Barney and Robin married. Nearly an entire season happened before the wedding, but Barney and Robin ended “The End of the Aisle” triumphantly married, despite the odds, and the doubts each had. Carter Bays and Craig Thomas seemed to overtly address the criticisms of the couple in their wedding episode. Barney and Robin was a welcomed coupling four or five seasons ago (whenever it was) until it wasn’t because the boys bailed on the romance before the end of November sweeps. Barney and Robin interacted as friends between seasons. Barney was engaged to two women. Robin dated cardboard cutout characters. Ted fell in love with her again at season’s beginning, season’s sweeps, in between failed romances. Each time she rejected him until eventually loved Barney for a second time. Remember that Barney and Robin loved each other again when the writers decided to love each other again. The basis of their relationship has been telling the audience what it is rather than showing the audience what it is.
Showing versus telling is a basic rule in creative writing, and something Bays and Thomas don’t willfully ignore Barney and Robin are juxtaposed with Marshall and Lily throughout the episode. Barney overthinks his vows. He wrote potential vows down on many pieces of paper. Marshall and Lily volunteered to help him write his vows because they consider themselves the masters of marriage vows. The second act consists of Barney using examples of their wedding vows made in 2007 compared to how those vows fell apart over the years of marriage. The Marshall/Lily coupling has been the consistent model for ‘great couple’ in How I Met Your Mother. Barney wants to model his marriage after them. Ted thinks reverently of his best friend’s marriage. Through the years of How I Met Your Mother, the writers showed the audience what worked in their marriage, why they’re happy, why they’ve been consistent and loving, without pandering or writing short-cuts (okay, there were short-cuts; this is HIMYM, let’s remember).
Robin brings many of the Robin/Barney criticisms up during her wedding day freak-out, which was first shown nearly two seasons ago. The locket—that damned locket—becomes a focal point for her on her wedding day. Barney didn’t find the locket for her; the locket is gone; therefore, she should not marry Barney because he couldn’t find the lost locket. Robin remembers Barney lied to her during their lone romantic evenings—the proposal and the wedding rehearsal. Barney carried on lies and manipulations for weeks and months. Robin thinks, “Why would I want to marry the guy?” She’s finally in sync with a small section of the audience. Robin wants to run away with Ted. Ted tells her she doesn’t and then unleashes a small monologue about why her and Barney will work in the long-term. “The End of the Aisle” is the conclusion of the Ted/Robin story. Robin tells him what he wanted to hear for many seasons, but he’s not that man anymore even after going out of his way for the locket not more than a week ago. Whatever--the show’s ending in a week.
Ted explains why Robin needs to marry Barney, why she needs to discard her reservations about his personality, his entire essence, and it’s because love doesn’t make sense. Indeed, when love doesn’t make sense is when it makes sense, and one wonders why anyone would invest nine years into this show with gems like that. Robin and Barney are the worst couple, nonsensical, but it’s that lack of sense between them that makes them make the most sense together. The real kicker is Barney’s on vow to Robin after she tries to run out on him and then runs into the mother who calms her down. Barney learned that honesty is the best policy and vows to be honest with her. Robin swoons. The series concludes next week, so the writers needn’t bother with writing an honest Barney. It’s all telling and no showing. The story of Barney and Robin meeting at the end of the aisle on their wedding day was a failure and definitely not ‘legendary’ as Future Ted tells us.
“The End of the Aisle” is momentous for Ted because he ceased comparing Robin with the stars. The Robin of it all won’t deter him when he sees his future wife waiting for a train at the Farhampton inn. Whether or not Ted’s romantic journey has a happy ending is unknown. Marshall and Lily have a happy ending and reaffirm their love for each other before the wedding. Ted’s most important message he shares with kids in “The End of the Aisle” is that love is the most important thing people do in their lives. So, whatever happens next week, happy or sad, triumphant or tragic, Ted will have done the most important thing in his life, which was love his wife, and tell their story.