6.8/10. This is a really difficult one to grade, because the first few minutes are great, and the last few minutes are great, but everything in the middle is to forgettable-to-bad. We've done the "Robin isn't girly" beats before, and there was nothing particularly new or interesting about it here, let alone anything that justified turning it into a crisis. And while it's nice to see that the show didn't entirely forget Robin's sister, Lily being so upset by it didn't make sense. At the same time, we've pretty much already squeezed all the juice out of The Wedding Bride that we were going to, and the meta-humor of it didn't really keep up in this rehash. It's a lot of broad jokes without any real grounding in character or sharply-honed humor to keep things flowing.

But there's something to the idea that the wedding isn't just a big day for Barney and Robin, but that due to major upcoming life changes, it's something like a last great hurrah for the whole group. And that ties nicely into the best part of the episode -- the frame story of Ted and The Mother in 2024, realizing that they've already told each other all their best stories, which features both Radnor and Miloti doing tremendous work selling the two of them as having the rhythms of an "old married couple" and a certain melancholy wistfulness that pervades their interactions. There's some major hints dropped here, but I like the themes explored here, both that The Mother is worried that Ted is going to live in his stories and needs to be able to go on in his life (a lesson The Mother herself learned) and that those stories, even the dumb ones, can be a welcome respite from the harshness of certain truths. Throw in an unexpected appearance from Robin's mother to tie up that story (and hey fellow Simpsons fans, it's Tracey Ulman!), and you have an opening sequence and a closing sequence that knock my socks off, but a whole lot of junk in the middle. A peculiar episode on that account, to say the least.

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