Ted tells his kids that the first time he told their mother he loved her was the first time he’d said those words since he last said them to Aunt Robin. Years ago, Ted and Robin broke up because they didn’t see themselves in the same place in five years’ time, but here they are, in the same place. Literally. That has to mean something.
Neither is sure what to make of this new development, and Robin doesn’t want any more surprises, but that’s exactly what she gets: An annoying co-worker arrives to whisk Robin off to an assignment in Russia, twelve hours earlier than Robin thinks. Ted helps Robin pack in record time, and they share a parting kiss, vowing to continue this when Robin gets back.
Ted phones Marshall, asking if they can meet at the bar to discuss something important. Lily suggests Ted pay more attention to boundaries, as it’s only seven AM, but Ted’s boundary issues pale in comparison to Barney’s—Marshall and Lily are both surprised to find Barney in bed with them. He’d taken the drunk train and needed somewhere to sleep.
Lily decides to go with Marshall and tells Barney she knows he thinks she and Marshall have a sex tape hidden in the house, but they don’t. Barney, of course, only hears “we have a sex tape hidden” and challenges himself to find it.
Barney phones a cleaning service, and then ransacks the house in search of the tape. He finds something even more intriguing; a metal box marked “long term bets.” Inside are slips of paper on which Marshall and Lily have written bets to each other. Along with bets that Barney will die by murder and Robin will never return their hair dryer, is a far more intriguing bet: Lily betting Marshall that Ted will never get back together with Robin.
At the bar, Lily strongly encourages Ted to overwhelm Robin with the grand romantic gestures Robin hates, while Marshall thinks Ted should proceed with caution.
Barney bursts in, confronting Marshall and Lily about their bets. Marshall and Lily admit that betting on their friends is their own private hobby. Yes, there is a bet involving a sex tape. Barney crazy-runs out of the bar to continue his search, while Ted discovers the bet about his and Robin’s fate. Lily doesn’t think Robin is the girl for Ted. He may not have settled down with anybody other than Robin, but he hasn’t settled down with Robin, either. What’s standing in the way?
Cut to Barney, on his knees in Marshall and Lily’s bedroom, praying to find the sex tape...which he does, and races back to the city to show it to Ted. That’s the last piece of the puzzle for Ted, who has a revelation; Robin is in love with Barney. Barney, however, isn’t so certain; Robin must be in love with Kevin, as she chose him over Barney.
Ted tells Barney that Robin and Kevin broke up. Barney’s reaction? “Bummer.” Then Barney doesn’t mind if Robin dates someone else? Nope. If she dates Ted? Nope. Oh Barney, Barney, Barney, nobody believes you, bro.
Marshall and Lily burst in to convince Barney to watch/not watch the tape. Torn, he destroys Ted’s VCR. Since Barney smashed TVs the last time he was faced with a Ted/Robin reunion, it only makes sense he’d smash the VCR now.
Ted meets Robin at the airport, in a scene reminiscent, they return to the restaurant where they had their first date and last breakup, and agree that romance isn’t in the cards for them. Robin denies Barney has anything to do with it, but no, she doesn’t love Ted. Ted backs out of the agreement that they will marry if they are both unattached at forty. They agree to remain friends, and Ted asks Marshall to meet him at the bar again. He’s okay with Robin not returning his feelings. Now he knows and he can move on.
Later, Marshall visits Robin and tells her what Ted never would. Robin needs to move out of Ted’s apartment. Robin returns Ted’s key and packs her things. Ted spends some alone time on the roof, then hits the town as a free man, stepping out into a sea of yellow umbrellas.
In the very last scene, Lily asks Marshall to pay up on the Ted-and-Robin bet, but Marshall answers with a cryptic, “Not yet.”
Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing With Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.