Apr 1 2014 11:15am

Good-Bye, How I Met Your Mother: The HIMYM Series Finale Recap

The cast of How I Met Your MotherThis post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for all aired episodes of How I Met Your Mother, including last night’s SERIES FINALE, “Last Forever,” Parts 1 and 2. Enjoy!

All good things come to an end, and so, after nine years, does How I Met Your Mother. Love or hate the ending, this is a finale fans are going to be talking about for quite some time.

Our final episode opens in the past, with our gang of five in their booth at MacLaren’s, only a few months after Robin moved from Canada to New York, where she doesn’t even have any friends. Yes she does have friends, Lily insists. She has them. When Robin goes to the bar to get the next round, Lily warns Barney and Ted that Robin is her new best friend, and the only way either of them are ever going to bang her is if they marry her.

We already know one of them did, and the scene flashes forward to Barney and Robin’s wedding reception. Ted locks eyes across the crowded dance floor with the band’s bass player, the eventually-to-be Mrs. Mosby. Barney calls out to her, asking if she remembers the pep talk she gave him to go get the woman he loves. He did, he declares, and Ted decides he has to leave for Chicago right away.

Lily demands that they take the emotional farewell outside. Ted tells Robin it’s been a major pleasure (salute) and Lily is too emotional to say her goodbye; Ted should talk to Marshall next, which he does before placing a finger on Lily’s forehead for an ET farewell. Barney and Ted decide to exchange one super infinity five to take care of all the high fives they can’t give each other in person anymore. Of course they end up infinity five-ing too hard and both hurt their hands. The gang goes their separate ways, Ted ending up on that bench in the rain, one iconic yellow umbrella only a few scant feet away. With a bit of prompting from the older woman sitting next to him, he gathers his nerve and says hello.

The very next day, Marshall and Lily go to a Ted-less MacLaren’s, only to find Ted ensconced in their booth. Isn’t he going to Chicago? Nope. He met a girl, and proceeds to call and ask her out right then and there, in defiance of the three day rule. Marshall fears Ted is setting himself up for heartbreak yet again, but Lily sees that this one is different, and in a flashforward to 2015, she’s right. Ted is about to blow all his money on a big fancy wedding at a castle in France.

Ted shouldn’t make out that check yet, as the not-yet-Mrs.-Mosby arrives to tell him they can’t get married in September, as she won’t fit in the dress. She’s pregnant. That’s not the only upheaval, as Robin and Barney are going through another rough patch after their trip to Argentina. Robin has been travelling constantly for work, which doesn’t sit well with Barney. He can’t even blog when she drags him off to some place with no wifi. Robin and Barney confess to the gang that they have divorced, but that doesn’t have to change anything; they’ll always be there for the big moments.

The flashforwards come fast and furious from here. Ted and Not-Yet-Mrs.-Mosby welcome both daughter Penny and son Luke before they marry. Marshall returns to corporate law, and he and Lily decide to give up the apartment so they can move to a larger place when they welcome baby number three. Barney tops his perfect week with a perfect month, banging thirty one women in thirty one days, and conceives a child with woman number thirty one. Robin remains scarce. Barney meets his newborn daughter and vows to give her everything he has and is, for his whole life.

Returning home after the birth of Barney’s daughter, Ted asks his fiancée for her ring back and re-proposes. They’ll be married that Thursday. For this, the seldom-seen Robin reappears, congratulates new father Barney, who isn’t interested in her anymore, and poses for a group shot with Ted’s new bride.

Present-day Ted rhapsodizes about the long and convoluted road that led him to the mother of his children, and how glad he was for all of it, how he got to love her through the ups and downs and all the speedbumps of life, even when she got sick. Oh yes, they went there. After a cute moment where Ted finally reveals the name of his late wife, Tracy, he tells the kids the story is over, but Penny says it isn’t.

The whole point, Penny insists, wasn’t to tell them how he met Tracy, but that he’s still hung up on Aunt Robin, and wants their permission to ask her out, as Tracy has been dead for six years. Ted being Ted, does not make the call, but knows what he has to do. Blue French horn in hand, he stands below Robin’s window as she and her dogs look down at him and smile.


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.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
Not sure I can be eloquent about this: I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW AWFUL THAT FINALE WAS. Still in shock and denial.

How is it possible that after NINE YEARS, no one in the gang changed at all and Ted/Robin--who NEVER worked together despite many attempts--are endgame?

This is the worst. I'm incredibly disappointed.

How I wish we were able to celebrate a Barney/Robin or even just a Ted/Mother HEA here today.
Anna Bowling
2. AnnaBowling
This never would have happened in a romance novel. Barney and Robin would have lived HEA, traveling the world and having adventures, with or without a surprise baby, staying their awesome, legendary selves. Ted and Tracy would both be there to see their children grow to adulthood, showing us why they were a perfectly dorky match for the ages. Lily, as well as Marshall, would have found professional fulfillment along with parenthood, and the fans, ah, the fans would be happy and not full of homicidal rage. Unfortunately, we are full of rage, and this finale was full of bullpucky.

This was the exact opposite of what we fans were promised at the outset, and for what? Do we have any indication at all that Ted and Robin will make it work at this phase of their lives, or would Barney get a second wind from fatherhood and press his suit for Robin once again ? (Pun unintended, but I'll let it stand, because it works.) Barney and Robin's romance and their individual character arcs kept us watching, had us invested, and, as it would turn out, all for nothing. If Carter/Bays are hoping to carry over fan loyalty to the HIMYD spinoff (and how is it a spinoff if there are no connecting characters again?) they may find themselves as disappointed as I was in this extremely ill-conceived finale. True story.
3. Bell
Whoa. I watched the first couple seasons then lost track of it. I've been reading the updates here and planed on watching when the series was complete. But after this no. It just seems like a slap in the face to its fans. I always thought the premise was as a rom com/buddy show with a promised hea. I honestly feel bad for the upset fans as nine years is along time to wait and watch for the mother payoff.
Jennifer Proffitt
4. JenniferProffitt
I could even accept it if the mother had died but they totally went against character for EVERYONE. Barney reverted, Robin became glacial and abandoned her friends, Lily was all of a sudden happy to drop her career and become a baby-making machine, and Marshal was just "blah" the entire episode. Why couldn't they just have ended it with Ted meeting the mother? Why did they have to skip so many years, it just "told" us the story rather than showing it.

At the end the only person who was true to form was Ted--aka he was a superficial jerk who was obsessed with Robin and he ended it that way. The finale just made him look like an even bigger superficial jerk. I was so upset.

These are my two reactions to the finale.
Anna Bowling
5. AnnaBowling
@Bell, as much as it pains me to warn someone away from a show that had been one of my all time favorites, I understand your decision not to watch. As an alternative, watch but stop at 9x22, "The End of the Aisle," as has been widely suggested within the fandom. It does feel like a slap in the face, delivered by a hand wearing brass knuckles. Rom com buddy show with HEAs all around is exactly what we were promised, but far from what we received, and that's what hurts the most.

@JenniferProffitt, we had the same reaction, because it was that out of character for everybody. I wept for Barney and Robin, individually and as a couple, grieved for poor Tracy, swept out of this mortal realm so quickly and callously, and the love that had always been the heart of this show extremely difficult to find. I'm sure it was hiding in there somewhere, but with so much bullpucky lying about, it was easy to miss.
6. CindyS
Barney and Robin not being together definitely sucked so I've re-written it in my head. I did really think 'the mother' was Ted's soulmate and true love so Ted ending up with Robin felt sad. I feel bad that the writers decided to stay with the ending they must have come up with years ago. After the touching speech from Ted the kids are all way too upbeat and are calling him out and saying he needs to be with 'Aunt Robin'.

I didn't mind them showing how life changes but I would have preferred seeing Robin and Barney stumble and fall but get back up. Heck, I would have preferred they have Marshal and Lily divorce - that I could figure that out as they were so young when they fell in love. They did a whole season on the wedding and killed all the reasons why Robin and Barney shouldn't be together and made it clear they were great for each other. Barney going back to the way he was was again sad.

That said, it is rare that series finales work and for some reason sitcom writers feel the need to land a bunch of life lessons into the finale. For me, I'm watching for the comedy and would prefer the finales stay true to that. Sure, a few touching moments but in the end, make it funny.
Anna Bowling
7. AnnaBowling
@CindyS, you and me both. Josh Radnor did an amazing job of selling us on Ted's love for the woman we would come to know as Tracy and their wondrous life together, a mate tailor-made for him, well worth all the struggle to get to her...annnnnd then she's dead and Robin's divorced and we're right back where we started. No. Just no. Cobie Smulders and Neil Patrick Harris sold me on Barney/Robin, and that overrules whatever the script might have said. It's bigger than that. I still hold in my headcannon that Robin and Barney can still overcome their differences and come back stronger than ever. This was sold to us as a romantic comedy, and in their last chance to give us a lasting impression, we got neither.
8. Shark with Lasers
This ending disrupts the narrative interpretation of everything we've seen up 'til now. Comedies are supposed to end with a wedding. If it ends with a funeral, it's a tragedy. So we've been laughing at a tragedy this entire time? WTF?
9. bananacake21
It seems that I am the only person on the planet not disappointed by the ending - it's the only ending that made sense! Also, I kinda like that it‘s not your usual happily-ever-after (and lets be honest, how many of those actually happen in real life?)...pleasantly surprised by how realistic it was!
Anna Bowling
10. AnnaBowling
@Shark with Lasers, that's a time-honored distinction of dramatic tradition. I'm all for adding some dramatic elements to comedy, but this particular attempt didn't work for me.

@bananacake21, thanks for chiming in. This finale wasn't to everyone's taste, but a different perspective is always welcome. I'm glad the finale worked for you.
Post a comment