I am going to take this time to not to talk about superheroes, but something else that is very dear to my heart: How I Met Your Mother. If you have not watched the Season 9 Finale, DO NOT READ THIS!!!! This is going to be filled with so many spoilers it will ruin it! With that said…I want to talk about the controversial end to one of my favorite, if not my most favorite, television show.So much happened in the series finale, I feel like I should split this post into the key, main things that occurred.
Barney & Robin:
The entire 9th season we spent leading up to the wedding of Barney and Robin, and it was a very good season with a lot of laughs and great memories. However, in the first part of the one hour series finale, Barney and Robin get divorced, something that frustrated many fans on Monday. People commented on this event in the show, expressing their frustration, that if you really love someone you work through it, you just don’t give up and take the easy way out. And I would agree, but that is not real life. To think that people just work through their problems and do not get divorced is naive!! I would love to live in a world where divorces don’t occur, but they do!! Sometimes couples that we think are amazing just don’t work, they fall apart, they want different things, they may have even realize that they made a mistake and no longer wish to be married. Yes, Barney and Robin loved one another, but they were unhappy in the relationship, thus it makes sense why they would get a divorce. We had seen the entire 9th season leading to this event, to Robin and Barney ending their marriage. They were both lone wolfs, doing what they needed or wanted to do and not involving the other. We had even seen their relationship in the 5th season, and it ended horribly! They were both unhappy then and in 2016. While I am 110% for Swarkles (Swarley and Sparkles) I understand why they would end their marriage.
You also have to think, this show has an underlying tone of realism, of real life. Yes they joke around and laugh and make fun of each other, but there are moments that are sad and heartbreaking. Some examples?! Marshall’s Dad dying, Ted being left at the altar, Robin finding out she can never have kids, Barney confronting his father who abandoned him, Lily wanting to leave in the middle of the night and not be a mother anymore, and the divorce. All of these are sad and hard to swallow, but they are real life and they are what made this show so good. We knew these characters, they are our friends, our family, our neighbors. We knew them because these things have happened to them, they may have even happened to you. That is what made this show so great.
Thus, with the marriage over, Barney was again single. And this made people even more upset than the divorce. A friend of mine commented on Facebook, “Why? The finale was a complete character regression and rejection of canon developments!” And I can see why she would be frustrated. Barney goes back to banging chicks, pulling off plays, and almost pretends as though he was never married. But if you think it, that is all Barney knows. When we first met him, he was a playboy bachelor who was going to be awesome and having a ton of sex until he was 80. Yes, he did regress to who he was before, but this time it was different. Rather than just having meaningless sex with woman because he was awesome and wanted to add to his list (or in his case scrapbook), he used this meaningless sex to move on from his divorce.
He was hurting and this was the only way he knew how to move on. We have seen him do things like this before. When he and Robin broke up the first time, Barney was back in the game that very night. In previous break ups, he would have the gang to smack him over the head and tell him how much of an idiot he was. He would give a long winded speech about how he was too awesome for that, but deep down, we knew that they had gotten through to him, if only a little. This time, with everyone moving on with their lives and he had no one to help him through the divorce. He had to figure it out on his own, more or less, and he did it the only way he knew how.
It wasn’t until the birth of his daughter that he realized what he wanted to make him happy. With when we first met Barney, nine years ago, he was the bachelor, playboy who was never going to get married. When he was with Quinn, they almost had that happily ever after, but neither of them trusted one another. He almost ruined his relationship with Robin because of that very thing, but promised to be honest with her (after telling a butt load of lies!!) The point is, he grew as a person with each relationship, but he wasn’t willing to give everything that we was to any of them, until Ella. For the first time in his life he had something that meant more to him than money or woman or even suits. He had the most beautiful girl that he could hold in his hands. So while Barney did regress as a character, it needed to happen if he was going to progress as a father.
First of all, I love, love, love Cristin Milioti as well as Tracy McConnell. She is awesome! She was the character that each member of the gang needed at their lowest points during Season 9. She was funny, witty, and super cute. She really was the perfect girl for Ted, and we saw that perfection between the two of them. But I have seen something in other reviews, opinions, comments that makes me shake my head a little. People are saying that they “killed off” the mother, that we spend nine years only to learn that she was dead! And I am going to come back to the same thing I said earlier…How I Met Your Mother is a show based in reality and in real life, spouses die! It sucks, I know, but it happens!! To wish that life could be this perfect place in which nothing goes wrong and everyone lives happily ever after is not real!! Life isn’t Disney.
That being said, we got a sense from earlier episodes that Tracy was going to die. During “The Time Traveler”, when Ted rushes to her apartment and expresses his love for her and how he wishes he could have those extra 45 days with her was the first indication of her fate. The second indication we get is when Robin’s mom shows up for the wedding. Tracy says, “well of course she was going to show up, what kind of mother would miss her daughter’s wedding?” Ted gets a somber expression upon his face. And as the shot pans out, the song playing in the background is “If You See Her, Say Hello” by Bob Dylan. The writers did not just throw this idea upon us at the last minute. They have been building to it for a while. I agree, it does suck that she dies, but Ted got 11 wonderful years with her. They had two beautiful children together, and for the first time in his life, he had the real thing. While 11 years is not long enough, those were some of the best 11 years of his life.
Robin and Ted:
This is the thing that I think got most people upset. The common consensus of those who disliked this ending said that Ted moved on to quickly, that they killed off the mother so he could end up with Robin. Someone even said that the show should have been called “How I Met Your Step-mother.” And I get why people would be upset, I really do. But, Ted waited the appropriate time to do anything (half the time of the relationship: 6 years) and was even hesitant about it initially. We had seen Tracy give Ted permission to move on with his life in Vesuvius when she said, “I just don’t want you to be the guy who lives in his stories.” She knew she only had a select amount of time left and didn’t want him to spend the rest of his life mourning her death. As for telling his kids this story, he was, in a way, asking for their permission.
And with Ted’s grand, romantic gesture, with the blue French horn, have come to two separate scenarios that could occur. The first is that Robin and Ted end up together, but never get married. The reason they failed the first time was because they wanted different things. Robin wanted to travel the world, Ted wanted to have kids. They both were able to get that and could now live their lives, happy to be with each other. The second scenario, the one I like the best, is that this launches Ted back into dating in hopes of finding someone as amazing as Tracy. I mean, this exact motif is how Season 1 of How I Met Your Mother began. Either way, what the show was attempting to demonstrate to us, with Ted’s gesture, is that life goes on and you have to keep on living it, even if heartbreak hits you hard.
Things I Would Have Changed:
While I loved everything that the cast, crew, writers, and anyone else involved in the making of HIMYM, there are a few things I would have liked to see changed. The first is the name of Marshall and Lily’s third child. We never get to know that and I wish we did. We also never learn what happened to Marshall and Lily. Do they move to Queens or what?! The second, I wish they would have slowed down the finale. We went through almost 20 years of events in the span of an hour, and because there was so much information to get through we didn’t get enough time to be excited or mourn, or wonder, or even reminisce about the past 9 years. While I loved everything that Craig and Carter gave us, I wasn’t able to let it all in because as soon as I did, we had moved on to the next thing. The third and final thing I would have changed is the kids’ reaction at the end. They kind of sounded douche, like, “Mom has been gone for six years. You and Aunt Robin are awesome together, just go for it.” It seemed as though they didn’t have much respect for the death of their mother. How I would have liked to see it would have been something along the lines of, “Dad, Mom has been gone for six years. We know you loved her, but she would have wanted you to be happy and keep on living your life. We know and she knows that you still love her and you going after Aunt Robin doesn’t mean that will change.” Small things that I would have changed, nothing super major.
Why Does How I Met Your Mother Matter?
If there is something that Ted has taught is over the past nine years, that all of the characters of How I Met Your Mother has taught us, is that life can be hard, it will often kick you down and try to keep you there. But you cannot give up. With friends by your side you can make it through anything. They can help you laugh, they can help you through tough times when you mourn. They can make fun of you, sometimes when you don’t want it, but in the end you know they love you. More than not, your closest friends become your family and those are the people who make everything in ones life special. As Barney Stinson said, “It isn’t legendary unless your friends are there to see it.”
What I want to leave you with:
I figure I should leave with not my words, but the words of Ted Mosby himself. Thank you How I Met Your Mother for the past nine amazing years. Thank you for the laughs, the tears, and the slaps. It has been an amazing journey that I would not have traded for the world.