Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' finale ends in the worst way possible (w/video)
Well, that was bad!
Remember that crazy theory floating around the Internet during this final season of How I Met Your Mother, that the Mother was dead the whole time? And that’s why Ted is telling his kids the story of how he met her?
Looks like the joke’s on us, everyone, because guess what? She really WAS dead!
And if that wasn’t a big enough betrayal of the show’s entire premise, the creators thought it’d be a good idea to pair Ted and Robin together, as if anyone who watches this show still cared about them as a couple. It’s strange to say that the show’s own creators misread what the show is fundamentally about, but that’s certainly what it felt like after watching this finale.
Throughout HIMYM’s run, everything has been about Ted’s quest for the woman he can spend the rest of his life with. We know he’s going to meet her because, well, the show’s title, and the fact that, from the outset, HIMYM has been very sentimental. You just knew they were going to give Ted his happy ending.
Then, this season, the show’s ninth and final, we finally met her. The Mother. And she was wonderful. She was a perfect match for Ted: quirky, funny, sweet, smart, brunette. She was played by Cristin Milioti, who brought such a richness to this stranger that it was easy to see why Ted would fall in love with her. Not to mention the chemistry she and Josh Radnor have, which is nothing short of magical. They made that relationship - which we glimpsed this season through flashforwards - so lived in and intimate. It felt like we were looking at true sitcom love.
Except, HIMYM creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas didn’t see it that way, because she wasn’t Ted’s happily ever after. He spent a good 10 years with her, but then she died - pretty unceremoniously, I should add. So what’s the show ultimately saying, then? That poor saps like Ted can’t have it all? That even when you find the love of your life, it probably won’t last? That Ted and Robin were really destined for each other?
That last point is the finale’s most egregious mistake, and something that - as unfair as it might sound - will taint how people remember this show.
The idea that Ted and Robin end up together is problematic for A LOT of reasons. First, how absolutely ridiculous is it for Ted’s kids to call him out about loving ‘Aunt Robin’ after he tells them that story about their Mother? It’s just another indication that the story of the Mother didn’t really matter - according to the creators, it was just a way for Ted to talk about Robin a lot! Second: This last episode took great pains to establish that Robin is now living her dream. She’s a famous reporter who gets to travel the globe. That also happens to be THE EXACT REASON Ted and Robin ended their relationship way back in the season 2 episode “Something Blue.”
In fact, in that episode, narrator Ted reveals that they both got their dreams: Robin traveled the world, Ted met his future wife, and Ted stopped thinking Robin was ‘the One’. Sure, that all happened in tonight’s finale, but it came with an asterisk, because ‘Ted and Robin’ was the show’s end game. (In retrospect, it seems the only reason the Mother was introduced at all was to act as a loophole around the show’s early proclamations that Robin WASN’T the Mother.)
It was easy to see something disastrous coming. During the one-hour finale, far too much time was devoted to Robin and Barney splitting up and Robin leaving the group. (And boy, far too many Barney shenanigans. Neil Patrick Harris did a tremendous job with that scene where he meets his daughter for the first time, but I found myself not caring about any of it.) Very little time was spent with Ted and the Mother. We see them briefly planning a wedding, briefly discussing a pregnancy, but nothing very substantial until the very end, when they meet. (Oh, we also learn her name is Tracy, but by that point, I barely cared.)
There were some great touches in the episode, like when Marshall and Lily see a cockamouse in their apartment, or Ted and Robin salute each other to “Major Pleasure”, or anything Alyson Hannigan was involved with (the girl can cry convincingly!). But as someone who watched the show from the very beginning, who even tuned in through its recent not-great seasons, who adored the Mother and what she meant for Ted, I can't say anything positive about the show's final twist.
In the end, this was a huge disappointment. Maybe the creators didn’t want to go for the obvious ending, maybe they just really like that blue French horn, but the whole thing seemed strangely heartless for a show that always wore its big, beating heart right on its sleeve.