So there you have it, kids. Nine seasons of How I Met Your Mother all came down to “Last Forever,” encapsulating into one tidy hour everything that happens to Ted, Barney, Robin, Marshall, Lily and The Mother from 2013-2030.
There were few surprises, maybe a tear or two. Overall, I felt the finale to be satisfying but unspectacular, the only twist being that there really wasn’t a major twist. Here are my big takeaways from the episode:
The Mother Is Dead. Yep. They called you insane for thinking that, but, yeah, the Mother’s been dead for six years when Future Ted finishes telling the story. She dies of an unspecified illness, and the show deals with the death so hastily and nonchalantly that it lacks emotional impact. Plus, we all saw it coming.
Meet Tracy McConnell. The universe gives Ted a sign with The Mother sharing his initials that were carved into the handle of the famed Yellow Umbrella. Ted and Tracy plan an elaborate European Castle wedding that gets sidetracked when Tracy gets pregnant. Then comes the other kid. Years later, Ted re-proposes and they get married on a Thursday.
I Give Them Three Years. Barney and Robin divorce after three years, with Robin’s constant travel as a world news reporter putting strain on the marriage, though that’s just symptomatic of them being ill-suited for each other from the start. (Their marriage isn’t entirely pointless — it did bring Ted and Tracy together.) Robin becomes isolated from the group over the years, with seeing Ted’s happiness and her ex-husband’s philandering too difficult for her. Barney goes back to being Barney, complete with all the old-school Barney womanizing and the creation of The Playbook II: Electric Bangaloo. It’s not until Barney knocks up Day 31 of his Perfect Month and meets his daughter for the first time that he finally grows up. His pledge of love to her is the episode’s most heartfelt, impactful moment.
Marshall And Lily Are There, Too. Marshall and Lily seemed to play an incredibly small part in the finale. Upon returning from Italy, Marshall toils his way back up through a corporate law job until a judgeship opens up in Queens, and eventually he announces he’s running for state supreme court. (To my knowledge, the mystery of how Marshall saved the world remains unsolved. Any help?) Lily has a third child, but there’s no indication she’s pursuing her art aspirations. Marshall and Lily are just Marshall and Lily.
Ted And Robin, Together At Last. Six years after Tracy’s death, Ted is ready to move on from the Yellow Umbrella to the Blue French Horn, and telling the story of “How I Met Your Mother” imparts to his kids all the joy, pain, love and loss that got him to this point. It’s a roundabout way of asking his kids’ permission to move on and ask out “Aunt Robin” (it sounds a little creepy?). The kids love Aunt Robin, know how he feels about her, and are all for it. Ted’s about to call her on the phone, but decides to go one better. Robin, who is probably known as “Crazy Dalmatian Lady” to her neighbors, finds Ted outside her window with the Blue French Horn.