Sigh… so they're really going through with this whole "Ted hearts Robin again" storyline, huh? All right, let's get this over with, because the sooner they and we can move on, the happier we'll all be. "No Pressure" begins with a reminder as to why exactly this plot is a non-starter… because, as we learned in the pilot years and years ago, Robin ain't the mother. Instead, it's the still-faceless girl with the yellow umbrella that we see Ted confess his love to amidst a downpour outside of a movie theater in the opening scene. Future Ted intones: "I hadn't said that to a girl since…" and we're suddenly back on the rooftop at the end of last week's episode where Present Ted finishes the sentence "I love you, Robin." He goes on to expand on that thought, saying "Do you remember why we broke up in the first place? We asked each other 'Where do you want to be in five years and our answers were just too different. Well, it's five years later and where are we? Standing on the roof where I kissed you for the first time.'" He goes on to add that he knows it's a lot to process and there's no pressure for her to have an immediate response. "Just… whatya think?" Ted concludes and waits a beat before immediately backpedaling and fleeing the scene of his love crime to hide downstairs. The next morning, he's lying in bed obsessing over inventing the perfect (re: the lamest) excuse for his proverbial slip of the tongue, but then Robin knocks on his door and plants a kiss on him, thus preventing him from saying anything else stupid.
Credits. Robin and Ted talk about how they need to talk about what's going on between them. But before they can have that substantive conversation, Robin's annoying co-worker Patrice shows up to remind her that she's traveling to Russia that day to cover an annual butter festival. Robin says that the flight is leaving at 9 PM, but Patrice corrects her, saying that the itinerary says 9 AM, as does her ticket, as does their boss in the car downstairs. One hurried packing session later, Robin is off for a weeklong trip to Russia and she and Ted promise to continue "this" when she gets back. Desperate for some bro talk, Ted calls up Marshall and demands that he make the trip in from Long Island to meet him in the bar downstairs… which apparently opens at 9 AM. And to think that we used to find this show's depiction of New York City somewhat authentic.
Because he's whipped, Marshall immediately heads out, leaving Lily in bed with Barney, who slept off his night on the Drunk Train alongside them. The usual jokes about Barney really, really, really wanting to sleep with Lily ensue, with the added wrinkle of Lily mentioning something about a sex tape that he shouldn't watch. Actually, she says it doesn't exist at all, but he only hears the words "sex tape" and promptly calls over his regular housekeeping team to turn the place upside down looking for it. He doesn't find a tape, but he does stumble across a tin box labeled "Long Term Bets", which contains little scraps of paper listing some of the wagers that Lily and Marshall have made over the years. Bets like "Lily bets Marshall that Barney will die by murder" and "Marshall bets Lily that if Ted goes bald, he'll totally pull it off." (You've lost that bet, Marsh.) And then he hits the most relevant (for the purposes of this episode) bet: "Lily bets Marshall that Ted and Robin won't end up together."
Apparently Barney has mastered the art of teleportation, because in the very next scene, he joins Marshall, Ted and Lily at the bar with the box and reveals that they've been betting on their lives for the past ten years. Not only that, but Lily has in effect been sabotaging Ted's relationship with Robin to ensure that she wins that specific bet. Aw c'mon writers, Marshall and Lily are the last two characters we genuinely like on this show! Don't turn them into assholes too. The two insist that this is "something that just happens in marriage" as Barney stumbles upon another wager that indicates that the couple really did make a sex tape. In a flash, he's off to his teleporter and back in Long Island… passing a leather jacket-clad Conan O'Brien on the way out. Ted still isn't ready to forgive and forget, even as Lily correctly calls him on the fact that, even though he hasn't settled down with anyone else in the five years since he and Robin were an item, he hasn't settled down with her either, so something is obviously standing in the way. He figures out what that some
thingone is later that day, when Barney shows up at the apartment triumphantly clutching Lily and Marshall's elusive sex tape, which for some reason is on VHS even though Marshall is seen holding what's either a mini-HD or mini-DV camcorder in the flashback. "Robin's in love with you," Ted says, just as Barney is about to insert the tape into the VHS player. (Of course Ted's the only person in New York with an operational VHS system. He only just upgraded from Betamax last week!)
Before they watch their friends have sex, Ted and Barney finally have it out over Robin, with Ted insisting "Dude, she totally loves you" while Barney counters, "Nuh uh, she totally doesn't." After she picked Kevin over him, Barney has closed his mind and his heart to the newscaster from the Great White North and doesn't at all mind if she starts dating Ted again if that's what she wants. Ted seems to buy it because he's oblivious that way and goes to get some popcorn to much on during the homemade porn they're about to view. But wouldn't you know it? Lily and Marshall have somehow found out what's about to go down and burst into the apartment; since he's the one who bet Lily that Barney would never find and watch the tape, Marshall desperately tries to keep him from pressing play, while Lily eggs him on, eager to be $20 richer. Unable to take it anymore, Barney has a Hulk Smash! moment with Ted's VCR. Don't worry, Ted -- now you'll finally be able to buy that Laserdisc player you've had your eye on.
Now it's a week later and Robin is back from her Russian sojourn. Ted meets her at the airport and the two have a nice, normal date night before retiring to their shared apartment. Sitting there together, Ted realizes something: "It's not going to happen, is it?" Robin agrees, adding that they still have that "if we're both still single when we're 40" deal in place. But this time it's Ted's turn to shoot her down, saying that if they're through for good, it needs to be a clean break. And with that, Ted & Robin 2.0 comes to a mercifully brief end, as does their stint as roommates; at Marshall's suggestion, Robin promptly moves out, leaving Ted to have to find a way of paying for a two-bedroom apartment in a prime Manhattan location on a teacher/sometime architect's salary. The last shot is of Ted walking back to his now-empty flat through a sea of yellow umbrellas as we all breathe a sigh of relief that --Lily and Marshall character assassination aside -- that episode was less painful than it might have been.