Life is tough. As we grow up, we watch our lives and those of our friends change. Not always for the better. The people who were our closest friends when we were in our 20s disappear as their lives take them to new cities or the suburbs to raise their kids. If we are very lucky, we keep a few of those friends and they become the bedrock of our lives. Ted Mosby is very lucky.
Not only does he keep his closest friends around well into adulthood, but we learned last night that he has not had one great love. He has two. For a show titled what it was, was Tracy (we finally learn The Mother’s name) simply a MacGuffin? For nine years and over two hundred episodes, we have been waiting for Ted to meet the mother, only to have her not be the end of the story.
What is now crystal clear is that writers intended for Ted and Robin to end up together from the start. Lyndsy Fonseca and David Henrie, who play the kids, filmed that final sequence years ago and both are now far too old to successfully film another.
The foreshadowing of the end was not subtle, especially in this last season. Ted found the locket; Robin knew he did and very nearly called off her wedding. If you didn’t see Tracy’s death coming, you weren’t paying attention. There were a myriad of other clues, too numerous to list here.
It is possible to be completely pissed off about the end. Many other reviewers and Tweeters are. To be fair, I was not entirely happy with it the first time through the episode. The more I thought about it, and as I watched the episode again, I changed my mind. Like life, it is messy and, therefore, somehow real.
Finally, however, what made this episode work was not the woman with whom Ted will grow old. It was the moments of heart, the moments that these five (six?) people we have come to care so much about share as their lives unfold.
Lily and Marshall are one of the most realistic couples ever written for television. Their marriage is not perfect, but they are committed to it and to each other. Throughout all the shenanigans of the past nine years, they have been the steadying influence, the anchor, for the entire group. Lily, especially, is the one who almost always gets it.
And, she did here. It is she who understands that this time will be different for Ted. It is she who understands that Barney and Robin’s divorce will change everything.
Barney and Robin’s break-up was hard to watch; I wanted them to live happily ever after. Putting aside the fact that the plot required them to fall apart, the aftermath was honest and true. Both regressed to where they had been before they married. Barney created a second Playbook; Robin became emotionally distant even from those she loves the most. Until, of course, life catches up.
I cringed when Barney announced that he had gotten number 31 pregnant. Although, if we think about it, it’s astonishing it hasn’t happened until now. But, happened it has and Barney treats it as he does everything else he doesn’t want to think about. Until he meets his daughter and truly falls in love for the first time in his life. For me, the scene where he expresses his love to that gorgeous little bundle was the highlight of the episode. It’s the one scene that made me cry the third time through the episode.
For the ultimate romantic, it seems ironic that Ted and Tracy were together for seven years before they got married. The point, I believe, is that Ted learned that marriage was not the endgame; the relationship is, even though the road is long and difficult.
Long and difficult it is. Friends and spouses come and go, some by choice, some not. Best of all, sometimes it is the kids in our lives, those just starting out on the long and difficult road, who have the clear vision of what is right, or at least what is right, right now.
This was not the perfect finale, but it worked for me. So, goodbye Ted, Marshall, Lily, Robin, and especially Barney. You will be missed.
Final Words and Thoughts:
Lily: “There’s only one way I’d let either of you have sex with her… The only way you’re allowed to hook up with her is if you marry her.”
The goodbye at the wedding, complete with the ET goodbye, made me laugh as the tears flowed.
Ted: “Lady, it’s been a really long weekend.”
Marshall: “My boss only called me three words that meant vagina today.”
Yea for the final appearance of the cock-a-mouse.
Robin: “Do you know who the gang is to me, Lily? Here’s what the gang is: the gang is a married couple who I never see anymore about to have their third kid; it’s my ex-husband, hitting on slutty cops right in front of me; and it’s the guy I probably should have ended up with with the beautiful mother of his child.”
Judge Fudge and Fudge Supreme.
Barney: “Can I please just be me?”
Barney: “Shots? Before lunch on a Thursday? It’s like you’re trying to make bad decisions.”
Ted: “And that, kids, is how I met your mother.”
The end credits were wonderful. How young did they all look nine years ago?
ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.