I haven’t written any reviews in quite a few months, but the How I Met Your Mother finale left me with the urge to pick back up that blue french horn. Obviously, the following contains some major spoilers from the series finale.
When HIMYM was renewed for an eighth season, I was bummed that it was being dragged out even longer. When it was renewed for a ninth season, I was almost furious that another good show was being kept on life support solely because of its ratings/profitability/what have you (see Scrubs, House, and Dexter, just to name a few more examples). When it was announced that the entire last season would take place at Barney and Robin’s wedding, I was intrigued how the writers would pull it off without doing to the season what happened to the series. But of course, with the use of flashbacks, flashforwards, and some crazy antics involving former child actors, they somehow got through twenty-four episodes, ending with one of the more satisfying sitcom finales in recent memory.
Most sitcoms go for the happily-ever-after BS that makes me not want to watch sitcoms in the first place. But when a “sitcom” pulls at your heartstrings while simultaneously making you laugh (Scrubs, Parks and Recreation, and The Office – well, sometimes – just to name a few of those while I’m at it), it tells me that I’m going to care about these characters just as much as they care about each other. How I Met Your Mother had always had the typical will they/won’t they love triangle that most sitcoms are based around these days, but it produced in a way that it actually made me care about characters that were more than one-dimensional cliches.
When the rumors and evidence started popping up online that the mother would be dead the whole time, I was torn. It’s not that I didn’t necessarily want the facts spoiled for me, but I knew that if it were true (it was), I wouldn’t want the feeling spoiled for me. We got more than three quarters of the way through the hour long finale seeing plenty of scenes including the mother, so I was actually kind of surprised when Ted mentions that she (Tracy – her name was Tracy) gets sick. Ted’s been telling this story to his kids for what must feel like an eternity to them, but they’re too smart to know that the story of how Ted met their mother isn’t about their mother. It’s about Robin. It’s always been about Robin. They know it. Ted knows it – even if he’s too afraid to admit it at first. The kids even want him to move on. It’s been six years, after all. They tell him to call her and ask her out, but luckily she doesn’t answer and he hangs up. That’s not the way it should happen. It can’t happen that way. Not with Ted. It has to be fate. It has to happen the way it’s supposed to happen.
The fact that Ted returned with the blue french horn is proof enough that he and Robin were never truly over. Between it, their verbal military salutes (however you want to call them), and the locket, there have been so many symbols that stuck around or came back again that prove they would always end up together, and that’s why it’s so gripping seeing Ted stand below Robin’s window holding it while she and her dogs peak out. They smile at each other, knowing this isn’t the end of an era, but the beginning of something greater. We cut to the title card, and the audience knows it, too. Commence an emotional slideshow of the cast in the early days set to The Walkmen’s “Heaven.” That song selection speaks for itself, both in lyric and emotion. “Our children will always hear romantic tales of distant years,” is the first line of the song and also probably how Carter Bays and Craig Thomas pitched the series in the first place. The chorus rings out, “Remember, remember/All we fight for,” which describes Ted’s motivation from the beginning. Never stop fighting, never give up on what you know to be true. Who can blame you for that? Just because Ted has experienced loss doesn’t mean that everything ends. Just look at How I Met Your Dad.