Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 8, Episode 23 of CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," titled "Something Old."
In a flashback to 1994 we learn that Robin, then forced to be a boy by her son-craving father, hid a treasure in Central Park on her first trip to New York. While her father wasn't looking, she buried a locket in the ground and made a promise to herself to dig it up once she got older, moved to the city and got married. It'll be her "something old."
Flash forward to 2013. Robin stands in Central Park with her father and asks for his help to dig up the locket. He gets a call from Barney inviting him to laser tag -- Barney, the son he never had -- and splits, leaving Robin alone to dig.
Marshall and Lily prepare for their year-long stint in Rome for Lily's gig as an art consultant, and have a hard time packing and tossing away old things (see the recurring theme here?). Reluctantly, they call Ted, the packing expert, to help decide what goes to Italy and what goes in "the triangle" (the curb outside their apartment, where things magically disappear within minutes).
annoying old fart nostalgic friend that he is, dispenses his skillful packing advice: if they have not used whatever item they're considering taking with them within the last year, they should toss it. And yet somehow, he makes them take the most unnecessary things with them -- the 10-year-old beanbag chair that's falling apart, and the karaoke machine they sang with in 2002 as Destiny's Child.
In an effort to get him out of the apartment for a bit, Marshall and Lily send Ted to get them fanny packs. While away, they drag the beanbag chair out to the triangle. Ted, last minute, realizes that sending him out on this errand was a ruse and runs backs to save his beloved chair. In what is yet another heartfelt moment of Ted clinging so desperately to the past, he explains to them that tossing the chair out is like tossing him out, and what if their friendship doesn't survive their move to Rome? (All those who didn't see this Ted-as-an-old-chair metaphor... Shame on you).
Meanwhile, Barney bonds with Mr. Scherbatsky at laser tag. He's been missing a father, the latter has been missing a son. Trouble presents itself when both of them, both stubborn, insist on playing point guy. They divide up into two rivaling teams and lead two packs of 13 year olds in war. Mid-game, Barney gets a call from Robin but dismisses her.
Robin, as stubborn as her father and her future husband, digs through the park in search of the locket. Though she's covered in mud and has mole holes all around her, she won't give up. After Barney brushes her off, she calls Ted. Though he has an important meeting, one that could have him drawing up buildings again, he shows up at the park. He knows that in Robinese, "Nah, it's stupid," means it's actually important, and he came out to help.
When she finds the little jewelry box, Robin admits to herself and to Ted that finding the locket meant more than just finding her "something old." She's been having doubts about Barney -- whether he's ready for this grown-up commitment they're about to embark upon, whether she's ready herself. If she hadn't found the locket, she says, it would have been as if the universe was telling her the wedding wasn't meant to be. Then she opens the box, and finds the locket is missing.
Barney and Scherbatsky Sr. end up bonding over laser tag and their common manipulative traits. Marshall and Lily get permission from Ted to toss the leaky ol' beanbag chair. But when all seems right, Robin starts freaking out.
Always the skeptic, she takes the missing locket as a message from the universe that she shouldn't go through with marrying Barney. Ted, always the believer, tries to convince her otherwise, just as it starts pouring. "Maybe it's dumb to look for signs from the universe. Maybe the universe has better things to do," he tells her, the same guy who rain-danced to keep her from going on a company field trip years ago. "Maybe we don't need the universe to tell us what we really want. Maybe we already know that, deep down." They hold hands.
And ... Scene.
"How I Met Your Mother" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.
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