Robin down as she panicked about marrying Barney. She wasn't wrong when she told Ted that her relationship with Barney has been built on lies, but she also wasn't wrong in marrying him either, because if I may quote another famous character played by Alyson Hannigan, "Love makes you do the wacky." 

It's true that love is a nonsensical thing, but Ted was right in that it's kind of all we've got. "Love's the best thing we do," he said. Ted's a great guy, but was he the right guy for Robin? He stole her a blue french horn, and he went through hell to find her locket, but she loved Barney and nothing was going to change that. Knowing that the horrible incident of Robin floating away happened weeks ago in our timeline, but less than 24 hours ago in Ted's, it did feel a bit hollow to have him say he doesn't love her like that anymore, but at the same time, it makes complete sense. Robin has been Ted's idea of a perfect woman for years now, but that's all she ever was: an idea. She was a representation of everything Ted thought he wanted, but we've known all along she wasn't the Mother. In a way, that's what's made Ted's journey so frustrating all these years: We've had the privilege of watching this story unfold, already knowing the truth about Ted's relationship with Robin. But Ted never knew. He'd yet to live it.

There's a reason people warn us to be careful what we wish for. Wishes and dreams are built and can only exist in a perfect world, which is clearly not where we live or where the gang lives. Marshall and Lily pledged their vows to each other in 2007 and broke some of them within the span of a month or two (the bearded Wonder Woman incident!). Vows aren't necessarily made to be broken, but they can, and probably should, change over time as we also change. Ted evolved over the course of nine years, only he was the last person to realize it. And it took Robin wondering if she was making the wrong decision marrying Barney that in turn made Ted realize Robin's not who he wants anymore. Maybe 2005 Ted thought she was the perfect woman, but she's not—at least not for Ted—and it took him staring down the possibility of being with Robin and hearing those words to fully realize that. For a guy who fancies himself a detective, he's really pretty bad at figuring out the mystery of his life and his heart. But now that he can say he really has moved on from Robin, he'll be ready when he meets the Mother on the train platform.

Robin and Barney finally tied the knot this week, just as we all knew they would, and this episode that afforded us a sweet, lovely ceremony that included a ring bear, a cut-at-the-last-second flower gorilla, and an instrumental version of "Sandcastles in the Sand" as Robin walked down the aisle. But more importantly, it included the final slap. It made sense that there was no build-up to it, that Marshall used it to snap Barney out of his own panic attack. Much like the actual wedding, it was but a small moment in the larger overarching narrative of How I Met Your Mother. So much has been made of the slaps, and of the Mother, and of the really big moments, that I liked that it just... happened. That's basically what life is—a collection of happenings, like Robin meeting the Mother during her dash away from the wedding. And now Ted's the only one who hasn't met her, which I suppose is a good thing since the series finale airs next week. I guess it's about time to wrap this thing up, eh?


– You should know that CBS's official caption for the above photo is simply, "A wedding guest." 

– <3 Patrice

– I'd high-five Marshall for each and every one of those "vow" puns. I've got your back, Marshmallow.

– There's a lot to be said about how far Ted is willing to go for his friends. I kind of believe that while the locket was an isolated incident, and could've only happened with Robin, Ted would have done similar things for each of his friends, because that's what friends do when they love and care about you. 

– I know that a lot of people dislike Barney and the Robin and Barney relationship, but Barney has actually changed quite a bit from the man we first met in the How I Met Your Mother pilot. He was a horn dog, and in a way, he still is, but he does love and care about Robin, and I think they're a good match for each other.



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  • oscarmarcelo88 Apr 02, 2014

    I will like to know your opinion of the last episode???

  • tobsh Mar 30, 2014

    I laughed out loud twice during this episode, once at the bagel with cream cheese and once at the flower girlilla. They were both impeccably timed jokes.
    Marshall's puns were also a nice callback to his love for puns over the series.

    However, the rest of the episode, the plot, the stuff that really mattered, sucked. Sorry, but it was awfully, too obviously constructed. Can't have a wedding without cold feet. Can't have Ted still love Robin without Robin reciprocating that immediately before her wedding.
    Originality would've been nice for a change instead of just sorta reaching 24 episodes for the sake of it.

  • tamaracassill Mar 28, 2014

    I dont care what people say. yes it wasnt always perfect but who cares. the last episodes were good and Im soo gonna cry next week. i will miss those awesome characters

  • CT0760 Mar 28, 2014

    Still wondering about the final episode though....anybody notice how when barney looks at the playbook volume 2 he DOESNT have a ring on??? (vol 2 had to be made AFTER the wedding)

  • bechorb Mar 27, 2014

    How did you miss the "I use to be a bit of a detective when i was a kid" bit that the mother dropped when she met Robin?It made me wanna scream "haaaaave ya met Ted?" It's those little stuff that make this show to me.

  • MSmollins Mar 27, 2014

    Great episode. I'm still not crazy about the wedding season-long arc nor the fact that Robin is thinking about ending up with Ted minutes before kissing Barney as her bride but good nonetheless.

    I understand people freak out at their weddings but that's a pretty absurd freak out for her to be thinking about going back with Ted, and I hate the Ted-Robin love story taking to the penultimate episode to finally wrap up.

    Everything else was good and the final slap was a nice touch as well and a great moment for them to do it. I'm glad Barney and Robin are married and there will be no swerve.

    While the last three or four years have taken a downward spiral for this show, it is still going to be one of my all-time favorite comedies mostly for the earlier episodes but some great ones sprinkled in between.

    The season started out rough but the last few episodes leave me optimistic that the finale will be a good, albeit likely sad, conclusion to one of my favorite sitcoms of all-time.

  • MSmollins Mar 27, 2014

    kissing Barney as his bride I should have said.

  • nikkei22 Mar 27, 2014

    Only one more thing on the wishlist, and that's Robin Sparkles 5.
    Maybe watching it at the wedding reception on a big screen?
    I agree that the final slap was done right, without any buildup, it was more symbolic.
    The only question i have is why is Ted at the train station, because he is over Robin and he has no reason to go to Chicago now right?
    I wonder if the last episode will be like Seinfeld in the way of the guest stars returning, with the episode taking place almost entirely at one location. There could be room for 15-20 previously seen characters, or was last weeks episode enough?

  • LauraPortaRoy Mar 27, 2014

    Wow, crappy final slap! And so predictable. Marshall and Lily's plot was sooo cheesy. And doesn't anyone else think that the mother being crucial to all the gang's lifes is a bit artificial?

  • traerae73 Mar 27, 2014

    I was annoyed by this episode for the mere fact that I thought that the episode where Robin and Ted went to look for Barney there was closure between these two. The writers wanted to beat a dead horse. The locket could have stayed in the river and Robin still could have freaked out but they just had to have one last Ted and Robin moment. I think the speech Ted gave was fake and I think he should have just called her out and asked her if she loved him or Barney rather than saying he didn't feel that way anymore. It was just 12 hours before that, that he was still in love with her. It wasn't sincere. I do like Robin and Barney and loved their scene before the wedding and when Robin came up to the altar and they said hi to each other, that was great. I would have rather seen more of the wedding since this was a long time in the making.

  • DrSpongejr Mar 27, 2014

    Even though he's my avatar, Barney and Robin still just don't feel like "the" couple to me; kind of how Joey and Rachel didn't feel right ten years ago (wow, almost exactly!) It would have been funny for her to say "I take thee Ted," but that would have gone a little too far with plagiarism. But anyway, I am curious to see how the finale plays out and how Ted and the mother make it together.

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