Season 8, Episode 23
It was basically an impossible task of following a stellar episode like last week’s legendary “Bro Mitzvah,” so tonight’s penultimate “Something Old” didn’t pack the same kind of comedic punch. But it certainly set the ball rolling for a big finale: will Marshall and Lily really move to Italy for a year? Will Barney and Robin actually make it down the aisle? And will Ted finally have verbal or physical contact with the mother at the reception?
Robin’s harsh father (the wonderful Ray Wise) is in town for the upcoming festivities and he plans some bonding time with his future son-in-law. It seems that Mr. S. has really taken to the idea of welcoming Barney to the family, since it is no understatement to say he has always wanted a son. Robin and her sister are just “OK.” What better activity to do then some laser tag? Mr. S ditches his daughter in Central Park to get competitive with the B-Dawg. And it is certainly not lost on us, or Robin, that these two men are actually quite similar in their manipulative and emotionally unavailable ways. As Barney and Mr. S. each recruit teams of children to take each other down, they realize their mutual respect. But it is this similarity that feeds some of Robin’s own concerns as she goes a little crazy in Central Park.
Digging up the past
Why is Robin in Central Park going a bit crazy? It is because we witnessed another young Robin-as-a-total-tomboy flashback when her dad first took her to NYC as a child. On that fateful trip (which was totally better than having to survive in the Canadian wilderness by herself the year before) Robin had buried a small box with her locket inside, telling herself that one day she would move to NYC and find a sophisticated man to marry—and she would find the locket as her ‘something old.’ After digging many, many holes around the carousel in the park—and scaring a few too many people into thinking she was a feral person trying to pee—an increasingly stressed Robin calls her fiancé for help. When Barney brushes her off because he is busy building a laser tag army, Robin’s next call is to Ted, who is on his way to an interview about a new building.
Packing up the past
Ted had spent most of his day with Lily and Marshall. They called him in as reinforcement for determining what to pack for Italy versus what should go outside in the infamous “Triangle”…the spot on the curb where items disappear in mere magical moments. Of course Ted fancies himself quite the packing pro, whereas most of Spain considers him “El Gonso con la Riñonera” (i.e. the dork with the fanny pack). As Ted makes some questionable judgment calls on a triangle that should go to Italy, an Italy book that should go into the Triangle, and some costumes Marshall and Lily use in kinky ways, he gets absurdly obsessed with his and Marshall’s ratty old bean bag chair. Ted absolutely insists that they take it to Italy, to the point where Marshall and Lily have to send him on a fool’s errand to buy them nifty ‘belt satchels’ just to get rid of him. But when Ted discovers their trickery, he confesses why he cares so much about the bean bag: it was their very first piece of furniture in NYC and he is worried that his bond with Marshall and Lily will suffer without a constant reminder of their history together. Of course Marshall and Lily reassure Ted that their friendship doesn’t need a crappy chair.
And so Ted heads off for his interview, but the worrisome call from Robin makes him detour to the park. As Robin herself points out, does it mean something that her own fiancé did not show but Ted did? Robin is all of a sudden quite concerned with meanings and signs. She thinks that not being able to find the locket is a bad omen about her marriage and she isn’t sure if either of them is ready. This is very out-of-character behavior for our skeptical Robin, which only goes to show that she really is on the verge of a breakdown. Ted recognizes this and actually offers up the traditional Robin point of view: maybe his insistence on “signs” all these years was the wrong approach to life. He encourages her to just view the empty locket box as nothing more; and when the rain starts pouring to not attribute it to the heavens rejecting her marriage. But we leave them holding hands in the rain, staring at each other.
The ultimate triangle
At this point—since we know Ted and Robin will not end up together—I am hoping they do not kiss or hook up one last time. There has certainly been enough ‘incest’ in the three-way love triangle that is Barney-Robin-Ted. But it does look like there is to be one last confrontation of the emotional history between these characters.
Are you ready for the season finale? Do you think we will get a scene where we see Ted talk to the mother but still don’t actually SEE the mother?