Warning: This post contains spoilers. Although by now most of you have probably seen the finale. Just being courteous here.
A mysterious illness, the return of the blue French horn, babies, moving, and more babies- the final episode of How I Met Your Mother attempted to reach through time to show audiences where our beloved characters went beyond that fateful meeting on the train station, while simultaneously catering to the “team mom” and “team Robin” fans.
My issues with this finale began long before Ted delivers the blue French horn to Robin’s apartment, and I’m disappointed the writers of HIMYM didn’t explore other options to wrap up their show.
Time: The show didn’t just play scenes across various time frames; they played scenes in a new time frame just about every scene. Coupling this with the wide range of characterization they attempt leaves very little time for set up, causing a disconnect for the audience. In 9 seasons, we watch Barney slowly grow beyond his womanizing ways, developing into a man capable of love and commitment. Yet in one episode we watch him yo-yo completely back to his roots, then completely back to “tame” Barney because of an accidental pregnancy. While this did produce a laugh with his “Happy Not A Father’s Day” holiday, it squashed what we knew about this character. Same goes for Robin. In 9 seasons she learns she doesn’t love Ted in a romantic way and wants a different life. Robin is strong, independent , and not one to pine. Yet suddenly she’s pining over Ted, avoiding her friends, and moping. This is not the Robin we know, and this Robin was underdeveloped. If the show had picked several specific times, making a progression of development the audience could connect with, the finale would have had more success.
The Mother Of It All: So why, now that she’s part of the gang, is the mother hardly present or speaking? We want to see her with the group, how she clicks with everyone together, and her life with Ted. That’s what the show spent nine seasons building up to. So where is the mother? And why does she get one quick clip devoted to her mysterious death? Where is the set up and dramatization?
The Divorce: I don’t buy it. Barney is an easy going free spirit, as is Robin. Both are independent and don’t need to constantly be around their significant other. That’s precisely why they worked! So they divorce because Robin travels for her job? No. Just…no. Pick a different reason if they must be split.
Ted and Robin: So essentially, the premise of the show (Ted telling his kids how he met their mother) was just a hook to tell us the story of Ted and Robin. That’s a bummer. We barely get to know the mom, but what we do learn is that she’s awesome and perfect for Ted, but then she’s killed off! But why oh why after Ted finds true love and happiness and has a family with this woman would he want to have anything with Robin? He’s a hopeless romantic, and he got to experience all that romance with his wife. After two kids, long marriage, and an illness, I don’t find him suddenly carrying a torch again for Robin. And Robin, who knew for certain she didn’t want Ted and has no time for anyone, suddenly has time for five dogs and Ted now? Why did we watch them not work for 9 seasons, get excited for him to meet Tracy and have his life with her only to watch him end back up with Robin?
I’m not one to gripe, especially without providing solutions. I think it’s great to take characters to new places, just don’t take them back where you started, and the somewhere else. It would have been cool for Robin and Barney to travel and meet some orphaned kid (maybe age 12) along the way, fall in love with said kid and adopt him or her (maybe a her to go with the Barney-daughter story line?). I know Ted previously states that Robin was never a mom. And that could still be true. She doesn’t consider herself the child’s mother, but someone important in said child’s life. I understand a child story line is a way to mature Barney. This would have been stronger if they hadn’t reverted Barney back to his womanizing ways, but progressed him further from what he had already become. Just a suggestion.
As for the mother, if they were wanting to do a twist, she could still be dead. Or sick and dying, letting the audience decide if she makes it or not. In any case, this story line doesn’t work because she’s barely in the story. I don’t feel sad they kill her off. I’m angry. I hardly got to know her and they yank her away again. More scenes with her and her family would’ve added a more emotional pull.
Which brings me to my last point. HIMYM is a comedy, not a drama. Yes, over time they have added emotional components, allowing us to laugh and cry, which is always best. But at its core, this show is a comedy. So to end on a tragic note goes against its genre. Bittersweet is fine, but death is difficult to make bittersweet. I get the Robin factor was supposed to make it so, but since they spent 9 seasons convincing us he didn’t belong with Robin, it only evoked anger.
If the show had provided more time with Tracy and somehow convinced us Ted should be with Robin now, I could get on board. But the finale didn’t play out this way, and the plot points felt out there. I don’t need a happily ever after ending, but I do need one that makes sense. Sadly, this didn’t make sense. I get what the finale was attempting. I do. But it wasn’t executed properly. Thank goodness for stellar acting.
I’ll keep watching the legen-wait-for-it-dary episodes in seasons 1-9 minus the finale and pretend that nonsense never happened. Zahmbie out!