How I Met Your Mother's ninth and final season (!!!) kicked off last night on CBS with two episodes, 9.01 and 9.02, “The Locket” and “Coming Back.” Read Anna Bowling's special recap and thoughts on what's ahead for the gang in the show's victory lap. (Just, you know, beware of SPOILERS if you haven't yet watched.)
Nearly a decade since Ted Mosby first began telling his children the story of how he met their mother, How I Met Your Mother is now officially in endgame. With the entire season spanning the weekend of Barney and Robin’s wedding, the stakes for characters, and for fans, have never been higher. Romance fans already expect the final book in a series to pack a punch and tie up loose ends, so how does a romance-themed TV show reach a happily ever after for all?
Marshall and Lily
As Lily reminds us, she and Marshall have been together for seventeen years. They’ve made the long journey from college sweethearts to married parents, soon to be facing the complicated decision of which country they should base their family. Move to Italy for Lily’s job as an art buyer, or stay in New York for Marshall’s chance at becoming a judge? A chance, one should remember, that Lily isn’t yet aware of, thanks to baby Marvin’s ability to delete Grandma Judy’s tell-all tweet. An important discussion for any family, but when it comes at the same time as the wedding of two of their closest friends, can they really give this dilemma the concentration it deserves? Marshall and Lily have had big decisions to make in the past, but now that they’re parents, they have to consider Marvin and any future children as well as their own career paths.
Lily is also the first to meet the mother, whose name remains implausibly unknown, bringing the future Mrs. Mosby (let’s call her that for convenience’s sake, shall we?) one step closer to meeting the love of her life. They share emotional moments, the same sense of humor, and delicious cookies, never knowing that they, too, will be linked for life in a very short time. Friendship, as well as romance, has always been at the core of HIMYM, and watching the group’s mother figure usher Mrs. Mosby feels right, but will it go as smooth with everybody?
Barney and Robin
When, en route to Farhampton, Barney leaves out his trademark “wait for it,” it’s because he has Robin. He doesn’t have to wait anymore, and neither do the fans. This wedding is on, and we’ve already flashed forward to a reception, so it seems a sure deal that there will be “I do’s.” Part of Barney and Robin’s appeal has always been that they get each other, and their broken, dysfunctional pieces, together, meld into one offbeat but functional whole. Watching them work together to prove that they aren’t biologically related or respond, as a family, to news of Barney’s brother’s impending divorce, takes this fan favorite pair to a new level. That teamwork should have plenty of chances to shine as Stinsons and Sherbatskys from both sides of the border converge for the nuptials. Though we’ve seen Robin’s father on several occasions, Mama Sherbatsky remains a mystery, and Robin’s younger sister, Katie, seems to have disappeared after visiting the Empire State Building. Then there’s Robin’s new stepmother. Can even Barney survive (potentially) four Sherbatsky women at once? Watching Barney and Robin over the past eight seasons has been its own coming of age story, and if fans want to get a bit misty about seeing these two make it this far, we’ve earned it.
Ted and The Mother
Though we’ve met Mrs. Mosby, and seen her future self happily in love with Ted, in a touchingly played flash-forward, there’s still Ted’s unwillingness to fully let go of a potential future with Robin. Not to mention Robin’s missing locket that might be in Stella’s possession, the recovery of which might mean Ted’s plan for one last grand romantic gesture toward Robin might still be in play. He’s already admitted he’s the wild card at Barney and Robin’s wedding, but is this a card he’s actually going to play, not knowing that his one true love is literally around the corner?
For Mrs. Mosby herself, there’s still a lot we don’t know. Ted’s given us the outline, but any romance heroine worth the name is more as a person than merely liking what the hero likes, and that’s something fans are going to want to see. Who is Mrs. Mosby, apart from being, well, Mrs. Mosby? Let’s have her first name, for starters. A few “How I Met Your Father” moments or even a whole episode or two would not go amiss, either. Don’t just tell us why she’s the perfect wife for Ted; show us. Let us cheer for her as wildly and enthusiastically as we have for Marshall and Lily, and Barney and Robin.
What do we want this season? Everything. It’s the home stretch, the final countdown. Give us callbacks, oh so many callbacks, because HIMYM does them that well. Fix James and Tom’s relationship, because they’re the couple that made Barney know true love was possible. Give us a crazy, weird, tumultuous wedding weekend that still turns out okay, because if you believe in somebody, things will work out. Please. It’s for the bride.
Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.