HIMYM: Thoughts on Romeward Bound

Let’s get down to “Romeward Bound” (S8E21). Spoilers abound here! My initial reaction to the Lily and Marshall part of this episode was negative, until I realized that was more about me than them. I personally do not like show endings where characters all go their separate ways. I want them all to stay in the same place, stay best friends forever, and stay involved in one another’s lives. I like to be able to pretend that they are still existing in their original universe, I guess.

So the idea of Lily and Marshall moving to Rome is not appealing to me at all. Especially if it was planned as their final destination once the show ended. Others have guessed that season 9 will begin with them returning from Rome, which I suppose I’m alright with. My personal priorities also impact why I want them to stay in New York. My first thought was, well, if I were Lily, I wouldn’t want to take Marv so far away from his grandparents and godparents. A year is a long time in the life of a baby, and I wouldn’t want to miss sharing those moments with my family. But Lily obviously needs a fulfilling career, so I can’t fault this particular plotline.


Marshall playing Godfather II in Little Italy was pretty glorious. And his one Italian phrase was masterfully used to demonstrate the Lily and Marshall connection. It may be their psychic link, or their soulmate status, but it’s always nice when they show how totally in sync those two are with each other.

Okay, let’s move on the puffy-coat wearing elephant in the room. Major Barney and Ted friction last night! I don’t want to recap the whole scenario here, but essentially Ted observes/participates as Barney exercises his right to look but not touch other women. When Robin arrives, she is seemingly comfortable with the situation, but Ted has his doubts. Here’s the most important dialogue of the evening:

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Ted: Okay, can I just say something as your best man? Be careful.

Barney: What do you mean?

Ted: You just…you haven’t been acting like a guy who’s about to get married. And I know think it’s okay, because Robins so cool, but I’m telling you – she’s not as cool as you think she is.

Barney: Oh, I see… and you’d know this because you know Robin better than I do? You know what she appreciates  better than her own fiance?

Ted: I’m just saying, if I was getting married in three weeks…

Barney: But you’re not getting married in three weeks Ted. I am. Robins marrying me, not you.

Ted: You’re right, not my place. Why don’t I get the next round?

First of all – that was way harsh, Tai. Barney might as well have called Ted a virgin that can’t drive. Second, it seems that there are two ways that people are perceiving this scene – as Ted being a douche, or as Barney being a jerk.


I lean more towards Barney being a jerk in this instance. I think that Ted is over Robin – or at least on his way there. I don’t think he wants to be with her so much as the general idea of her. Like how I wish I had a husband just like my best friend’s husband, because he’s awesome, but I don’t actually want HIM at all. I’m not sure that Ted even realizes it yet, but I think he is clinging to the idea of Robin as comfort while he’s single.

Like they say, sometimes you have to get under someone else (multiple someone elses, even) to get over someone else. And when you’re single and hopeless, your mind naturally goes back to the one that you thought was “the one” – because the pain of having lost them is somehow more tolerable than the pain of knowing you will be alone forever because there’s no one out there for you. (See: this poem I wrote) :)

Even if Ted does still have feelings for her, I don’t see him with nefarious intentions. Ted may dramatically suffer through his perceived loss of a potential soulmate, but he wouldn’t try to ruin Barney and Robin’s relationship. If anything, he would help their relationship as much as possible, so he can later feel that he did the right and noble thing. Just like he did when he told Robin about Barney proposing to Patrice.

What is very likely, however, is Barney being jealous. We know that Barney is 100% confident in his looks, his humor, his ability to pick up ladies, etc. But there’s one area that Barney KNOWS he isn’t proficient in, and that’s being a good boyfriend. His only other relationships – including his past with Robin – have not ended well. Beyond that, Barney isn’t even necessarily the resident expert on Robin. Barney hasn’t forgotten that Ted had to teach him how to be Robin’s boyfriend. Of course Barney still feels the sting of that now.

Plus, Barney has never had a stable adult relationship that he can learn from. So I think that Barney is well aware of his deficiencies in this one area that Ted happens to excel at. Plus, Ted had Robin first, and that’s always going to be a thorn in Barney’s side. Beyond that, Barney is always in competition with someone over something. He’s not a very good winner, either, as he tends to lord his success over others. He even said (when he thought that Robin had hired the wedding planner as the 3rd party for a threesome) that he wanted to rub Ted’s face in it when he won the belt.

So I get the impression that Barney is passive aggressively lashing out at Ted in any way he can, just to make himself feel better. If he can stomp Ted down far enough, maybe Ted won’t be a threat to Barney’s happiness with Robin. It doesn’t matter that Robin isn’t into Ted – it isn’t really about Robin at all, in my opinion. It’s about Barney feeling insecure because he has let himself be vulnerable, let this woman into his heart – all while his best friend seemingly has everything that is required to be a successful husband.

So Barney is (in my opinion) afraid of losing Robin, because he loves her so much, but he doesn’t know if he is actually capable of being a good husband. And he is afraid that Robin will look back and compare him to Ted, the only other man who she’s ever even talked about marrying. So when Ted calls him out on the one insecurity he has – his inability to be what Robin deserves – Barney overreacts. Barney isn’t so much mad at Ted as he is mad at himself.

Ted wasn’t out of line – had Marshall or Lily said the exact same thing, Barney probably would have been able to process it better. As the best man, Ted’s job is to make sure the wedding happens…and the wedding might not happen if Barney can’t get past this phase. So Ted offered up a suggestion that would have been applicable if Barney was marrying any woman, not just Robin. I think Robin has accepted Barney for who he is, but that doesn’t mean she always wants to hear about it. We saw how painful it was for her to hear about his post-breakup conquests the first time around – she isn’t immune to feelings at all. Plus, she’s letting herself become extremely vulnerable to Barney by marrying him. The onus isn’t on her to “be cool”; it’s on Barney to prove that he can man up and be a husband.

Now, that being said, I think Robin and Barney’s sex life is particularly important. We see Robin surprise Barney when he comes home and finds her clad in only a puffy coat. Robin and Barney are absolutely freakier in the bedroom – and out of the bedroom – than Robin and Ted ever were. So while Ted perhaps cannot fathom this encounter being okay with Robin, Robin can see it as inspiration for intimacy with Barney. In that respect, Ted does not know Robin better than Barney does.


Some have said that Robin was rewarding Barney for looking but not touching. I don’t think it’s even that complicated. I think Robin is a smart woman with a strong sex drive. I’m not an expert, but this seems like the exact right way to handle such a situation. Don’t give him a reason to stray, because he’s getting his fantasies fulfilled with you. And I bet Robin thoroughly enjoyed the sexy scenario right along with Barney. It’s part of why they’re so well matched!

22 thoughts on “HIMYM: Thoughts on Romeward Bound

  1. I feel they are just dragging this so that it can roll over to Season 9, somehow I just dont feel this is a run up to Ted meeting his future wife at the wedding…

    1. Raoul, I hope you are wrong. I think you hope you are wrong. I originally did not want the Wedding going into Season 9. At this point we have so much to close out before the Wedding happens. I do not want the story to jump again. CB and CT love to do that time warp story telling. We may see it again, DROLL.

      Corina, I really like your thought process on the Mid Season and this Post. I do think Ted over-stepped his Robin/Barney boundary because of the past these three share. Ted does have Wedding duties for Both Barney and Robin. Yet he can not be involved in relationship advice.

      Let me explain my position on this topic. One Ted dated Robin multiple times. Ted and Robin lived together. As roommates they slept together.

      Yet Ted is one of Robin’s confidants. Barney calls Ted his best friend and made Ted his Best Man. That alone is a big second conflict.

      In the recent past Ted even shared his love for Robin. Misguided as that gesture was, Ted made it. Everyone knew it happened and it hurt 5 people not just two.

      At the wedding both Barney and Robin confide in Ted. So they are all three still friends. Ted somehow gets his feelings under control. Ted lies to Robin in Farhamton about Barney’s emotional state. Ted says to himself I am out of this relationship by that point. But you and I both know this is not over yet.

      Finally in the future Ted and his wife let Robin into their home life. So much more to be said on this topic. But that would be another post all together “What’s Up with Ted” and he has one very understanding Wife.

      My point is Ted needed to be put in his place by Barney. I do not fault Barney for what he said. Even when it was a little hurtful. I think Ted needed that.

      1. My main point of contention is the idea of saving the mother reveal for season 9 to ensure that viewers tune in. This show has an extremely dedicated fan base that will absolutely keep watching a final season, regardless of what happens. If we’ve hung in there through the damn Burning Beekeeper, we will stick it out for season 9.

        So I guess it seems like the viewers deserve to be rewarded with meeting the mother at the end of this season. We all know that this could have been the last season, and a default plan was set up to reveal her at the end. So it feels entirely possible for them to arrange the show in this manner, but perhaps they are avoiding this just to boost season 9 ratings. I know it’s their prerogative to do that, and this is in fact how TV shows work, but I don’t have to like it. :)

        That being said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Ted meets her this season, but we don’t get to see her face. And then he can say something like, oh my God, it’s you…I remember you from so long ago. That would at least tell the fans that she is for sure someone that Ted has encountered before.

        IDK I’m still conflicted. I mean either way, around this time next year, the entire show will be wrapping up. At that point I will surely be sad that there aren’t more episodes, regardless of how good or bad they are. So I’m trying to enjoy the ride in the meantime.

      2. yes but its barneys choice to take it with what ever weight he choses but he didnt have to be a bitch about it. ted was saying it for his own good. there were nicer ways to say it especially since this is his best man who just got his heart stomped on by the bride. it wasnt even about telling ted to stay out of it.it was more to let ted know that hes more important to robin than him. In other words he was just looking to hurt him so that his advice doesnt have to mean anything.

        1. I totally agree, this felt more like a bratty kid’s move than a conversation between two adult friends. Granted, Barney is often immature, but this was basically the equivalent of him saying neiner neiner neiner she’s mine not yours don’t touch!!!! I did not approve.

    2. I can’t decide how I feel about the prospects of meeting the mother this season or next. I mean, I know what I want, but I can’t figure out how it’s going to play out. Like Ross, though, I hope you’re wrong. I want to meet her now!

  2. I think the show has run its course and if they are following real time then Ted meets his wife in 2013…

    On a side note Corina, have you ever noticed that whenever Ted refers to Lily and Marshall’s kid to his son and daughter he says …”your cousin Marvin”, he says this again in Ep 20, at around 17.50 mins into the episode ” kids you cant picture me holding your 6 foot 7 Cousin Marvin ‘ what are your thoughts about this, do you think this may be a clue to his future wife’s origins?

    1. I assume this is just because they’re all so close that Ted is like an uncle to baby Marv, and Lily and Marshall are like an aunt and uncle to Ted’s kids. We’ve kinda exhausted all the other options – Lily doesn’t have any siblings, and Marshall only has brothers, so there’s no way Ted marries into either of their families. Ted does have a sister, but the only way for that to work is if Marshall and Heather Mosby got married, which of course won’t happen.

  3. All I could think of during the Barney-Ted dialog was that it must be leading up to the reason Ted’s hand is hurt at wedding and he leaves alone and kind of blue.
    I think, put most simplistically, that Barney doesn’t take Ted’s advice even on his own wedding day, and Ted stands up for Robin’s honor then somehow.

    I like your thoughts on this Corina!
    Both guys’ perspectives can be well understood, but i’m more with Ted here. i think his is good advice, even if Barney doesn’t like hearing it from Ted in particular.
    It reminded me of when B&R were first dating, back in season 5 when they went to the strip club and Robin said she’s definitely NOT cool with Barney’s behavior.

    1. I can certainly see Ted attempting to defend Robin’s honor but making a mess of it. Some have pointed out that a punch wouldn’t likely injure his hand in that manner, so perhaps it is a cut of some sort? I’m banking on Ted punching a wall or having a window close on his hand (perhaps the window that Robin was considering escaping out of?) Hell, maybe Robin sucks down some beer and goes all Canadian on them at the reception, and Ted tries to catch a hockey puck with his bare hand. Maybe Marshall grants Ted a slap as consolation for being the last single one in the group. There are lots of fun options and I hope the writers tie things in to an earlier joke of some sort.

      I was also reminded of that scene from the strip club. I think Robin is really trying to accept Barney as is, but so far Barney hasn’t shown much in terms of compromise. I mean, yes, he’s not sleeping with other women, but the constant jokes have to be bothering her.

  4. Corina, just found out about the website, not a week ago… Lovin’ it!

    Taking into consideration what you said, I couldn’t agree more… I also think it’s about Barney, his insecurities about Robin and his jitters about the wedding. Aside from saying all that you said, I also think what Barney said is related to his personality. He was never a person who liked marriage, and the idea that Robin may “not be as cool as he thinks she is” is terrifying. I think maybe, after that 8×18 (Weekend at Barney), he is also feeling safer about being able to keep on being who he is. He tells Robin: “(…) in case you haven’t noticed, these last eight years, lying is what I do best. [Begins pulling out various magic tricks] I’m a magician, Robin. Misdirection and deceit are my stock and trade. You don’t want me to lie to you? Lies are the reason that we’re together. Every single thing I did to you to get you to say “Yes” to me on that rooftop (…) all of those lies is one true thing – (…) and that’s the fact that I love you, and you know that when I say that, I’m not lying.”

    Taking her forgiveness, and the fact that she was, too, excited about the girl’s body, Barney’s thinking that being married is gonna be just like in (8×02) The Pre-Nup. A big party, someone there to satisfy all his needs, and keeping his exact personality.

    Now, going back to the episode. Ted and Barney have a sightly rough talk about Robin. That’s tells us that maybe Victoria was right in 7×03 (Ducky Tie), when she says that their whole triangle didn’t work. It’s also made clear in 8×13 (Band or DJ) that Ted is not completely ok with their engagement.

    Now, thinking about what Ted tells the kids the day he’s left at the altar by Stella (4×05 Shelter Island), the most important ‘moral’ would be “Don’t ever EVER invite an ex to your wedding”. The same way Robin was an ex in Ted’s wedding, Ted is now Robin’s ex at her wedding. He’s actually the BEST MAN in his ex’s wedding. That ought to be weird, right? Besides, he’s just told her he loved her, no longer than a year earlier, and he’s been mighty depressed lately, for being alone and seeing all his friends settling down (it’s gotta be depressing to see Barney’ getting married before him, and to the woman of his dreams). and although he may try not to say anything, I really think Ted will freak out about this

    I think that the main problem in Robin and Barny’s wedding will be about Ted: Robin finds out about Ted’s breaking up with Victoria (8×05 Autumn of Breakups) the day before the wedding, or some moment very close to the ceremony. Then, she gets the jitters on the wedding day. They get into an argument, another talk about how they love each other. Maybe, later, Barney finds it out. He may think Ted is trying to get Robin back, or there may be some misunderstanding in that moment… Then, Ted and Barney get into an argument.

    I’m not sure to why Ted’s hand is ill (8×01 Farhampton) – I mean, I’m not sure if they acually fight, and that this is the reason for the sore hand. But I think this argument maybe the point of start to other crazy stuff that’ll happen – Maybe related to Quinn, or some other issue with Barney, or something like that. I think it’ll be much like Lily and Marshall’s wedding, with both of them freaking out, and many things going wrong. By the end of it, I think Ted will solve the crisis, just like he once proved to Robin he could (6×12 False Positive), with that, solving any feelings he could still have about Robin. Making the wedding between the love of his life and his ‘really good friend’ (“Marshall’s my best friend!”) happen for real would be a breaking point for Ted, and the “Robin door” would be officialy closed in his mind. Which gives room for the next girl he meets to be the one.

    I don’t know if anyone agrees, but it would make perfect sense, and solve a few lose ends the story needs. What do you think?

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, I’m so glad you’re enjoying my writing!

      There’s a couple points I want to address, but here’s something that has been on my mind. Look what one of the writers, Solo4114, said about Barney and Robin on the blog Ted-Mosby.com:

      Robin was a “real” character for a long time. Hitching her to Barney seems to have turned her into…I dunno…just…Barney’s wife. And Barney, for that matter, had some depth to him before. Both of them seem to have lost that in how this whole engagement storyline has played out. They’ve lost their depth and turned into shallow sitcom characters who do things not because it’s what a real person would do in that admittedly wacky situation, but because…uh…we have to resolve this in 22 minutes.

      I think this is totally on point, and I don’t like it. I suppose it makes sense in the HIMYM universe – we did have an episode dealing with Lily and Marshall merging into one person. And they’ve addressed how Ted gets into whatever his current girlfriend is into. So I guess it’s a reasonable way to proceed the plot, but I find it disappointing.

      Maybe it just feels anti-feminist to me, seeing this strong, awesome character morph from being her own person to just Barney’s fiance. Maybe I’m being too critical, idk. :)

      I think that Robin is ready to get married, Ted has finally accepted it, and Barney is the one with hidden reservations. I expect some panicking tonight and in the final episodes of this season. I think he honestly does not know if he is capable of being the husband that Robin deserves. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to convince Ted to “take” Robin, in some noble intentions kinda scheme. And Robin obviously won’t go for that, and hopefully Ted won’t either.

      It’s all speculation but what else can we do at this point?

      I think Quinn can be considered resolved at this point. She knows about the wedding, she’s apparently okay enough about it to participate, and she seems to have fun with it. I can only assume that Quinn realized she dodged a Barney still loves Robin bullet when their engagement ended. So I don’t think she will be a source of conflict on the actual wedding day. Robin finding out about Ted and Victoria, though, is another story.

      1. That’s exactly my point, girl! I don’t think Ted pulls off any crap during the wedding, and Barney’s jitters have to do only with himself. But I think the mess maybe starts with Robin finding out about Victoria. The troubles they would have on the wedding day would be all about misunderstandings… But it will all come together in the day of the day… They do get married, but they go crazy for a while….

        About that quote, I must agree with you in every point – except for the fact that Ted’s okay with it. He is not that kind of guy, and if he hasn’t moved on in eight years, seeing her with Barney sure isn’t making things any easier. But I do think Robin’s ready for marriage, Barney’s insecure about being a good husband for Robin, and Quinn is now oficially dismissed as an issue.

        And, about Robin, I also agree that the person she has become since Season 7 is totally anti-feminist… Not in the idealistic kinda way, but in the Robin kinda way: I mean, she used to be this awesome girl, independent and strong. Now… she’s a high-maintened bitch, who yells at old ladies, brags about getting free stuff because she is pretty, and complaints about it when she loses it… She’s become just that sort of pretty girl, and I don’t even know if she and Barney are still perfect for each other…

        (I mean, don’t get me wrong! I love them together, I think they are great characters, ment for each other – literaly, as the writers clearly enforced that throughout the years.).

        What I mean is that, I don’t think it’s to do with the merging thing. It’s that, back in season 4, we had that great, strong, confident Robin, who had her own opinions, and could be perfect with Barney for being able to set the boundaries he needs (let’s face it, Barney is a big baby… psichologically speaking, he needs a ‘mom’ to hold him back from self-destruction). But now, in season 8, Robin is not that girl anymore. She’s a crazy bitch, who would push those boudaries onto Barney, making them both unhappy. In fact, maybe the troubles they had in season 5 could totaly come back. Of course they won’t, because the writers are convincing us that now both of them are more mature. But in real life, that’s what would happen. That’s what I think the Ted-Mosby.com guy means by ‘sitcom characters’. They are being biult to be together…. You know? Maybe their wedding jitters will prove me wrong, and maybe it shows that they’re still real people, those realistic old characters we know and love…

        1. At this rate I am expecting Robin to find out about why Ted and Victoria broke up, and then Robin will make a move on Ted. And Ted will decline, because he has moved on and as one of her best friends, he knows what is truly best for Robin. And he knows what is truly best for him, and it’s not Robin. Then maybe we can FINALLY move on from this business.

          I agree with everything you’re saying about Robin’s character. That wedding ring episode never felt authentic to me, because Robin isn’t the type of woman who would do that. I guess she’s lost all of her Canadian niceness and now is just pretty much a mean girl. To be fair, her and Lily have always been bitchy to other women. That’s how they’ve been written since the get-go, so that has stayed true to character. I don’t love it – I wish women could be presented as actually secure with themselves and not threatened by any other female in the vicinity – but that’s how it is.

          I guess it seems like Robin has changed way more than Barney has. I mean, yes, he’s dealt with some of his daddy issues, and he’s capable of being in a long term relationship. But that was true as of Nora, and what about him exactly has changed since then? Robin, meanwhile, is almost being groomed as Barney’s perfect woman. She’s had to change to adjust to him, but has he changed to adjust to her? I don’t really think so. Him being monogomous is being presented as a pain in the ass hardship for him, something that can tell tired jokes about and still keep his Barney-ness intact. I think it’s lazy writing, to be honest.

          Barney’s character just has SO much potential – so many directions they could take regarding his insecurities, how he sees women, how he treats women, how he treats himself, etc. It would be nice if we could see him actually being excited about being with only Robin. Unless they’re setting them up for divorce, which is of course a possibility.

          This season is stressing me out :)

    2. yes but barney interpretted robins coolness as her giving him permission to do this forever while they are married. in the bar she was fine with it but when they were back at the apartment she seemed really uncomfortable with barney saying that he can say any sleazy thing to slutty girls and that thats why being married is going to be great.

      1. Robin is definitely choosing to ignore some red flags about how Barney could be as a husband. For the sake of the show I’m sure it will all work out, but in real life? A whole lot of people would be real worried about the state of her marriage after the honeymoon phase is over.

    3. speaking of barneys apology for the playbook incident was anyone else totally pissed that she let him get away with totally not apologizing for it?! Shes dumber than i thought. which is why i was hoping quinn would return but aparently shes over him so thats not gonna happen. quinn would put him in his place. who knew the stripper was the most self respecting of the two. he basically said. im a liar always have been. dont look so surprised !but i love you, so yay! he never actually said “im sorry i lied to you and kept my big sleazy book of tricks.”

      1. I also thought that was crappy. I get that he’s like this, essentially, but part of being in a relationship is making compromises.

        Here is what it reminds me of:

        One time in college my close friend was dating this guy, John. Whenever they argued or John did something that hurt her feelings, he never apologized. My friend said, oh, it’s okay, he never apologizes, that’s just his thing.

        Well, great, that’s his thing. But what about her thing, where she likes being respected and treated like she is more important than his apology hangups?

        Same guy also didn’t ever say I love you. He said she should know it was true, and it was his thing to not say it. Fine, but again, if it’s so important to someone that you (supposedly) love, why can’t you make an exception?

        If your “thing” is more important than the feelings of the person you’re with, maybe you should re-evaluate if a relationship is right for you.

  5. if were talking about kinkiness than quinn was the best option for barney. there was nothing quinn didnt do even the storm trooper thing which seemed to freak robin out. And they got along perfectly and he was making compromises for her that he doesnt seem to making for robin. why the writers ended this i will never know. and she was a girl who was strong enough for barney and not weak handed like ropbin. she lets him get away with too much because shes so obsessed (for some reason). Quinn would never take that. and thats the kinda woman he needs

    1. That’s true. Robin is infinitely kinkier than Ted, I think, but not nearly so much so as Barney or Quinn. For what it’s worth, I think the character rankings would break down like this, from least to most kinky:


      What do you think guys?

      1. I would invert… Ted, Marshall, Robin, Lily and Barney.
        Although Marshall is kinky, he’s kinki for Lily! I mean, he can’t even fantasize about other women! I don’t think that he’s kinkier than Robin! She fell for the naked man, for god’s sake! lol

        1. That’s a good call, I agree that your lineup makes more sense.

          I always wondered why Marshall couldn’t just imagine a threesome with Lily there. We all know she would be into that fantasy!

          Sent from my iPhone

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