Last night marked one of the best How I Met Your Mother
season finales to date. With all the anticipation, particularly surrounding the identity of Barney's bride and if the Mother would finally be revealed, it was hard to imagine a conclusion that would be truly satisfying. Thankfully, the MacLaren's gang of five managed to conclude season 7 in a wonderful way that delivered on all three story lines (the birth of Marshall and Lily's child, the outcome of Barney and Quinn - and his future bride, and Ted's never-ending quest for love).
Part 1: The Birth of Marvin Wait For It Eriksen
We pick up right where the last episode left off - Barney and Marshall drunk in Atlantic City, while Lily's at home starting to go into labor. This leaves everyone with two main tasks: somehow get Marshall to the hospital in the time for his son's birth and help Lily delay that birth until he arrives. Barney attempts to assist Marshall, but they run into a number of problems, like being so inebriated Marshall can't walk up two steps and Barney getting held up by security for driving a motorcycle into the casino. Eventually Barney finds a bus driver who can take them to the hospital (with the help of some senior citizens).
Meanwhile, Lily needs to be distracted from her contractions, so Ted and Robin team up (after a long period of avoiding each other since Ted proclaimed his love and Robin moved out) to retell a series of stories for Lily:
- The Worst Cab Ride Ever
- The Time Robin Got to Second Base with Neil Young
- Ted and the Cuban Sandwich
- Where Does That Door Go?*
- The Tale of the Cursed Pants
- The Time Barney Tried to Pick up Girls as the Terminator
- Ted and the Freakishly Long Arm Hair/The Debunking of the Freakishly Long Arm Hair
- The Time We Tested If Banana Peels Are Really Slippery/The Time Barney Saved a Woman's Life
- The Halloween We Decided to Go as the Breakfast Club, But Failed to Coordinate Our Costumes
*This story is told in segments throughout the episode, making its reveal a little treat to end the first part of the finale.
After The Tale of the Cursed Pants, Lily finally concedes she needs to go to the hospital. But Robin, despite all her experience of delivering 12 healthy babies (one human), faints upon seeing the baby's head and Ted must usher her out. Thanks to Ted's kick-ass announcement email
, Lily's dad is made aware of her labor and arrives to take over soothing the mother-to-be. Though being "the absolute worst person to have around in any medical situation," Lily's father manages to give her the strength she needs - just in time for Marshall to arrive.
In the waiting room, Ted and Robin are left alone and they finally make peace with being friends again (after Ted jokingly says "I love you," proving that as hopelessly romantic as he is, he can make light of dramatic moments, too). Barney arrives from the vending machine with the exciting news he got an extra bag of gummy bears, but even he can't deny the real good news is Marshall running into the room declaring "I'm a dad" - and that their son's middle name is Barney's suggestion, Wait For It."
Part 2: Ted and Barney Finally Find Their Significant Others (We Think)
The second episode of the two-part finale starts with the scene we've seen in glimpses: "A little ways down the road," it's Barney's wedding day (or The Story of a Wedding Day That Went Horribly Wrong), and the bride asks to speak with Ted. But before we're shown who that bride is, we have to watch the episode. So we're thrown back to May 2012, where after everyone dotes on baby Eriksen, the new parents are given some privacy and Ted and Robin are left alone to continue their talk.
Now that they're friends again, Robin gives Ted the hard truth he's been avoiding (for seven seasons): though he claims to desperately want to settle down with a wife and family, he chooses all the wrong women. Robin points out that Stella (the one who left him at the altar for her ex and their son), Zoey (the married one who sabotaged his career and wore stupid hats) and she (the career women with no desire for kids) were all the wrong choices. There was, she notes, one exception: Victoria. Ah, cupcake-yielding, sweet but spunky Victoria. (Suddenly the idea of Victoria being the Mother seems plausible -- even though they didn't meet at Barney's wedding...)
But we're interrupted by Barney, who fears Quinn has left him after their big fight about him demanding she quit her job as a stripper. He races home to find his bachelor pad turned into a purple Hello Kitty heaven, which is Quinn's way of punishing him, but Barney's just happy she hasn't left him. The two decide to go to Hawaii for a getaway, but are caught up by security because of Barney's mysterious box, the contents of which cannot be revealed due to the magician's code. After a lengthy interrogation by security (which forces Quinn to reveal she actually quit her job for Barney), the magician pulls his most legendary trick yet: the box turns into a ticking bomb that explodes into a flower pot that grows into an engagement ring. The perennial bachelor proposes to Quinn, and she says yes.
Meanwhile, Ted goes to Lily and Marshall with some texting concern, but Marshall claims, as parents, Ted and co. can only come to them with "an issue that's an 8 or higher." Robin jumps in and finally convinces Ted to make the right call - to Victoria. The two agree to meet at MacLaren's and as Ted's reminding himself to check her finger for a ring, she enters in a wedding gown. Apparently today is Victoria's wedding day, but she's always held out hope for Ted but could never make the jump because she knew Robin was in the picture. Ted tells her things with Robin are officially over and when Victoria asks Ted to drive off into the sunset together, he calls for help (Marshall agrees this is a "10"), but goes against their advice and responds "FDR or Westside Highway - what's the quickest way to the sunset?"
Despite Ted changing his mind in the car, insisting they stop by the wedding to inform her fiancÃ© before running off together - and despite Victoria asking they pretend as if the whole thing never happened - Ted passes the church without stopping and their story ends with them actually driving off into the sunset (for now).
Part 3: Barney's Bride
The finale ends with a return to the flash-forward to Barney's wedding, where Marshall and Ted remark on the "few" twists and turns their journey has taken to get to this point. Yet somehow, it all makes sense to them in retrospect. Then Ted walks in on the bride, who is revealed to be...
Which, despite the misdirection of Barney's proposal to Quinn, feels just as it should be. And maybe things go awry and Robin and Barney don't marry next season (it is called the "wedding day that went horribly wrong," after all). And yes, maybe after a short-lived sunset drive, Victoria isn't the Mother. But it doesn't matter because we, like the characters, know no matter what happens, in a weird way, it will all make sense at the end. We might be a justifiably impatient audience, begging to know the end of this seven-year-long magic trick (i.e. Barney's bride, the Mother), but once it's revealed, it'll have been worth the wait.
(Images courtesy of CBS)