How I Met Your Mother-The End of the Aisle-Neil Patrick Harris, Ben Vereen, and Cobie Smulders

How I Met Your Mother issued its warning shot last night. “The End of the Aisle” was a bittersweet penultimate episode, in more ways than one. If the series finale is anything like this, it’s going to be legen–wait for it–dary!

The Players:

  • Director: Pamela Fryman
  • Writers: Carter Bays and Craig Thomas
  • Cast: Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Cristin Milioti, Bob Saget, Ben Vereen, Wayne Brady, Ray Wise

Episode Title: “The End of the Aisle”

With half an hour left before the wedding, the bride and groom have last minute panic attacks.

The Good:

  • Vows: Lily and Barney may not have appreciated Marshall’s many nuptial hued pins but we sure did. “Vowza,” he had so many, but that’s because his punchlines were, “in-vow-luntary.” He needs a “Vower Point Presentation,” just to show you, “vow it’s done.” If this didn’t tickle your fancy, well, “vow dare you!”
  • Another Runaway Bride: We could be bemoaning the last second rehash of the love triangle we buried in “Sunrise.” However since internal decisions mean nothing until you’re forced to confront them, Ted had to push Robin into marrying Barney. Not just because it was the right thing to do. It was merely a warm-up to resisting Robin’s pleas so they could run away from the wedding together. There will be those that don’t see the beauty in Ted’s attempt to make Robin think Barney found “The Locket.” His final confession that their long over love is dead really brought the end of the series to the forefront. How I Met Your Mother began with Ted spotting Robin across the room. Though the series has had little to do with the actual Mother, last night the writers made a little sense of that. Ted took nine years to stop being hung up on the wrong girl to find the right one.
  • Redo: Lily and Marshall have always been the backbone relationship of the series. They were the goal for Barney, Robin and Ted to achieve. It was quite annoying to watch the writers toy with that all season, but we suppose relationships do go through rough patches. How nice was it to allow the two to recommit to one another privately, solidifying their bond after a weekend/season full of strife. Lily’s vows recheck Marshall’s teeth for green stuff and cry less this pregnancy were sweet.  Marshall’s were the real deal though, marking Jason Segel‘s ability to make a utterly ridiculous statement seem completely heartwarming. His promise to stop yelling at Lily while she’s dumping out or screaming “Maybe it’s Maybelline,” when he sees a dog’s erection were just the ones of the sound variety. Marshall’s interruption to vow not to interrupt and pledge to stop begging Paul McCartney to let Weird Al Yancovic record “Chicken Pot Pie” to the tune of “Live and Let Die” rounded out the moment with a smile.
  • Love Doesn’t Make Sense: Ted’s exacerbated feelings weren’t the only ones that had to be squashed forever. There’s always been a lingering rumble of dissent in the internets about the plausibility of the union between the Barnecle and Robin Sparkles. We were convinced long ago. Pouring this much into a relationship only to rip it away at the last second would be criminal. Reconciling Robin’s unease with Barney’s panache for well spun lies was the perfect way to quiet the masses. While she struggled with his latest one, taking credit for the locket, he struggled to write his vows. So many of Barney’s were hilarious (“I vow to watch hockey with you once a month, no once a year, nope hockey’s dumb and I’m not watching it and neither are you Woman, now make me French toast.”) but his last second surpise vow to always tell the truth was brilliant.
  • Detective Work: The amazing thing about Cristin Milioti as The Mother is every one of her introductions to a member of the gang has been remarkable. Her run in with Robin was no different. The fact that she served as the bride’s speed bump while bailing out on the ceremony would have been enough. Somehow she makes joking during ultra-serious moments seem charming. Not many people could pull off playfully bragging about making it to second base with Robin during their fall whilst instructing her to take three deep breaths before making a decision. She’s saved them all in their worst moments of the weekend; she’ll fit in just fine.
  • Number Five:  Barney’s last second regret about forgetting his cornflower blue tie paled in comparison to his bride’s groom regret. Still, we’d like to point out that even the groom is susceptible to outfit critiques. Had Robin never said the blue would’ve brought out his eyes, he would have been fine. Though it seems like a silly thing to breathe out of a paper bag upside down on a couch over, it’s valid. When Barney began freaking out at the alter about his tie, which one of you was expecting a final slap from Marshall?  We certainly weren’t, even though it had to happen soon. Barney won’t miss the Slap Bet, but we’ve been attached to the long running gag forever. It’s the end of an era after all. 

The Quotable:

  • “I don’t control when my deuces happen Marshall, deuces are wild.”—Lily

Overall:

“The End of the Aisle” kicked the nostalgia into high gear. This may have been the most drawn out journey to find a mate in recent sitcom history. With the final slap given and Robin and Barney safely wed in front of family and friends, there’s little left. If Barney can come through with a cute Ring Bear, who knows what Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have in store for the last shebang. Either way, after next week it’s all … wait for it …

Rating: 10/10

How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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