While we could have all probably wrote our own entire articles on the finale, we thought it’d be more fun to roundtable it and see some different thoughts. So here are our thoughts about the How I Met Your Mother Finale.
What were your immediate feelings after watching the finale?
Brian: “Why?” was my immediate thought after the finale. It just seemed all very forced.
Alex: “No.” I felt sad it was over and even sadder that things went the way they did. Many things had shocked and appalled me throughout the finale, with a very few memorable laughs, but I had been overwhelmed and by the time we got to the end, I wasn’t sure how to process what had just happened and was hoping it was an April Fool’s Day joke.
What did you like about the finale?
Brian: The first conversation at the train station between Ted and Tracy is absolutely amazing. The way that dialogue is written is amazing. It really captures what we thought the show was about all along, and it gave you a really warm feeling that Ted was finally going to be ok. It showed Lily was right because she said Tracy was different. It made a point that the girl Barney tried to wingman Ted for was actually the right girl. She was the girl that got Ted off of Robin and Marshall finally got to see his best friend find love like he had with Lily. The dialogue of that conversation and the way it is put together is really really special and significant to the rest of the series.
Erin: I loved finally seeing the mom (Tracy) interact with Ted and the rest of the gang. The humor and chemistry between all of them was so spot on and felt like classic HIMYM episodes. The mom was clearly “the one” Ted was meant to be with, and it was fulfilling to see her finally in her full role. After 9 years, we finally got to where Ted’s long journey reached its happy ending, through all the ups and downs as he said, and that was awesome. The finale had the right humor and character notes that we expect by now, so most of the scenes and moments in the finale felt right.
Alex: I was happy that everything Ted was looking for is what he found in Tracy. I was a bit overwhelmed with the lack of laughs and seeing the gravity of the time jumps rushed at the end. However, seeing Ted finally finding someone to perfectly compliment him like Tracy was worth the wait. I was also very happy to see Barney’s complete transformation, from the Player King of New York City to a father who opposes his old lifestyle.
What did you feel like was the biggest problem with the ending?
Brian: My biggest problem with the ending is that it is an ending that has a plot twist meant for movies. Not for a show that has gone on 9 seasons. And while you might think things are resolved, they really aren’t. This show essentially turned out to be Definitely, Maybe stretched out over 9 seasons. Which is really really fucking ridiculous when you think about it. For example, what happens to Barney now? I understand that he matured because he had a daughter, and that’s awesome, but you’re going to tell me he’s going to be perfectly fine with his ex-wife dating his best friend AGAIN? What makes this time different for Ted and Robin aside from the fact that they’re 50+?
The writers broke their own rules and that bothers me. The writers worked so hard on misdirecting you to make it clear that Robin was not the mother, but you fall in love with Tracy so fast over the course of a season that it makes you angry that she’s written out with no emotion really. Her death scene is all of like 2 minutes. You don’t get to see them get married either. Its not fair to build up for 8 seasons and not get to see things really develop. I know this ending was written in season 2, and had it been the ending after say season 3 or 4, it would have been absolutely acceptable. After 9 seasons though? I feel like it just isn’t fair to fans to build up a character like Tracy, have her live up to the hype behind her and just take her away like that.
Tracy is dead for 6 years, and the kids show no emotion about it at all. That disturbs me because I want to think that she was such a great character that because she died it would ripple for a long time, but it really doesn’t. There isn’t really any emotional closure on it, it just happens.
Erin: Obviously the biggest issue with this whole story and journey is the re-re-re-re-re-return to Robin. Very similar to Brian, my problem is that the mom basically got shortchanged. Here is this woman that the creators have been building up for years, making us anticipate her and like her more and more after each season, and then we get less than an hour of her life with Ted et al. and then she passes away and then Ted and his kids are ready to move on. For me, it’s just hard to emotionally understand the ending of the show, a show that is more or less a realistic interpretation of life and life’s journeys. Structurally, I think there’s an issue with everything they tried to cram into one 1-hour finale. There was a lot of emotional swings that went on this episode, and I feel like we were robbed of spending enough time on each of them. For a show that is titled after the mother and makes us care so much about her, I just have trouble with the forced twist of getting Ted and Robin back together. At the end I just found myself questioning, was Ted really stuck on Robin this whole time, does the mother even matter to him as much as Robin does, etc. Season 9 has just been so inconsequential, and I just wish they did more to spread out the events of this finale throughout the rest of the season, because maybe then these emotional twists and turns would have felt more understandable and less “wtf”.
Alex: I feel the fans were cheated out of getting to know the mother, the ends of the rest of the gang, and out of the chase.
Tracy was perfect for Ted and hit so well with the whole gang before getting to know Ted. However, they aren’t there when she passes. The mother had a lot of potential but it’s a shame how she ended up going out and I wish there was some happiness for her in the end. Brian brings up a good point that the kids weren’t even hurt. It would seem upsetting that the kids sat through this story only to be betrayed by how little he talks about the mother.
Marshall is a judge in the end and Lily is sad the group is breaking. Barney does the 180, but how does his story end? The 3 outside of Ted and Robin are treated as side characters and I wish the ending hadn’t been such a rushed hour of fast forwards so that someone could stop and breathe to see what was going on. Sure, Neil Patrick Harris stole the show with his moment of clarity as Barney devoted his life for his little girl, but we don’t get to share that moment since we’re still eagerly awaiting the momentous meeting of Ted and the mother, and only to be betrayed at the end.
Ted has been the hopeless romantic since the very beginning. Maybe it was a sobering realization that nothing ends the way we want to, but for the writers to establish a character so deeply invested in love and to not only lose it pained me to watch. Throughout the series, we know Ted is in search of something and for him to have found it in Tracy, consequently his getting over the relationship with Robin in search of the mother, and then returning to Robin in the end feels like all of Ted’s whining, gestures, and speeches were for naught.
What is your version of the perfect ending?
Brian: Ending after the first conversation between Ted and Tracy.
Erin: “Perfect” is subjective, but I would have appreciated an ending where the mom is the focus and her passing away is the final emotional note that we get to linger on.
Alex: I agree with Brian, but beforehand, I felt the show was about How I Met Your Mother, not How I Ended Up With Your Step-Mother. In retrospect, I felt the journey was going to outweigh the finale in the end and with that in mind, the taking of the photo of the gang at McClaren’s should have proceeded Ted and Tracy meeting. Marshall said a lot of stuff happened at the bar to the young kids and it’s difficult to capture that in a few simple words. However, the photo taken there in comparison to the photo in the opening credits would’ve been a great way to end the era of going to McClaren’s. Also, I wish we would’ve had Bob Saget step out and be congratulated or acknowledged like the 5 main cast members, since it was his memory and narration that allowed the previous 9 seasons to be as memorable as they were.
Additional thoughts? Loose ends you’re curious about?
Brian: The fans are Turk, and the writers are The Todd.
Erin: It would have been awesome if Robin ended up with Alan Thicke. I also want to know about Barney’s perfect month, like were all the girls at least 7’s, or did he have to go for some 5’s?
Alex: As I said, I think every character should have had their ending, or simply extended the finale. I also took offense to the whole season being committed to a wedding weekend for a marriage that lasted approximately 3 years, versus Marshall’s wedding taking up maybe 2 episodes, and Ted’s wedding that last all of 2 minutes. The show took some time a few episodes back to end the stories of many side characters which felt cohesive, in line with the canon, and heartwarming along with funny. I only wish the same care went into the endgame.
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