Take three deep breaths before reading this recap (because the Mother told you to).
The penultimate episode of "How I Met Your Mother" rocked for a bunch of reasons: the last slap (!), Robin met the mother, Robin and Barney had a legendary -- and honest -- wedding, we saw the ring bear(er) and Ted let Robin go. Doors we had opened in the "HIMYM" universe closed for good on Monday night, but "End Of The Aisle" opened a new one: Ted can now meet the Mother without hesitation in the hour-long finale, airing March 31. For that, I am grateful to Craig Thomas and Carter Bays.
Thirty-two minutes before the wedding, Robin had her pre-nuptials freak out and told Ted it was a bad sign that they never found the locket. In what was a moment of true growth, Ted reached in his pocket and gave the locket to Barney to give to Robin. But, she knew it didn't come from Barney. All of her doubts about marrying Barney bubbled up, and she told present-day Ted exactly what younger Ted would want to hear: "You always go big for me," she said. "Maybe I'm making a mistake. Maybe I should be marrying you."
An earlier version of Ted would have given Robin the locket originally, let her walk out on Barney, or been carried away in this romantic Big Gesture moment. But this Ted showed he was truly ready to let Robin go -- not just balloon style. "I'm not that guy anymore," he said to Robin. "I don't love you like that anymore." For once, I believed him.
When Robin pressed, saying she still had all these big, scary doubts about marrying Barney -- "You know what 'legendary' means? It means not real" -- Ted launched into a "love doesn't make sense" speech. (This speech will be further known as "All The Tears Speech," for the record.)
Robin ran out of her room and into the Mother. ("That's how Robin met your mother.") Close your eyes and take three deep breaths, she suggested. It was good advice.
When Robin turned around, Barney was in front of her with just one thing to say. He'd spent all episode trying to perfect his wedding vows, only to learn from Marshall and Lily that no one really keeps all of them. It's impossible to be perfect, but it's necessary to be your best, he decided. "From this day forward, I am always going to be honest with you because I love you," Barney told Robin. "Ted got that locket for you. He's the one you should thank."
With the simple admission, we know Barney and Robin will get married. They will start on a clean slate, free of bro codes and playbooks. If you're not crying by now, your heart is made of stone, "HIMYM" fans.
There were less weepy moments, too: Marshall doled out the last slap as Barney stood on the alter (he was freaking out about a tie). Robin walked down the aisle and was followed by an actual ring bear -- it was kind of cute -- and she married Barney. It was beautiful. Just don't ask about the flower girl(la).
Were you satisfied with the second to last "How I Met Your Mother" episode? Sound off in the comments.
"How I Met Your Mother" airs Mondays, 8 p.m. EDT on CBS.