There are moments that shippers live for with a favorite couple. That initial spark. The first touch, first kiss. First intimate encounter. The proposal, and most of all, the wedding. For Barney/Robin shippers, this moment has been nine years in the making, with a buildup that has included false starts, messy breakups, grand gestures, anxious doubts, other partners, cunning schemes, and Ted’s stubborn belief that Robin is the one for him. When those wedding bells finally ring, is this special day all that fans have hoped for all this time?
As the episode opens, double best man Ted comes to bride Robin’s rescue when she fears she can’t go through with the wedding because she doesn’t have the locket she’d buried as a heartsick teen. She’d hoped Barney would somehow find it and bring it to her, but he hasn’t. Maybe that’s a sign. Ted, of course, has gone through ridiculous cross country and international lengths to retrieve the locket as a wedding present for Robin. With the locket Robin longs for burning a hole in his pocket, what’s a best man to do? In Ted’s case, the right thing. He gives the locket to Barney, because Robin needs the locket to come from Barney.
The locket, however, is the least of Barney’s problems. He’s written reams of vows to speak to Robin on their special day, but none of them are right. Marshall and Lily offer themselves as vow experts. Maybe they can help. Barney isn’t so sure; haven’t they broken nearly all of their own vows? Marshall and Lily object, but Barney points out specifics. At their second ceremony, the public one after he secretly married them in the park, Marshall promised Lily he would always be there for her, but pretended to be asleep when Lily was airsick on the plane en route to their honeymoon. Lily isn’t innocent either, as she helped the guys take Bearded Wonder Woman pictures of a passed-out Marshall not two months after the wedding.
When Ted is next called to tend to the bride, Robin calls him on his ruse. He found the locket, not Barney. Ted confesses, and Robin panics. Ted has always come through for her, has always gone big for her, and Barney is good at lying. Even his initials spell “BS.” Barney always uses the word “legendary,” and “legendary” means “not true.” Maybe she should be marrying Ted instead. Maybe they should run away to Chicago together. Ted is quick to protest and talks Robin down. That works, to a point. Robin doesn’t want to run away with Ted anymore. She just wants to run away, which she does, running straight into the future Mrs. Mosby.
Ted’s future wife is pretty quick on the uptake; a woman in a bridal gown, running away from a church means runaway bride. Mrs. Mosby counsels Robin to take three deep breaths, because sometimes three deep breaths can fix everything. Robin takes that advice, and sure enough, there’s Barney, toting that ream of vows that aren’t quite right. With one look at his own bride, Barney chucks the prepared vows, because there’s only one vow he needs to make. He confesses that it was indeed Ted who found the locket, but promises to always be honest with Robin. Her fears assuaged, Robin pulls Barney in for a kiss as Ted walks by.
Half an hour before the ceremony, Marshall and Lily steal into the sanctuary to exchange updated vows, and vow to keep updating those vows as life progresses, as they will always need to make new promises to each other.
After nine long years, Marshall delivers Barney’s final slap to calm Barney’s last minute nerves while Robin walks in on her father’s arm, to an instrumental version of “Sandcastles in the Sand,” toward the last man anyone thought would be waiting for her at the end of the aisle. There is indeed a ring bear, though Barney waves the flower gorilla away before Robin or viewers could see. We don’t get to hear Barney and Robin’s official vows, as Ted’s narration flows over the entire ceremony, but the moment when Barney slides the wedding ring onto Robin’s finger fills shipper hearts with joy, and the two make a triumphant retreat down the aisle, their faces alight with joy. Narrator Ted reminds us that love is the best thing we do, and that Barney and Robin’s journey was legendary.
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.