After nine years on our screens, the final episode of How I Met Your Mother aired this week.
A long time in the making, the show has kept audiences hooked for nine seasons, waiting to find out how Ted did meet the mother.
Full spoilers for the show finale follow. You have been warned.
In true How I Met Your Mother style, the finale pulled a lot of punches and kept me hooked throughout, with plenty of moments which left me gasping, and at one point, crying.
I feel like the finale was a good end to the show, if it had ended with “And that’s how I met your mother.” Unfortunately, it went on and Ted found himself once again at Robin’s window with a blue French horn.
My first real gripe with the episode was something that went on to make a little more sense as the episode progressed. Barney and Robin divorcing. Totally left-field, considering up until that point, season nine had been about them getting married in the first place. All of a sudden it was like those 20 episodes didn’t matter, and it was over with a quick “We got a divorce.” Barney and Robin have always made sense as a couple, they’ve always been on the same page, unlike Ted and Robin, so to see the back of their relationship was a little sad but ultimately makes sense, given the direction of the story as a whole. Case in point, I previously gave them the top position in my list of favourite pop culture couples (see here).
For my next problem, see: goodbye to the apartment. It’s all a bit Friends-eque, really. Yes, adults grow up and they have to move out of their 2 bedroom apartments, but couldn’t they have just done it and transitioned quickly? I get that it was the scene for Lily voicing her fears that Robin wouldn’t be there for any of the “big moments”, but I feel like this big moment could easily have just happened off camera. The move felt a little cliché to me; goodbye to the apartment, goodbye to the show. At least there was no ceremonial key returning.
Whilst we’re on the subject of the apartment-leaving Halloween party, Robin saying Ted was “the guy she should have probably ended up with” was quite infuriating. Hasn’t Robin had enough chances with Ted? Obviously, at this point, I didn’t know where the episode was going but it left a sour taste to think that Ted only seems like a consolation prize to Robin, and she only wants him when someone else has him.
The episode wasn’t all bad, though, and despite my whining, I did like it a lot. I stopped investing in Lily and Marshall as a couple quite a long time ago, but they had some good moments. However, my stand-out moment in the episode goes to Barney, when he holds his daughter for the first time, showing what a talented actor Neil Patrick Harris is as he managed to convey enough emotion in a seconds-long scene to bring tears to my eyes.
After spending all of season nine getting to know the mother, she’s killed off in an instant. The mother, or Tracy, as she’s apparently known, isn’t even given an on-screen death and her rapid health deterioration lasts all of one scene. After nine seasons, I feel like I’ve invested more in Ted than to have him just run back to Robin once he’d had the opportunity to get married and have a couple of kids.
Something that really stood out to me from the finale was when it comes to light that Ted and Tracy haven’t gotten married despite having their children. As an audience, we know that all Ted has ever wanted was to get married and have two children, presumably in that order. We know Ted has the daughter and son he always wanted, so it stands to reason that he would have gotten everything else he wanted too. When it was revealed that Tracy was pregnant, I for one assumed that the wedding would be brought forward, not postponed. The realisation that everything I’d assumed about Ted and Tracy’s relationship was wrong, coupled with the divorce of Barney and Robin perhaps opened my eyes to the fact that I didn’t know where things were going.
I understand that the writers have had the ending planned out from the get-go, but to spend nine years constantly reiterating that Robin isn’t the mother, that Ted and Robin don’t get married, only to have Ted run back to Robin feels like a bit of a let down. Ted isn’t one of my favourite protagonists ever, and probably wouldn’t even make it into a top ten list, but I feel like he deserved his happy-ever-after with his wife and two kids, and I feel like he’s been denied of that.
How I Met Your Dad, constantly billed as a stand-alone spin-off of the original series, has a lot to live up to, and despite the promises that it will be a whole different set of characters telling a different story, it feels like it’s not really the end for the original gang.
My prediction? How Number 31 met Barney.