This weeks episode of “How I Met Your Mother” entitled “Something Old” seemed overtly ominous that something was about to reconnect long time friends Ted and Robin with a possible romantic scenario. In fact, all the characters were revisiting parts of their past in one way or another throughout the show.
Barney and Robin’s father bonded over a game of laser tag soothing the childhood wounds of Barney’s absentee father and giving Robin’s father quality time with a son he had always wanted. Meanwhile, Ted tried to help Lilly and Marshall organize their apartment full junk to pack for their upcoming oversea move. Ted being the sentimental type used the time to selfishly keep items that would remind Lilly and Marshall of their friendship while abroad. Once Lilly discovered a leaky bean bag chair clearly suited for the curb, Ted tried desperately to convince the couple to hold on to the memento.
As Lilly and Marshall were about to throw the worn out item onto the curb Ted throws himself on the bean bag chair in one last vain attempt to save it from the refuse. Lilly and Marshall finally pry the truth out of Ted on why he wants to keep the unusable item. Ted fears that if the two don’t keep items that remind them of him around, their friendship will fizzle. The couple reassures Ted that a person isn’t the same as a beat up bean bag chair and he has nothing to worry about.
Finally, Ted comes to the realization that he is holding on to the past and he needs to let go in order to move on. As his older self narrates, “Kids, you can’t cling to the past, because no matter how tightly you hang on, it’s already gone.” With that, Ted reluctantly begins to head to a job interview when Robin calls him and wanders if he is free to help. He explains that he is off to a meeting and she tells him not to come, that she can handle her situation. However, Ted being the sensitive type cans see through Robin’s phony air of reassurance and comes to her aid like a valiant hero.
Once Ted arrives at the park to Robin’s surprise he attempts to use his newfound insight to calm her frantic state. Robin can’t find the locket she buried as a teen, idealistically hoping to someday dig it up and use it for her “something old” at her wedding. Although Ted is impressed that at one time in life the usually cynical Robin could have been so optimistic about love, he tries to rationally convince her that the locket isn’t going to make or break her relationship with Barney.
Robin explains the locket is symbolic of the universe’s blessing to her and Barney’s union. If she finds it after all the years of waiting every doubt she has about Barney and her making a marriage work will be overridden by fate. When she finally finds the box she buried as a teen, she is dismayed to find it empty upon opening.
Robin becomes convinced that it’s the universe screaming at her, saying she and Barney are not meant to be. At that moment Ted receives a text with a picture of Lilly and Marshall holding the bean bag chair, having saved it from the curb. He replies to Lilly and Marshall that he loves them, but they need to throw the piece of crap chair out. Ted mentally reassures himself that the past doesn’t dictate the future and there are no signs from the universe. He tells Robin, “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. Do you know how many signs I’ve gotten that I should or shouldn’t be with someone? And where has it gotten me? Maybe there aren’t any signs, maybe a locket is just a locket, and a chair is just a chair. Maybe we don’t have to give meaning to every little thing. Maybe we don’t need the universe to tell us what we really want; maybe we already know that, deep down.” With that said Ted and Robin hold hands in the rain and stare at each other, end scene.
While the episode seems to ironically support both claims of the universe’s hand being relevant or not in control over destiny with the two strongest mindsets switching positions, it would seem that a little contradiction is just what both parties need to truly move on from the past. Robin is scared and having normal doubts about marriage, but her non-committal mentality is making her usual rational train of thought strain for answers to alleviate her inner conflict. However, Ted definitely benefits more by going outside his hopeless romantic fanatical existence.
Ted has been trapped by his naive mindset about love and shackled to past sentiment, not allowing him to do the one thing he truly wants and needs. He has watched those around him, including the two most emotionally crippled individuals, find love and start families. Since the first episode Ted has been determined to find true love. However, his lazy mentality of letting the universe guide all his decisions with so-called signs has hindered his mindset to simply finding someone with commonality he can be himself with.
Ted tries to go after any girl who gives him attention then makes absurd excuses that the universe is supposedly guiding him when the pair is clearly not suited for each other. Despite this it would seem this episode is aptly named. Hopefully Ted is growing up and finally leaving the fantasy world he has created in his mind. Hopefully he will finally be ready to stop taking every little thing and over analyzing it in order to mold some unrealistic sense of destiny to his whim. However, both Ted and Robin’s unsure gaze in the final moment dose hint that while Ted has finally started to see the real world, they both still need a final push of sense to solidify what they already know in their hearts. Once Ted and Robin stop doubting themselves and take a leap of faith towards the decisions they know are right, both will be able to move on from the mistakes and doubts of their past, and move on to the future they both want and deserve.