So I watched the How I Met Your Mother finale on Monday night. As I expected, I’m melancholy because it’s over. You know how when you’re really into a book or a series, you have post-book/series ennui because a part of your mind (and let’s face it, part of your heart) is still in the book’s world? I feel like that, only a bit deeper, partly because it was a part of my life for nine years, but mostly because I’m not quite square with the ending.
As I suspected, the Mother is dead at the end. I’m actually quite okay with this, because the mother being dead helps the framed structure makes sense. (If the mom’s not dead, then why would the kids sit and listen to this whole story? Wouldn’t they get up, go to the living room, and have mom cut to the chase?) What I’m not okay with is having Ted basically end up with Robin in the end. The whole premise–indeed, the promise–of the show is how Ted met his true love and got married and all that. The ending implies that Robin is really Ted’s true love, which makes the Mother sort of an afterthought. I wonder if Ted and Tracy waited so long to get married because deep down inside, Ted knew Tracy wasn’t the one he wanted? Also, I don’t like that Ted went sniffing after Robin again. As the last scene played out, in wanted to yell at the TV: “Don’t go back to her! You know she’s just going to stomp your heart again!” I feel like the writers wanted to make this a happily-ever-after ending, and that’s not how I saw it at all. I’d much rather the Mother just be dead and Ted be … not miserable, but okay with being alone.
I don’t like how the writers handled Barney in the finale. After he and Robin divorced, I don’t think he would have reverted to his rogueish ways. A serial monogamist, maybe, or even a loner, but not who he was before. I hate that the mother of Barney’s child is only known as “number 31.” Having said that, Neil Patrick Harris absolutely *killed* the scene where he meets his daughter for the first time.
The performances were great overall, but I particularly enjoyed the scene where Robin basically breaks up with Lily while she’s wearing a white whale Halloween costume. That Alyson Hannigan pulled off such a dramatic scene while dressed in such a ridiculous get-up speaks to her acting ability.
I read a recap online that suggested the finale would have worked better as a half season, and I agree. There was enough flash-forwarded story in the finale to fill several episodes, which would have made all their future arcs more satisfying.
Having said all that, HIMYM is still my favorite show, probably of all time. I loved the characters and its unique storytelling structure. I’ll miss having the characters around. Its existance enhanced my life … and, well, that can only be said of the very best fiction, regardless of medium.