I know this is about three weeks too late, but that was part of the plan. I was waiting to see people change their minds… and that time never came. So here’s my take on the finale of How I Met Your Mother. To tell the whole story I have to start at the beginning, the moment that Ted met Robin (spoilers ahead!)
Ted met Robin at MacLaren’s after being introduced to her by Barney (“Haaaaaave you met Ted?”) and instantly hits it off with her. They have a date that, despite be extremely successful, ends early with Robin being called to work. You know the rest: Ted steals the blue french horn, tells Robin he loves her, and misses “the signal”. Future Ted tells the kids that this is how he met their Aunt Robin Later, Ted meets Victoria (the first fan candidate for The Mother) at a wedding, but she moves to Germany and he tries to cheat on her with Robin. Ted makes it rain for Robin and they start dating. Flash forward eight seasons and and an infinite amount of relationships for Ted (none with the Mother).
Season nine opened with Ted and Lily driving to Farhampton for Barney and Robin’s wedding. Ted and Lily eventually get into a huge fight, and Lily ends up taking the train, where she meets The Mother. Ted goes to L.A. to find Robin’s locket in a grand gesture to get her back (hint #1). After some business with Marshall getting kick off his flight to the Inn, we see a flash foward to one year later at the Farhampton Inn, where Ted and The Mother are commemorating the day they met.
Marshall runs into The Mother, who drives him to the Farhampton Inn.
Robin begins to have cold feet after her mother compares Barney to Robin’s father, and runs into The Mother, who calms her nerves. Barney makes a vow to never be dishonest with Robin, and they go through with the wedding.
Here’s where it starts to get divisive.
Barney and Robin divorce after three years of unhappy marriage.
After Ted meets The Mother (finally) and it is revealed that she died, the kids tell future Ted to go ask out Robin. They tell him that it’s time for him to move on. Ted goes to Robin’s apartment with the blue french horn in hand.
How do I feel about this? I’m one of the few who actually liked this ending. I saw it coming from a mile away. Why?
Because How I met Your Mother was never about The Mother in the first place, it was about Ted. One of the themes on the show has always been how important friendship is, especially in adulthood. That friendship dynamic is firmly established in the beginning stages of the series and it never goes away. As the kids said, The Mother is barely in the story at all. She is, at the end of the day, a framing device. The real story is in Ted and Robin’s relationship and how it effects the group as a whole.
When Robin appears to give up on trying to have a friendship with everyone, it is Ted that is the final nail on the coffin. She sees his happiness, and sees herself as a threat to that so she gives him, and The Mother as much space as possible. Even if that means sacrificing her friendship with Marshall and Lily. That is proof that she still loved Ted.
And about The Mother. Even if she was a framing device, she is still a great character. It’s clear from the moment we see her first interactions with Barney and Lily, that she is the perfect match for Ted. She likes the same things he does, has similar quirks and annoying habits, and is truly a great person. I was sad to see her go, but it was clear from the beginning that she wasn’t gonna be there to stay.
But Robin was. She was a constant in Ted’s life. And yes it was set up for Ted to end up with her. Robin even told Ted that he was the one she should be marrying on she and Barney’s wedding day. There were humongous signs that her relationship with Barney wouldn’t last. From their constant scrambling to get things just right to her cold feet an hour before the ceremony. And yes, even the fact that they had tried, and failed, to make a relationship work in the past.
So, I loved the ending. And the writers had it planned from day one. I do have one thing to say, however, against the writers. If I were them, I would have made Victoria The Mother, just like they’d originally planned.