"Symphony of Illumination" is the fourth Christmas episode of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, aired in the show's seventh season.


Instead of Future Ted narrating to his kids as usual, this episode opens with Robin telling her two kids about the time she revealed to their father that she was pregnant. The scene cuts to Barney and Robin in the bathroom of Marshall and Lily's Long Island house, picking up from the end of the episode "The Rebound Girl". Robin explains that she is a week late with her period, and has a doctor's appointment to verify that she is pregnant. She also reveals that she and Kevin have not yet had sex, meaning that if she is pregnant, Barney is the father. Although Barney is giddy at the prospect of becoming a father (which causes Robin to faint), Robin is not happy and is still firmly against having children of her own (since it would mean an end to her desired career path). While helping Lily shop for baby furniture at "We B Babies", Barney shares her feelings when he sees how the life of an old friend, "Insane Duane", has changed since marrying and having children. Both Robin and Barney are relieved when the doctor informs them that Robin is not pregnant. For a day Robin celebrates not being pregnant, until she receives additional news from the doctor: she is unable to have children. Robin struggles to find a way to tell her friends, so she lies and says instead that she is disappointed at not making the Canadian women's pole vaulting team.

Meanwhile, Marshall wants to have better Christmas decorations than neighborhood rival Richard Holdman, planning an entire display which he names the "Symphony of Illumination" for the Long Island house. When he begins the installation, he gratefully accepts an offer of assistance from Scott, a neighborhood teenager. However, Scott leaves him stranded on the roof, steals Marshall's phone and uses it to his advantage when texting Lily, and throws a party in Marshall's house. Though Marshall briefly relents, recalling his own antics when he was young, he is outraged when he sees Scott abusing a giant stocking that his late grandmother had knitted for Marshall's future child. He remains stranded on the roof until Lily arrives, unwittingly paying Scott 50 dollars for his help, and then sees the damage Scott has caused inside the house during the party.

The other friends notice that Robin has been acting strange lately, and try to figure out why. Though Ted and Lily jokingly guess that Robin hooked up with Barney, they dismiss the idea, to Barney's relief, and Ted assumes that she is homesick for Canada. When Ted offers her plane tickets for a Christmas visit to his home town in Cleveland, Robin dismisses the notion. When Ted attempts to find out what has upset her so he can try to make her feel better, she gets angry and tells him that he should not feel responsible for cheering her up before leaving. She goes on for a walk in Central Park, where it is revealed that the kids Robin is telling the story to exist only in her imagination, and she is only talking to herself on a park bench as she begins to come to terms with her bad news. She returns to the apartment to discover an intricate Christmas light display, animated and accompanied by vigorous AC/DC music, which Ted has erected. He tells her that while she doesn't have to tell him what happened, he will never stop trying to cheer her up. Robin dissolves into tears and is comforted by Ted, as Future Ted tells his kids that Robin never had children, but did become a famous journalist, traveled the world and even enjoyed a stint as a bullfighter, and he also notes that she was never alone.


Actor/actress Character
Josh Radnor Ted Mosby
Jason Segel Marshall Eriksen
Cobie Smulders Robin Scherbatsky
Neil Patrick Harris Barney Stinson
Alyson Hannigan Lily Aldrin
Noah Schnacky Robin's (imaginary) son
Andra Nechita Robin's (imaginary) daughter
Vicki Lewis Dr. Sonya
Chase Ellison Scott
Todd Grinnell Insane Duane
Danielle Weeks Sheila

See also

External links

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