All the feels: Why I feel personally let down by the HIMYM finale
**SPOILERS AHEAD. Do not read if you have not seen the series finale.**
Let me start by saying that I will still love this show for a long time, and that if it’s on TBS or the CW or any other channel in syndication, I’m sure I’ll flip it on because it feels familiar and comforting.
That is unless I see it’s the series finale, in which case I’ll just smash my TV and be done with it.
The March 31 series finale of How I Met Your Mother had, well, a mother of a legacy to uphold after 9 long seasons of hilarity, friendship, heartbreak, slaps, and ingenious gags. Big, huge expectations to uphold. So why then, was the finale so un-HIMYM? So terribly NOT the series finale we wanted, much less needed?
The episode starts off harmless enough, with Ted trying to jet away from the wedding, one last ditch attempt to escape everything that’s broken his heart in NY. After a teary and heartfelt goodbye to the gang (good moment #1), Ted is stuck waiting at the Farhampton bus stop. When an adorable twist of fate puts the Mother, heretofore referenced as her NAME Tracy, right there with him, we finally get the meet we have been waiting NINE YEARS for. It was cute, so stinkin’ cute, and it gave me all the fuzzies (good moment #2).
It was then that everything started to disintegrate. The years go whirling by, first 2015, 2016, 2018, 2020, and so on. Speeding through the future was a conceit I predicted (as was the OTHER huge thing that happened in this finale, but more on that later), and for the most part, that trope for a series finale is fine (though no one will top Six Feet Under's future-summary. EVER.)
When I first started to feel gypped though, was when Robin started to fall out of the picture, and then ultimately when she and Barney announced they had gotten a divorce. It was so abrupt, so stingingly painful; I thought it was surely in jest.
The show had gone out of its way to convince us that Barney and Robin belonged together, that two people who had sworn off traditional love and had kept their emotional cards close to the vest their whole lives finally succumbed to true love and were going to make it work. And I believed it! They did work together, they did belong. It made sense. Barney and Robin were going to be together forever, and that was that.
And in doing so, it cemented the notion that after nine long years, Ted and Robin were officially no longer on the table. Ted was destined to find his one and only, his soulmate, his mother, and it would NOT be Robin. I never wanted Ted and Robin to end up together. I had grown accustomed to that idea, and I liked it. Everyone has that one person who they could have ended up with but didn’t for various reasons, the one they’ll think about from time to time, for a long time. But it felt right that Ted was going to end up with someone else, someone new that he met and fell in love with the old fashioned way, just the way he had always wanted.
So to fast-forward through the years, only to see Marshall unhappy about his job, he and Lily welcoming a third child and deciding to move out of their apartment, Barney revert to his old ways and HAVE A KID WITH SOME RANDO (more on that later), and Robin disappear even more while her fame was on the rise, it just felt rude. How dare the show throw away all the strides they had made to show Barney grow as a human. He HAD grown, hadn’t he? He and Robin had grown together and the show went above and beyond to make sure we knew that. So to see all of that get thrown right out the window was downright insulting. But we’re supposed to believe that the big moment we should care about for Barney was that he has a kid with some random chick? That also felt like we (and Barney) were being cheated with a quick-fix. I am not having it.
And then back to Robin and Ted. So. we’re taken (very peripherally) through the big milestones that Ted and Tracy go through together—two kids, 7 years of being together—only to see they haven’t gotten married yet. I actually thought that little nugget of their story was nice, but for a second I thought it was going to end with the Mother dying before they could get married and I was like NO NO. Thank god that was not the case.
So the end is nigh, Marshall has gotten the judgeship he has always wanted (good moment #3), Barney has a fucking kid, and it’s finally revealed that yes, the Mother has been dead this entire time, and Ted has been regaling his children with this story because she’s been dead for six years—SIX YEARS!!!!
His kids call him out on his shit, saying this was not the story of how he met their mother, no no no, not at all. This was a story about how he was in love with Robin that whole time and now it’s time he goes and gets her. And the show says yes, yes it was. Of course.
I’m sorry, WHAT?
There are just so, so many problems with that train of thought. Not only does it TOTALLY gyp the mother out of the story of the love of her life and the life she and Ted built together, but it also practically throws the rest of the show out the window, too. In the same way they tried to rewrite the book on Barney in this finale, they do the same with Ted and Robin. After all the strides the show made to ensure that no, they do not end up together because Robin will be happy with Barney and Ted will be happy with Tracy, they just press reset and take us back to square one.
All the progress Ted made to move past Robin, all the broken hearts and empty altars and failed relationships led him to Tracy. That was always how it was going to be. To have the show tell me that after all that he gets dealt the shittiest of shitty cards, loses her, and then decides that really it was Robin all along is literally the most insulting part of the finale for me.
What have we stuck around nine years for? Why did we even root for Barney and Robin for so long? Did no one in this group grow up at all? Why would you cheat us out of the happy endings for everyone we deserved?
How I Met Your Mother, you have hurt me to the core, and I don’t know if I will ever forgive you.