Why the How I Met Your Mother Series Finale was Actually Genius
Almost a year ago on March 31st, 2014, How I Met Your Mother fans everywhere were sad to see the story of Ted Mosby and his search for love finally come to an end. After eight seasons of waiting to find out who the mother was, she was finally revealed to the world in the last sixty seconds of the season eight finale, carrying her iconic yellow umbrella and bass guitar. She was then present throughout all of season 9, shown not only meeting everyone except for Ted, but also shown developing her relationship with him through clever flash-forwards, including their first date and Ted’s heartfelt proposal. Fans got to know the mother and watch her become a real character in the show for the first time, but they were not able to actually witness the moment she and Ted meet until the last five minutes of the final episode. While their meeting was the moment that everyone had been waiting for since the very first episode, it was not what had everybody talking after the series finale.
After Ted is shown meeting the mother, the show flashes forward to him talking to his kids on the couch and finally being able to say, “And that, kids, is how I met your mother.” Penny’s response was not what was expected. After sitting down and listening to her father talk her ear off for what seemed like an eternity, Ted’s daughter responds with, “That’s it?” and proceeds to take an unexpected, skeptical approach. This is where fans watched in absolute shock as Penny began to accuse their father of being madly in love with their “Aunt” Robin. Viewers almost did not have time to process what was happening while the mother is revealed to be deceased for six years, the kids encourage Ted to call Robin, and he makes his way to her apartment, holding out the one and only blue french horn. When the credits came, fans were raging.
The whole point of the show was ruined, Robin and Ted are overrated, the mother was incredible, etc. These are the types of reactions that originally formed directly after the classic sitcom finally came to an end. Everyone was utterly disappointed. However, when looking back and analyzing every aspect of the show, it is extremely evident that this ending was absolutely brilliant, not only because of its “wow” factor, in the sense that no one saw it coming, but also because every single detail presented throughout the series finally made sense.
First, let’s take a look at Ted and Robin’s relationship, starting from the very beginning, the very first time Ted lays eyes on her in the first episode. He is talking to Barney about Marshall proposing to Lily and how it is making him question whether or not he should be at that point in his life as well. Ted goes on, in a joking manner, saying “Ok, I’m ready. Where is she?” and then he turns and sees Robin for the first time. There she was. Ted was always a head in the clouds romantic, always ready to settle down and start a family, but in that moment, he was truly ready. If it were up to him, he would have looked no further and he would have married Robin on the spot. It was always about her. The creators of the show revealed to us who Ted’s true love really was right in the first five minutes of the series, and then discouraged us by saying, “because, that, kids, is the true story of how I met your Aunt Robin,” at the end of the episode.
No matter what happened between Robin and Ted from that point on, viewers always had it in the back of their minds that Robin was not the mother (which was true) and that Ted would not end up with her (which was not true). She was eliminated as a possibility right away, making the show’s finale that much more clever and unexpected. However, there was one small glimmer of hope in the middle of season 7 which made viewers question what was really going to happen between the two. In episode 17 of season 7, titled No Pressure, Barney finds Marshall and Lily’s box of long-term bets, one of which is “Lily bets Marshall that Ted and Robin won’t end up together”. The show then presents a montage of moments where Lily has told Marshall to pay up during times where it seems as though Ted has moved on, such as his wedding with Stella. Marshall’s response was always, “Not yet.” At the end of the episode, Robin tells Ted that she does not love him and she moves out of the apartment, causing Lily to tell Marshall to pay up. This is the last time we hear about it, but Marshall still says, “Not yet,” with no explanation. As Ted’s best friend, Marshall knows who Ted is meant to be with. Most fans do not catch this or relate it to the fact that Ted and Robin actually do end up together, but it is one of the minor details that becomes very clear with the show’s end.
Another argument that skeptics of the finale posed was the fact that Barney and Robin seemed perfect for each other. She was the only girl who actually got Barney to walk down the aisle and yet they ended up getting divorced for what seemed like not a good enough reason three years later. Most fans were more upset about Barney and Robin breaking up rather than Ted and Robin getting together. These same fans were also team Ted and Tracy (the mother). She and Ted had so much in common and also seemed meant to be, just like Barney and Robin. However, these viewers did not take a step back and look at yet another minor detail which pointed directly to the fact that these “dream couples” were in fact not meant to be together.
One of the most iconic and well received episodes of How I Met Your Mother took place in the ninth season. The 200th episode, titled How Your Mother Met Me, walked through the mother’s life during the same timeline as Ted’s, touching on the various moments where they were in the same place at the same time. This episode in itself reflected the brilliance of the show, putting the whole story together and tying in parts from various seasons and episodes throughout the series. However, the one key detail comes from the words of wisdom Tracy provided us with recently after her boyfriend, Max, passed away. She is talking to her future roommate, Cindy, in economy class (where Ted happens to accidentally teach that day) and she happens to mention, “I believe that each of us only gets one. And I got mine already.” This may not seem like such a big deal in the moment, but it all makes sense when the season finale rolls around and Ted, in fact, does not end up with Tracy for the rest of his life.
Max was Tracy’s one. Robin was Ted’s one. Barney was incapable of being anybody’s one. Furthermore, if Barney and Robin had stayed together, Barney would have never experienced the emotional moment of holding his own daughter in his arms. Fans reportedly loved those rare moments when Barney would show his soft side, and this was the biggest soft side of all. He finally had something that was genuinely important to him, that gave him his meaning in life and made him truly feel “legendary”. If he had stayed with Robin, they never would have had kids, and even if they did, it would not be their own because Robin was incapable of having children. Barney had his daughter, Ted finally got Robin, and Tracy was able to spend the rest of eternity with Max. Most fans did not even realize that everybody actually ended up with who they were supposed to be with.
Finally, let’s not forget Ted’s heartwarming speech about lasting love. As mentioned before, Ted was always a head in the clouds, hopeless romantic. He moved audiences to tears with his multiple lessons on love and destiny. However, arguably Ted’s most prominent and memorable speech took place in episode 17 of season 9, titled Sunrise. For those of you not familiar with this speech, here it is:
“Actually, there is a word for that. It’s love. I’m in love with her, okay? If you’re looking for the word that means caring about someone beyond all rationality and wanting them to have everything they want, no matter how much it destroys you, it’s love! And when you love someone, you just, you don’t stop, ever. Even when people roll their eyes or call you crazy. Even then. Especially then! You just– you don’t give up! Because if I could give up if I could just, you know, take the whole world’s advice and-and move on and find someone else, that wouldn’t be love. That would be that would be some other disposable thing that is not worth fighting for. But I– that is not what this is.”
He was talking about Robin. No person on earth can speak words like that about another human being and simply throw all of those feelings away. Like Ted said, when you love someone, you don’t ever stop. Ted always loved Robin and was always meant to be with her. What Tracy did was give him a glimpse of the life he had always dreamed of. She was the woman who played bass guitar, the woman who bore him children, the woman who shared his love for coin collections, dorky driving gloves, corny jokes, and so many other things that simply made her “too perfect”. In the end, Ted and Tracy were far too similar and there was no real passion. She gave him what he had always thought he wanted for a few years, and he gave her a few years of happiness before she was to be reunited with her one true love. But when everything was said and done, he still wanted Robin. He never stopped fighting for her, just like he said in his speech.
How I Met Your Mother Series finale was actually genius
After looking at the first episode, the last episode, and a few key messages and hints from those in between, it is obvious that the How I Met Your Mother series finale was, in fact, one of the most well crafted plot lines ever executed in TV history. In addition to its long running series of hidden connections, the show gave fans laughter, tears, suspense, romance, drama, and, most importantly of all, hope. If the show had simply ended after Ted met Tracy, the message would have been that everyone eventually finds their soul mate, which is a remarkable message indeed, but this ending gave viewers more. Yes, everyone does eventually find their soul mate, but the real message is that it can happen in the most unexpected and unimaginable way possible. Love is about risk and sometimes even heartbreak, but that is the beauty of it. When you find someone you are willing to take that leap for, someone you will never stop fighting for, you have found your soul mate, no matter how long it takes or how many obstacles fall in your path. This is the real message of How I Met Your Mother, and this is why the show’s finale was undeniably and indubitably, absolutely genius.
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