So, I read recaps.
Like, I seriously can’t get enough of them. It’s rare for me to watch an episode all the way through without having read the recap of it prior to, or sometimes during, it.
I say this to explain to you that before I sat down to watch the How I Met Your Mother series finale last night, I had already read the recaps, and I knew what was coming.
**SPOILER ALERT** STOP READING NOW TO AVOID SPOILERS**
And like any good fan, I was angry. Barney and Robin get divorced?!?! The Mother DIES!???!?! Ted wants to get with Robin after all these years and seasons and reasons not to??!?! GAH – HIMYM Creators – You sons of beeeeetches.
But then, as I watched, something funny happened. I started to understand, even like, how the show ended. By the time the episode was over I thought that everything played out in a way that was very true to the show.
Before you massacre me, here’s why I felt that way:
BARNEY AND ROBIN GET DIVORCED.
Look, I was the BIGGEST Barney and Robin shipper out there. I love the two of them together, and no one was happier when they tied the knot in the penultimate episodes last week. And, yes, I do think that it’s tragic that the two of them didn’t work out. But it’s not for lack of trying. The truth is, Barney changed A LOT in last season and a half, very dramatically, I might add, and it was way more in character for him to be able to bounce back and become the old womanizing Barney we all know and love. If the creators had ended his story there, with him exactly as he once was, I would have had a major problem, but they didn’t. Barney gets a daughter, and he grows up, and he falls so deeply in love with her that it changes everything permanently. I loved that. So, I didn’t get the perfect relationship I wanted for Barney and Robin. I can live with that because in the end, this was more realistic. And it wasn’t like they didn’t love each other. In fact, I think they ended things because they loved each other enough to admit that they were both miserable and that their relationship was failing. That takes guts, and it sucks, but it happens sometimes.
ROBIN CHOOSES FAME AND FORTUNE OVER THE GROUP (TEMPORARILY).
Why are people so angry about this one? This happens ALL THE FREAKING TIME IN REAL LIFE. She broke up with Barney, realized she was in love with Ted all along (which, let’s be honest, she knew way before this point but just wasn’t willing to act on), and couldn’t take being part of the group. It was heartbreaking to watch her goodbye with Lily, just heartbreaking, but it was also an honest move on the creators part. This was always how Robin was. She’s career driven, and she finally gets the success she’s always been striving for. It takes over her life, which is kind of how it’s always been with her. I didn’t love that she’s so absent for so long because it obviously hurts Lily (whom I love to death and sympathize with), but of all the big reveals this one just didn’t hit me as being hard to take.
THE MOTHER DIES.
We knew it was going to happen. We all knew, but it still hurt like hell. But in the end, I had to accept that the show was never really about The Mother (who has a stupid name anyway). It was about Ted. And Lily and Marshall. And Barney. And, we knew from the very first episode, Robin. Ted’s soliloquy about the Mother’s illness was perfect. It summed up so much, avoided them having to show the messy aftermath of her death, and gave me the closure I needed with her (because I did fall in love with her too, with Ted, and Cristin Milioti was perfect as The Mother).
“It was a long and difficult road. But I’m glad it was long and difficult – because if I hadn’t gone through hell to get there the lesson might not have been as clear. You see, Kids, right from the moment I met your mom I knew. I have to love this woman as much as I can for as long as I can, and I can never stop loving her, not even for a second. I carried that lesson with me through every fight we ever had, every five a.m. Christmas morning, every sleepy Sunday afternoon. Through every speed bump, every pang of jealousy or boredom or uncertainty that came our way. I carried that lesson with me. And I carried it with me when she got sick. Even then, in what can only be called the worst of times, I can only thank God. Thank every God there is or ever was or will be and the whole universe and anyone else I could possibly thank. That I saw that beautiful girl on that train platform, and that I had the guts to stand up, walk over to her, tap her on the shoulder, open my mouth and speak.”
– Ted, Series Finale of How I Met Your Mother
ROBIN AND TED GET TOGETHER.
I stopped wanting this seasons and seasons ago. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t meant to be. In the end, I don’t know how the show could have gone another way with The Mother dead. Had she lived we’d be talking about a very different universe and in that finale, I believe, Barney and Robin would have stayed together. But in this world The Mother died. And it’s been six long years since that happened. Which means Ted had plenty of time to mourn, and knowing Ted, I’m sure they were long and hard years for him. I’m sure his friends rallied around him like they always do, and that includes Robin. She had to have come back into the picture after that because Ted’s kids know her pretty well, which they wouldn’t if she were always gone. So Robin finally stops travelling so much, rejoins the group, and slowly, over the six years following The Mother’s death, Ted falls back in love with Robin. You can have more than one love in your lifetime, and Ted has always, irrevocably and regardless of whether it was ever going to work, loved Robin. A lot of people are saying that they were just “fundamentally wrong for each other,” but that’s BS. The only things that broke them up and kept them from being together were Ted’s desire to have children and Robin’s desire to pursue her career. But by the end of the finale, they’ve both done those things. And Ted needed to have met and been with The Mother, just as Robin needed to pursue her dreams, travel the world, and come back. They had lessons to learn, and HIMYM has always been about life’s lessons. In the end the show was true to itself, and I think that being together later in life worked for them. There was no longer anything standing in their way, and it just clicked for me that this was the logical next step in their lives. The Mother would want Ted to be happy after her death – I know she wouldn’t be upset about him getting back with Robin because she’s the one who tracked Robin down and convinced her to attend Ted and her wedding. She would understand. Love is infinite. That’s what this show is all about.
The show came full circle, but that doesn’t mean that it was pointless. They grew up, learned hard lessons, loved and lost, and in the end they were able to come back together as two different people. They couldn’t have been together before, but now they can have their own happy ending. Ted had one already with his kids and The Mother; Robin had one with her worldwide journalism success. Why shouldn’t they get another one together? The journey is just as important as the destination.
And there were so many other great moments. The glimpses of Ted’s life with The Mother were perfect. Lily and Marshall have yet another kid, which for me, was the pinnacle of happiness. The real questions I was left with were: Boy or girl? Name? I want details on Lily and Marshall’s family. And of course, WHAT THE HECK WAS THE DEAL WITH THAT PINEAPPLE?!?! Also, why Tracy? Didn’t we already have a Tracy in Ted’s past? Gross.
But these were minor complaints. How I Met Your Mother has long been one of my favorite shows, and the ending was true to the spirit of the show. It was the ending that the characters deserved, and I’m happy to have spent these last nine seasons growing with them. What I don’t understand is that some people are claiming that, because of the way it ended, they feel cheated. Like they’ve “wasted nine years” watching the show. If you feel that way then I’m sorry, but you aren’t really a HIMYM mother fan anyway. Because it was always about the journey. This wasn’t “watch Ted and The Mother’s fairy tale life play out for nine years” – it was “watch Ted and his friends learn about life and love and friendship while Ted tries to find love.” The journey means so much more to me than the destination ever could. I love them – I cried with them, laughed with them, and I just wanted them to be happy, which they obviously are. There are things in life that are unfair. Bad things happen even to the best of us, like in the case of The Mother, but that doesn’t mean life is without all joy. There are blue french horns in everyday life, and the miracle of life is that even after the worst of times even more “the best of times” are on the way.
Thank you, How I Met Your Mother. I salute you.