The date was marked on every fan’s calendar. March 31st was the date in which How I Met Your Mother would come to an end after 9 years of laughter and tears. On the following day, overseas, people were going through their days covering their ears and avoiding all kinds of social media until they could get home and finally watch the episode. At least I did.
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!
All the speculation was true. The Mother was going to die.
And somehow, it wasn’t the biggest surprise in the finale. Maybe because people already toyed with the idea for several weeks before the episode aired or maybe because it was so short-lived. And, weirdly enough, this wasn’t what made us cry (the most). We cried when we found out that Robin and Barney got divorced, when Robin left the party leaving Lily with tears in her eyes, when Barney held her daughter for the first time and when the series ended the same way it started: with Ted, Robin, and the blue french horn.
I discussed several times Barney’s character development during this last season: we finally found out what he does for a living and why, we saw him burn and give up The Playbook and we saw him being a cheesy romantic just for Robin. But all that seemed to disappear after he got divorced. Barney was back on what he used to do, just picking up random girls at bars. “I know there was a time when it seems like I was capable of going the distance but… If it wasn’t gonna happen with Robin, then it’s just not gonna happen with anyone”.
But it happened, in the shape of what Barney least expected: a daughter. Ellie was the turning point for Barney. He stopped hitting on girls (he even rejected them!) and he had to be back home before 10pm. We don’t know who “number 31” is (what if that’s what How I Met Your Dad is about?) and we have to guess that they’re not a couple. But what it’s clear is that this is what Barney needed to settle down. Not just the purest of loves, but a responsibility.
LILY AND MARSHALL, SAME OLD STUFF
Marshall and Lily have been together since the beginning of the series. They’re known for being like Ted’s parents and Lily is known for being the anchor of the group. Always making sure that everyone’s OK and that the gang keeps hanging out over the years.
Lily and Marshall’s relationship is something that has hardly been touched except for their fallout in S2, their marriage and their kids. Their relationship and lives advanced much quicker than Ted, Robin and Barney’s, which is probably why there wasn’t much left to see for them in the finale. Except for baby number 3 (who doesn’t have a name), which didn’t impact us as much considering we had just found out about Daisy. However, it was nice to see that they finally decided to move out from the apartment, for good. This gave us one of the saddest scenes of the episode, when we saw the apartment completely empty, similar to the way Friends ended.
IT WAS ROBIN ALL ALONG
After getting divorced, Robin is as busy and successful as she can be. However, she’s always travelling which translates to her not being able to see the gang as often. Not like she feels really comfortable around them anymore: “You know what the gang is to me, Lily? Here’s what the gang is. The gang is a married couple who I never see anymore about to have their third kid, it’s my ex-husband hitting on slutty cops right in front of me and it’s the guy I probably should have ended up with with the beautiful mother of his child”.
This ties with Robin saying that maybe Ted is the one he should be marrying in 9×22. We know Robin loved Ted once, but she wasn’t ready for commitment back then. And they had that bet about getting married if they were single when they were 40. So we can guess that Robin eventually said “yes” and that there was finally a happy ever after for Ted and Robin.
So it all made sense. Those last scenes were shot in 2005 and everything we’ve seen since then has been according to that initial plan. Ted taking all that time to explain to his kids how he met their mother is one of the main things that people complained or joked about. But now we know that it was completely justified. After all, the series began when Ted and the gang meet, also kind of similar to how Friends began when Rachel joined the group. And it’s not just that. The show has always revolved around Robin and the way Ted feels about her. Sometimes it even got tiring. It doesn’t anymore now that we know what happened. Even if we saw Ted letting her go (like in Sunrise or The end of the Aisle), the show still tried to make it clear one time after another that Robin was something else to Ted. And there was also that bet between Lily and Marshall (according to Alyson Hannigan, the scene in which Lily pays Marshall back was cut!).
People both loved and hated the finale for the same reason: it was realistic. People lose touch, people get divorced, people die and unexpected things happen all the time, that’s life. And that’s what this show has always been about. A group of 5 friends growing up and evolving together, come whatever.
The drama also came from the shipping community. Swarkles shippers were finally so happy and contented that their ship was canon and married, that the divorce was like a slap in the face. And if that wasn’t enough, Robin ended up with Ted. At least Mosbatsky shippers are happy!
Shipping aside, one of the things that people have complained more about is the fact that the characters aren’t true to themselves. “They spend all Season 9 trying to make a point: Robin and Barney love each other, Barney has left his old ways behind…”. Yes. But people also forget something: though it might seem unbelievable, Season 9 took place in just ONE WEEKEND, while the season finale took place in 17 YEARS. That’s even more time that we had seen until now, which was 8 years. And we saw our characters changing a lot during that time. So any changes that the characters may go through in the series finale, though it might look odd to us, are justified.
The reason I didn’t give this episode a perfect 10/10 is due to some details like Barney suddenly knocking a girl up after having slept with more than 200 women, or the lack of explanation on Lily and Marshall’s future.
FINAL RATING: 9.8/10
It’s been a hell of a ride. This is one of those TV shows that we’ll just have to rewatch in the future now that we know what’s up. How I Met Your Mother wasn’t a regular sitcom that was just made for laughs. It was a journey full of life-lessons. A story about five friends struggling to survive and find love in New York City but always being able to rely on each other. But it also taught us that, in life, not everything is as wonderful as it seems. But we smiled, we laughed and we enjoyed every moment. And it was legendary.