When “HIMYM” names an episode, “How Your Mother Me,” as the episode on January 27 was titled, expectations are immediately set high. But, wait, fans must have been wondering: don’t Ted (Josh Radnor) and the mother (Cristin Milioti) technically meet at the Farhampton train station after the wedding? That’s true, but the mother -- and Ted -- learned a little bit about each other over the years in some wonderful ways too.
The CBS show looks back over the years starting in September 2005, the night that Ted met Robin (Cobie Smulders), and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel) got engaged. It was also the night that the mother celebrated her 21st birthday at the other MacLaren's -- until she learned that her "one," her boyfriend Max, died.
She spent the next few years in a very different mindset that Ted ever did on “How I Met Your Mother.” She didn’t want to look for love, thinking that she’d already won her “lotto” and was never going to win at love again. That’s why her friend dragged her out on St. Patrick’s Day in 2008, where she left her yellow umbrella at a bar. (And Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) met the mother's friend and said, "Girl, I will sham-rock your world.") The mother even encountered the Naked Man. The overlaps in their world didn't stop there of course. “How Your Mother Met Me” recounts every time Ted and her nearly ran into each other and, in the process, learned a little about each other too.
The “mother” ends up in the economics class, because she decides she wants to end poverty. She laughs at Ted’s selfish/shellfish joke during his class introduction speech. Her roommate Cindy (Rachel Bilson) bemoans the end of her relationship to Ted, saying that the professor really liked her, the mother, instead.
Finally in April 2012, she meets Louis, just around the same time Ted wears a green dress to MacLaren’s. But with Louis, it wasn’t love. Even so, she stayed with him until the night before Robin and Barney’s wedding. That night, she finally made a realization, and asked her dead boyfriend, “Is it okay if I move on?”
Now that she’s given herself permission to find love, she’s finally open to it -- and that’s why she says “no” to Louis’s proposal. Instead, she checks into the Farhampton Inn, takes out her ukulele, and sings “La Vie en Rose.” At that same moment, Ted is on the next door balcony, where he can’t see her, but he’s still definitely enjoying her amazing, beautiful rendition. In fact, as Future Ted says, the Mother sang that song many times over the years, but it was this first rendition that he loves the most.
What made this “HIMYM” episode work is simple: it showed the mother in a whole new way. Fans got to learn about who she was, but they also got to see that, in ways, she’s long had a crush on Ted, even though they’ve technically never met.
Yet, in ways, they know each other already, and that, kids, is a beautiful lead-in to the rest of the final season of “How I Met Your Mother.” The only unfortunate part? That Ted didn’t go knock on her door that night. Instead, he gets distracted from his quest for love, because the groom, Barney, is missing.
What did you think of “How Your Mother Met Me”?
The CBS comedy airs on Monday nights at 8 p.m. EST.
© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2014
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