Nine seasons, 208 episodes and some legendary moments all came to an end this week when Ted Mosby met the titular mother. There will be plenty of spoilers ahead in this review, so beware.
The one-hour special opens with the gang (Ted, Robin, Barney, Lily and Marshall) all at MacLaren’s enjoying a drink. It’s 2005 and Lily (Alyson Hannigan “American Reunion) tells Ted (Josh Radnor “Afternoon Delight”) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris “The Smurfs II”) that the only way she would let either one of them hook up with Robin (Cobie Smulders “The Lego Movie”) is if they married her.
Back in the present, Barney is dancing with Robin at their wedding reception. Ted, who is heading off Chicago the next day, notices the bassist of the wedding band. After one last “major” salute between Ted and Robin, a creepy E.T. reference and a high-five for infinity with a “Ghostbusters” reference, Ted is waiting for his train when the old lady he was talking to points out the girl with the bass guitar standing on the platform waiting for a train as well. Ted is reluctant to talk to her.
When Marshall and Lily enter MacLaren’s feeling different because Ted is gone, they find him in their booth having a drink. Ted decided to stay in New York because of the bass player. Marshall criticizes Ted for falling in love too quickly, but Lily sees something different in Ted’s acting.
Between some flash-forwards and flashbacks, it’s made clear that Ted is marrying the bassist, Tracy. She comes into the bar to tell Ted that the wedding has to be put off, but for a good reason: she’s pregnant.
A year later, the gang plus Tracy are in the house Ted bought in 2010, as a reminder of his failed relationships. It’s revealed Barney and Robin got a divorce. This is where things begin to set up for the end. Barney and Robin reassure their friends that things aren’t going to change. Barney reveals Lily is pregnant with her third child. Marshall and Lily hold one last Halloween party on the roof before moving out. Robin comes to the party and, after seeing Ted and Tracy kiss, she decides to leave. She runs into Lily on her way out and they have an argument and Robin reveals that she feels she should have ended up with Ted and doesn’t feel comfortable being a part of the gang anymore.
Next, it’s 2018 and Lily, Barney and Ted are waiting at MacLaren’s for Marshall. Barney is ready for a “legen…wait for it….dary night,” but he’s the only one without kids to worry about. They talk about how they haven’t seen Robin in a long time, Marshall finds out that he’s going to be a judge, something he’s been waiting for after turning the judgeship down and Barney is back to his old ways of trying to hook up with numerous women.
He tells them that he’s convinced that since his relationship with Robin did not work out, no relationship he has will work out in the long run. Then he informs the gang that he’s gone for the perfect month – hooking up with 31 women in 31 days and succeeded but number 31 got pregnant. When Barney meets his daughter, Ellie, he has a moment of clarity. He tells her that she is the love of his life and that everything he has and everything he is, is hers forever. This marks a turning point in Barney’s life. He’s able to become the father figure he never had which ties up the loose ends in his story.
Ted reproposes to Tracy and tells her that they’re going to get married that Thursday. The gang meets at MacLaren’s before Ted’s wedding. Lily says she has now seen everything when she sees Barney tell two women to go home and get dressed. Then, Robin walks into the bar because Tracy convinced her to go to the wedding.
Tracy takes a picture of the gang in their booth at MacLaren’s and they make a toast to Ted for finding the woman he would marry after nine long years of searching. Pictures of Ted and Tracy flash as if they were from a scrapbook and Ted reveals that Tracy became terminally ill, which is something that fans have speculated for some time now.
Everything comes back to the Farhampton train station. Ted is looking at Tracy, who is standing in the rain. He approaches her and begins to talk to her. The two realize that their paths have crossed multiple times in the past nine years. Tracy was Cindy’s roommate. Ted accidentally taught Tracy’s economics 305 class. Ted left the yellow umbrella at Cindy’s when he dated her and they playfully argue over the owner of the umbrella, since it had been Tracy’s but Ted found it on St. Patrick’s Day one year. Their paths finally meet and the story is over. Ted says “and that kids, is how I met your mother.”
The kids are disappointed with the story. They believe that the story was about how he’s crazy about their Aunt Robin. Penny tells Ted that their mother has been gone for six years now and he should call Robin and ask her on a date. Ted agrees and begins to call Robin, but then has a better idea. He shows up to her apartment with the blue French horn from their first date.
The episode ends, cutting to a black screen with the show’s title.
All signs have lead to this finale. Robin was Ted’s first love interest. Yes, the show is supposed to be about how Ted met the kids’ mother, but the story was always meant to end with that. While some argue that the story should not have gone any further than that, the show chooses to wrap up all the loose ends in the story. Ted getting back with Robin makes perfect sense because everyone ends up where they wanted to be all along.
Agree with how the writers ended it or not, “How I Met Your Mother” does a great job of telling the story of life and growing up from your mid-20s into your 30s and beyond. The show gives us the realities of life, love and happiness. It had a great nine-year run. Although some fans strongly disagree with how things wrapped up, the story itself fits and it has been one legendary ride.