Well How I Met Your Mother, it’s been a good run, but it is time to say goodbye. After recovering nicely from a mediocre first half of the season, the series finale was well poised to bring things to a compelling close. Despite an inappropriate final two scenes, the episode brought the series to a worthwhile and entertaining conclusion.
In all fairness, as mentioned, the episode did start out strong, providing clear, yet appreciated nods to previous seasons (even a rare sighting of the legen—wait for it— dary Cockamouse), while bringing the series-long character arcs to satisfying conclusions. Ted and Tracy (a.k.a the mother) had some telling moments that factored well into character histories, Barney and Robin had some endearing development (don’t worry, I’ll get to them), and even Marshall and Lily got some entertaining attention. Overall, the episode was mostly well-written and contributed a great deal to the HIMYM mythos.
But what of this Barney and Robin split? Are you telling me that after three seasons of having the marriage built up, as well as a whole season dedicated to the wedding alone, they eventually just split up? I think Barney said it best: “Will you just let me be me?” Like many people in the real world, Barney and Robin just weren’t meant to last. As such, it was a sensible move to eventually split these two up. So well done there. Plus it made way for Barney to redefine possibly the creepiest pick-up line of all time: “Daddy’s home.”
But after a wonderful speech from Ted following some touching milestones between him and Tracy, the audience learns that Tracy did indeed die, as many HIMYM theorists suspected. It’s a bold move, but like Barney and Robin’s split, it made sense. Why would Ted be so pensive? Why would his kids be so patient as he is telling this story? In the end, I’m inclined to let that heartbreak slide, as it plays into the idea that this great love was worth waiting for, no matter how short it may have been. It is a beautiful sentiment, the likes of which the show was based on, and fit well into the overall tone of the show.
Which is what made the last couple of scenes so painful. After nine seasons of teasing it, Ted and Robin finally got together. Don’t get me wrong; I was totally in favor of the Ted/Robin romance…in the first three seasons. After that, it just became an annoying little plot point that the writers just couldn’t let go. It was a routine checklist each season went through. In addition to learning lessons about age, Ted and Robin had to have at least one awkward romance episode each season. No matter how many times it was resolved, it just kept coming back.
You really have to hand it to the writing in this episode—the characters really laid it out pretty clear. In this case, it was the daughter who pretty much captured the fatal flaw in a nutshell: “This is the story about how you’re totally in love with Aunt Robin.” Sure, this would have fit great in the first few seasons, but this one scene alone pretty much makes all nine seasons a moot point. It wasn’t a journey to this one amazing woman that he met, who somehow showed him a deeper form of love than he thought possible. Rather, it was just a series of shenanigans that was just biding time until the show was ready to end and they could just get together.
How do you know this? Because the scene with the children was shot years ago! This was always the plan. No matter what kind of organic character development took place along the ride, it was all just going to be ignored in favor of keeping this footage in place. It is an irritating crack in an otherwise flawless piece. In the end, they had an ending, and damnit, it was going to be put in there, whether it fit or not.
Unfortunately, it didn’t fit, and it resulted in an awkward halt to an otherwise emotional, reminiscent, and entertaining episode. I mean for god’s sake, they even showed that Robin was constantly traveling and had hardly been seen in recent years in the same episode. Not only did it not match the recent seasons, it didn’t even fit the episode! Sure it allowed them to work in one more cameo for the blue French horn (or as HIMYM fans know it, the Smurf penis), but it was a weak, scotch-taped bit to an otherwise seamless piece.
Overall, the How I Met Your Mother series finale was a beautiful vase with a long vertical crack running through the middle of it. If you can ignore the flaw (just stop watching after they get to the archived scene, and it holds up nicely), the episode was a beautiful and fitting goodbye to a powerful and influential series. We accepted the challenge to suit up, meet Ted, get lawyered, and find out where the poop was (Robin). And it was Legen—no more waiting for it—dary. True story.
Overall Grade: B+
What did you think of the How I Met Your Mother finale? Agree/disagree with any of the points made above? Sound off in the comment section below!