Tonight’s How I Met Your Mother reminded me of that scene in National Lampoon’s European Vacation where Chevy Chase and his family get stuck in London’s Lambeth Bridge Roundabout. Every time I find myself having even the slightest urge to root for Robin and Ted, a couple I know is not meant to be, I feel like yelling out, “Look, kids, Big Ben!”
So how did we end up with yet another doubt-planting Ted and Robin “moment”? Let’s recap…
In this episode, Robin set out to find a locket that she had buried years ago in Central Park, in hopes that one day it would be the “something old” for her wedding. Yes, guys, even tomboy Canucks have wedding dreams. But when Robin asked her father to help her find the spot in which it was buried, he ditched her to go play laser tag with his son, B-dog, better known as Barney.
Robin has always had a contentious relationship with her father so the abandonment weighed heavily on her. However, the disappointment she felt was compounded by the fact that Barney, too, failed to be there for her when she needed him. (After a tough day of digging that yielded no necklace, she called Barney looking for some support, only to be swept aside because Barney was engaged in a fierce laser tag battle.) The person that did show up when called? Ted.
For most of the episode, Ted had been helping Lily and Marshall decide what to pack for their big move to Italy. After all, Ted had once traveled overseas for two weeks with nothing more than a hands-free belt satchel (a fanny pack) and his skills for super-packing were notorious. But after successfully making progress and while on his way to a job interview, he got a call from Robin that alerted him to her distress. (“You said ‘Nah it’s stupid,’ which is Robin-ese for it’s important,” he told her.)
Ted’s ability to read through the lines meant a lot to Robin, but it also, in her mind, pointed out a big problem in her relationship with Barney. How well does Barney actually know her, she wondered.
The search for the necklace eventually ended, with Robin finding the box — and no locket inside. The universe was trying to tell her something, she claimed. Maybe her impending marriage was a bad idea.
Ted’s likability as a character has been hit and miss this season — for me, anyway — but this episode really reminded me of everything I like about Older Ted. You see, after Robin started talking about the universe’s red flags, Ted stopped her. “Maybe it’s dumb to look for signs from the universe. Maybe the universe has better things to do — dear God I hope it does,” he said. “Maybe we don’t need the universe to tell us what we really want — maybe we already know that deep down.”
The problem? Maybe Robin wants Ted. That certainly seemed to be the indication after the Robin-Ted “moment” that followed their conversation, which had hand-holding and long stares. Look, kids, Big Ben.
Real talk: We all know Ted has a severe problem with Ted-ing (Ted-ing = the art of not letting go). But I honestly thought this was something Robin has moved past. Is this just a case of cold feet? Or does she really still have those feelings for Ted? Or is Robin making the severe mistake of trying to compare her romantic relationship with her relationship with her best friend? Should those two things be mutually exclusive? Ugh, stop making me ask actual life questions, show! I can’t take the pressure.
If only all decisions were as simple as Italy or Triangle.