Was it worth the wait?
That’s likely the first question someone will ask you after you watch the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. So what’s my answer?
But maybe you disagree with me. Let’s find out and look at the huge, earth-shattering story decisions that happen over the course of the last episode of How I Met Your Mother.
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Robin and Barney Divorce
In the middle of a really, really bad fight due to Robin traveling all over the world for her job, she asks Barney if he wants an out. Before he answers, they of course have an insane night of drunken sex. And we learn some months later that they did indeed divorce anyway.
Even though Lily assumes everyone is going to stay close with Robin while Barney slowly gets excised from the group, it’s Robin that basically disappears. With Barney still in the group, we learn over the years that even as he enters his 40’s, he’s constructed The Playbook II and knocks up a girl after trying to achieve a perfect month — in other words, have sex with a different girl every night.
That’s right: all of that amazing character work for Barney over the last two years goes out the window once his marriage with Robin is over. You can argue that spending an entire season on their wedding wasn’t without purpose — it is how Ted and The Mother wound up together.
And yet, the final season spent a lot of episodes showing how great Barney and Robin could be together for the series finale to rip them apart so easily. (Hey! That’s just like the first time the show’s producers put them together.)
Barney Becomes a Father
So what snaps Barney back to the adult Barney of the last season and a half or so? Having that child.
The show doesn’t even bother naming or showing the woman who is her mother. We only see Barney’s reaction the first time he holds his daughter. And the fact that she’s causing him to miss a lot of sleep. But we’re supposed to buy an instant character reboot for Barney.
Did producers forget Barney has wanted to be a father many times over the years? For him to be dreading it, only to become elated when it actually happens, is a narrative cheat.
(Though Neil Patrick Harris nails that scene when he’s holding his daughter for the first time.)
The Gang Basically Breaks Up
We can all attest to it: you eventually will lose a lot of the friends you have right now, just as you probably did five years ago. It happens to everyone.
So a lot of the scenes we see with all our major characters, or at least all but Robin, are chances for us to catch up on where they’ve been and where they’re going.
We find out in snippets that Robin has become a famous journalist. Marshall eventually becomes a judge and then a state Supreme Court judge. And Lily has a third child, who I think is never named.
Ted and the Mother Meet and Marry — But Not ‘Til Much Later
We come awfully close to the first meeting of Ted and The Mother — named Tracy McConnell — very early on in the finale, but it doesn’t actually happen until near the very end of the episode.
And it. Is. AMAZING.
There’s so much chemistry between the two leads and it’s so much fun for them to reminisce about how they almost met so many times over the years. If only the show had just ended there.
But no, there’s a lot before that moment and a lot afterwards.
We learn that, based on that one meeting, Ted decides to stay in New York and not move to Chicago. We learn that Ted and Tracy don’t get married until five years later. Their original wedding date was pushed off indefinitely after Tracy became pregnant with their first child, Penny.
We also learn that a lot of the fan theories about the end of the show were correct: Tracy gets sick. Once that is confirmed, it’s easy to make the narrative leap that many fans — myself especially — have been dreading.
Ted and Robin, Together Again
That’s right. The producers filmed the ending of the show years ago when they apparently had a brilliant idea that the reason Ted is telling this whole story to his kids is because he wants them to be on board with the idea of him dating Aunt Robin now that Tracy has been dead for over six years.
They not only thought this was good idea, but they’ve continued to think that over the years, even after fans practically begged them not to do it. Especially over the last few months.
The show ends with Ted bringing the famed blue horn to Robin’s apartment while she looks down on him from her apartment. The show doesn’t end with Ted meeting the mother of his children; it actually ends with a replay of a romantic moment between Ted and Robin from the pilot.
If you always loved Robin and Ted as a couple, perhaps you loved the ending. Especially if you were one of the rare fans that thought the whole Robin and Ted back-and-forth dynamic of the final season wasn’t cringe-worthy since it was taking place hours before Robin’s wedding.
But if you’re like me, you think this ending was just god-awful. And no matter how much you enjoyed slap bets, anti-Canadian jokes and Robin Sparkles videos over the years, you can’t help but think you wasted the last nine years watching this terrible mess.
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One final thought: what the hell is Barney going to say when he finds out Ted is again going after Robin?
(Image courtesy of CBS)