This morning, after a jaw-dropping/breath-stopping/tear-inducing series finale of one of my favorite shows, I awoke with the same mixed feelings as I had gone to bed with. Did they really just end HIMYM like that? Is that all we get? Part of me likes the way the series ended, after all, Ted does end up with the love of his life, and isn’t that what the story was all about? But there’s another part of me that feels cheated by the whole thing. With the exception of Marshall’s becoming a judge, everything that I thought I knew about the show, everything that I was made to believe about its characters, turned out to anything other than what I had expected. Okay, maybe that was a slight exaggeration on my part, but only a slight one.
For me, there were three major shocks ( disappointments?) and a bunch of little ones, the first major one being that Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) end up divorcing after three years of marriage. We all knew that Robin would eventually become a big-time reporter, and for the past few seasons we all knew that Barney and Robin were going to get married (this last season was devoted completely to it!), but from the way the story had been going it seemed like Robin was the only woman who could make Barney want to be a better man. In his wedding vows, he promised never to lie to her – knowing Barney’s character that could have been the most important thing that he ever said on the show…until he ended up slipping back into his old womanizing ways (post-divorce), having a “perfect month,” and becoming a father. Yes, Barney becomes a father, and it takes the first time that he holds his daughter for him to really commit to someone. Looking back, one would never have thought that his is how Barney would have ended up, but he did always secretly love babies, and he slept with enough women to make you think why hasn’t this happened yet, so I guess it wasn’t that far-fetched. Robin, on the other hand, distances herself from the gang, missing important milestones, and throws herself into her work. I was team Robin and Barney all the way, so for their story to end this way makes me a little sad, but, as I said before, it was one of three shocks for me.
The second major shock – and perhaps the most controversial – is that the mother dies. She dies. In fact, from the very first time that we see future Ted (Josh Radner) sit his children down to tell them the story of how he met their mother, she was already dead. For. Six. Years. That’s right. We see little glimpses of their life together, finding out that, even though Ted does propose to the mother (Christin Milioti), it takes seven years and two kids before they walk down the aisle. They really are perfect together, right down to their meeting under that yellow umbrella at the Far Hampton train station – the one that we had all been waiting nine years to witness, and it was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be…but she dies. As soon as I saw the scene with her in a hospital bed, and future Ted talking about her illness (we never find out what exactly was wrong with her), I knew that she was not the one that Ted ends up with. This is where the part of me that feels cheated comes in, because the whole series is about Ted’s journey to find the perfect woman, the mother of his children, the person he will grow old with. We waited so long to see it happen – knowing that it would happen – and then it does, but in the blink of an eye it’s gone, and that kinda broke my heart a little bit.
The third major shock is that Ted and Robin end up together. In the final moments of the show, Ted shows up at Robin’s place with the blue French horn (its back!), and while I wasn’t too keen on the Ted and Robin storyline (I am team Robin and Barney), I did love the idea of bringing the blue French horn back – it was a fitting way for them to get back together. We all know that throughout the series, Ted has struggled on-and-off with his feelings for Robin, but she didn’t always feel the same way back, so it was never in my head that they would end up together and felt a little like a cop-out, especially since the writers had known that this was going to be the outcome all along.
I think Emil Yahr said it best. In her blog for the Washington Post in regards to the HIMYM finale, she writes that “it’s not really about the destination, it’s the journey to get there.” And perhaps she is right. This was not the long awaited ending that fans were looking for, but maybe it could in fact be the best one after all.
Final thought, I really like the title of the episode, “Last Forever.” I could write an entire blog on it, because really, it could be applied to each of the characters individually, but in the matter of Ted, Robin did turn out to be his “last forever.”