‘How I Met Your Mother’ finale deserves a slap in the face

By Scott Singer

After years of suiting up, slap bets and saluting (it’s a general trend), “How I Met Your Mother” fans were ready to learn the answer to the mother of all questions: how exactly did Ted meet his wife?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question was overshadowed by forced twists that soured the finale. Each of the four plotlines of the episode might have provided enough material for several installments—Barney and Robin get divorced, Barney fathers a lovechild, The Mother dies and Ted rekindles his romance with Robin.

The episode flashes into the future to three years after Robin and Barney’s wedding. After Robin’s job as a television anchor forces her to travel and work long hours, she and Barney mutually decide to seek a divorce. Meanwhile Ted and The Mother (whose name is revealed to be Tracy) meet at the Farhampton train station, in one of the episode’s finer interactions.

About five minutes later (or five years in HIMYM time), Barney has a kid and Ted finally marries Tracy. In 2024, Tracy sadly passes away, and to make matters worse, the gang rarely sees each other. By 2030, the year when the story is narrated, Ted is prepared to ask Robin out.

This ending might have been appropriate three seasons ago, after Barney and Robin became romantically involved.

But all the character development since then was all but undone. Barney’s maturation from a womanizer to a faithful husband is reversed as he leaves the show having completed a “perfect month”. Robin is finally ready to prioritize her relationship over her work—just kidding, she’s more committed to her job at Worldwide News. And Ted, who watches Robin magically fly into the air waving goodbye (a not so subtle metaphor for moving on) after telling her that he no longer loves her, concludes the series by bringing a blue French horn to Robin’s doorstep, just as he did when he pursued Robin early in season one.

It seemed as if the finale were recorded for the show to end after season four, when Robin and Ted were still a possibility. But the tone shift so late in the series (the last 40 minutes) seemed to take away from the previous lessons of the series—letting go, growing up and maintaining important friendships.

Sure, the finale did have some fun throwbacks. The scene where Robin meets the gang made me ask myself, “Wow, is it really over?” And to see the cockamouse one last time—air five, HIMYM producers.

On the whole, however, this finale was far from legend—not going to wait for it because that finale was awful—dary.