This locket situation has been stressing me out whenever I think about the show.
I assume most fans are up to speed, but here is a summary:
Robin traveled to New York when she was thirteen, and she buried a locket in Central Park. It was her grandma’s locket and for Robin it symbolized hope for marriage, and also a feminine element of herself that her father often overlooked. So, full of youthful idealism and romantic notions, she buries the locket with the intention of returning for it later when she has found The One.
Right before Ted and Stella were to be married, Robin dug up the locket. Lily recalls that Robin put the locket in Ted’s racecar pencil box, and then took it with her to Japan. At that point, Robin expressed her regrets at Ted being the one that got away. Then she vomited, passed out drunk, and presumably forgot about the whole thing.
Years later, as Robin is preparing for her wedding to Barney, she goes to dig up the locket. She doesn’t remember that she already successfully retrieved it from Central Park. She is not able to find the locket, and she calls Barney for help searching. He can’t help her, so she calls Ted. Robin explains that she needs this locket as a sort of security that she is supposed to be married, and to prove that Barney is the right one for her.
Okay, just a bit later, Ted tells Lily about the search for the locket. Lily spills about how her and Robin already found the damn thing, and she tells Ted about that drunken evening. Ted realizes that he still has the racecar pencil box! We all think the locket is in there. Ted plans to give it to Robin as the best but obviously most inappropriate wedding gift ever.
But alas, the locket was no longer there. Somehow it ended up mixed in with Stella’s things, bringing the whole idea full circle. Stella says the locket may be in her storage unit, but she (and the storage unit) live in LA. Ted takes a plane to Los Angeles, but we don’t know yet if he manages to retrieve said locket.
My thoughts on the symbolism of the locket and how things should play out moving forward:
I want Barney to have the locket but it seems like Ted has it. It would be such perfect symbolism for the whole show, and it would help Ted with closure.
When Robin arrives in New York, her heart is buried. It’s hidden away because she doesn’t want to get hurt (can you blame her for having daddy issues?) Then, she digs it up and basically gives it to Ted. When Ted hears the story from Lily, at least, he believes that he has held Robin’s heart all these years.
Him giving the locket to Robin would be wildly inappropriate. Him giving it to Barney could imply (at least in Ted’s mind) that he is passing Robin’s heart along. He maintains control by doing the noble thing, but it still reinforces his idea that he was ultimately meant to be with her.
But, if Barney actually had the locket the whole time (we know he has to have cameras up in the apartment so it’s no stretch to believe that he easily found out about it and took it) then he, not Ted, is the person destined to have Robin’s heart.
Plus when Robin got the locket it was right when Barney was determined to sleep with her again. He could have been planning on using the locket to play on her emotions at the wedding so he could get her in bed. Things didn’t turn out that way though and Barney held on to her heart, giving her his heart in exchange.
If Ted has it he should give it to Lily. If he gives it to Robin he is still trying to make her happy, in a more than platonic way. That could cause major problems (salute, Major Problems!) for the wedding. Robin doesn’t need any distractions or temptations right before her wedding. It will obviously be Ted still trying to win her over, even if he is delusional and doesn’t think that’s the case.
If he gives it to Barney, he is going to piss Barney off with his presumption. Barney will lash out at Ted for trying so hard to please Robin, and for Ted presuming that he can pick a better gift for Robin than her own fiance could. Barney will also be upset with himself for not being there for Robin, and not being clever enough to track it down in advance on his own.
So either way, Ted should not be giving this locket as any sort of gift to the bride or groom. At first I thought Ted could pass the locket back to Robin’s father, but that’s still too much of Ted’s involvement with Robin’s symbolic heart. That’s why I think he should give it to Lily. She can give it to Robin as a way of confirming that marrying Barney is the right decision. She can give it to Barney, who will accept it without feeling threatened because Lily isn’t trying to steal Robin away. (Granted, Lily is semi-actively attempting to sleep with Robin throughout the entire series, but she isn’t in love with Robin the way Ted was/is.) Lily giving the locket to Barney would be the best gift she could actually give Robin, because Robin receiving the locket from Barney will assuage so many of her fears.
With all that in mind, I still hope Barney already snagged the locket. I’m glad Ted is going to Stella’s storage unit, though, because I want him to grab that piece of artwork. (Click here for more details on that).