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‘HIMYM’ ‘Vesuvius’ review: Why the 'mother is dead' theory could be misdirection

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'How I Met Your Mother' 'Vesuvius'

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The best episodes of “HIMYM” season nine have included flash-forwards to a life between Ted (Josh Radnor) and the Mother (Cristin Milioti), look-backs to the shenanigans of the whole gang, and a bit about the big wedding day. The episode that aired on March 3, “Vesuvius,” did all that, but it also foreshadowed something that fans aren’t liking at all.

Before those final surprising, and depressing, moments of the CBS comedy though, Ted and the Mother had something to talk about… except they didn’t. They realized, while sitting in Farhampton Inn in the winter of 2024, that they knew all of each other’s stories, like Ted’s road tripping across the U.S. with Marshall (Jason Segel). “I guess it’s official,” they declare. “We’re an old married couple.” To that, they high five, and once again, fans the world over fall in love with the woman Ted has chosen to be his bride.

But then Ted thinks he has a “How I Met Your Mother” story that the Mother doesn’t know, the story of Robin (Cobie Smulders) breaking a lamp in her hotel room the day of her wedding. Except the story doesn’t really need much explanation. Robin, not your usual bride, is relaxing by playing a game of hockey in her room with her sister (Lucy Hale) when she breaks the lamp. Lily (Alyson Hannigan) then spends the episode trying to get Robin to act more like a “girl” by threatening to wear her own wedding dress to Robin’s big day.

Meanwhile, across the hall on “HIMYM” “Vesuvius,” the roles are reversed, and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) is absolutely freaking out about which suit to wear. He even has a room reserved under the name “Susan Tupp.” Or “Sue Tupp,” which sounds quite a bit like “suit up.”

Fortunately, he has Ted to help him narrow down his options, and most of his suits have past hook-ups associated with them. What Barney really needs is a new suit. And sure enough, Barney had one made. He’s just worried it’s not the right fit. All it takes is one pep talk from Ted though and he’s convinced otherwise. “All these suit’s memories are still ahead of it,” Ted says. “And just like that, you realize it’s a perfect fit.”

Yet, that’s hardly the sweetest moment of this “How I Met Your Mohter” episode. Rather, there’s a few surprises, starting with the gang realizing this might be the last time they’re all together since Ted is moving to New York. (That moment is lightened by referring to Barney as Swarley, a wonderful throwback). And then there’s Robin finally realizing it’s her wedding day when her mother actually shows up, causing her to cry happy tears.

Not all of the final moments have a happy ending though. In fact, a few moments have “How I Met Your Mother” fans concerned. For one, when moments get tough, the mother and Ted agree that sometimes it’s best to just leave it unspoken and enjoy the time they have together. And when the Mother points out, “what mother is going to miss her daughter’s wedding?” Ted looks at his wife and tears up.

But are these really hints that Ted’s wife, the love of his life, is going to dieand that’s why he’s telling his kids the story of how he met their mom? It’s a popular theory, although an unliked one, but it’s not the only explanation.

In early January, Carter Bays, the creator of the CBS comedy, tweeted about how the “Cheers” season finale served as inspiration for this finale. Most people on "Cheers" ended up with a happy ever after in that finale, but the main character, Sam, ended up alone in the bar. He wasn’t unhappy though per se, but he was alone when he said, “Boy, I tell you, I'm the luckiest son of a bitch on earth."

Does Bays’ affection for the “Cheers” finale and final lines mean that he’s going to mimic it by having Ted alone in MacLaren’s after his wife dies? Maybe. But chances are Bays will have his own spin on this, and chances are, it’s nothing fans have predicted yet. After all, all of this supposed "foreshadowing" could be misdirection, something the creators of the CBS comedy have done time and time again throughout the show's nine seasons. At least here's hoping so.

The remaining episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” season nine air on CBS Mondays at 8 p.m. EDT.

© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2014

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