HIMYM S4E5: Shelter Island
“Namaste here any longer than I have to.”
Finally, an end to the Stella-Ted storyline. The whole thing has felt rushed and awkward from the start, and anyone with half a brain knew Stella wasn’t the mother early on. This episode could have (should have) been excellent, but instead it was just ok.
Stella’s sister, who is also getting married but is beating them to the punch, steals Stella’s dream wedding. And when the sister gets ditched by her fiancé at the last minute, Ted and Stella have a “telepathic” conversation in which Stella decides they will take over the aborted wedding, and Ted decides they will buy the sister dinner. How could this possibly end well?
The moral of the story is: never invite an ex to your wedding. Robin, working in Japan, tries to avoid coming to the wedding but Ted wheedles until she relents. Barney decides this is the perfect chance for him to sleep with Robin again after getting her drunk and preying on her insecurity as a single, dateless female. However, he and the rest of the gang are horrified to arrive at the lodge and discover it is hippie haven, with no meat or alcohol allowed. Also, Stella’s newly single sexpot sister throws herself at him. Hard. There is no way Barney will be able to resist.
Stella gets angry when she learns that Robin is coming, and demands that Ted rescind the invitation. She goes on about how things are unresolved between them, it will bring up old feelings, blah blah blah. Meanwhile, Stella’s ex Tony refuses to bring their daughter Lucy to the wedding until Ted somehow convinces them both to come. Tony & Robin show up at the same time, and Stella is pissed.
“If I had done things differently, none of this would have happened.”
Stella offers an option: she will talk to Robin, and Ted will talk to Tony. There is a shutter-flash of what would have happened, with Father Ted telling two blonde children, “And that, kids, is how I met your mother” while Stella smiles in the background. But that’s not the way it goes. It never is.
Ted tells Robin about Stella’s “no exes at the wedding” rule and Robin sounds off. She is relieved. She’s not looking forward to watching him marry someone else. Ted doesn’t understand, because there is nothing between them. “Maybe there is!” Robin responds, then amends that. “Of course there is!” She has quit her job in Japan and wants to come back to her real life. It’s all very sweet, but then Robin ruins it by saying that she thought if someday she decided she did want to get married and have children, Ted would be there. “So I’m your backup school?” he asks. She asks Ted not to get married. Ted says it’s a good thing she won’t be at the wedding, and stalks off.
Sad Robin goes to Barney’s room with a contraband bottle of scotch, asking if she can stay with him. It would be Barney’s perfect dream come true … except he has another woman in his bed. Wearily, Robin leaves.
On the ferry back to the mainland, Robin sees Stella … we cut to Ted reading a note at the lodge … we cut back to the ferry and Tony walks up behind Stella, wrapping his arms around her while Robin looks on in shock. And this, folks, is where HIMYM took it just a little too far, and their tendency to do this is one thing that really bothers me.
If the final scene had been exactly as it was, without the stupid voiceovers of Stella repeating things she’d said earlier in the episode, it would have been perfect. As it was, the writers apparently felt the need to beat the ending like a dead horse: all those things Stella said about Ted & Robin not being over each other, she was really talking about herself and Tony. Yes, it was obvious! No need to reiterate it with lame voiceovers and soft-focus floating heads!