Column by Ned Leebrick-Stryker
I “suited up” with a few residents of Stalnaker to watch the hour-long finale.
The last cold open we knew we’d ever see from the comedy flashed onto the television and the room fell silent.
Finally, as the credits rolled to show us just how each character had changed since the first season, everyone in our viewing room looked around at each other puzzled.
Did we hate what we just watched? Did we love it?
I wondered if anything with the character of the mother, whom we now know is named Tracy, really mattered.
For nine seasons, we had been convinced about the endgame for the series. Ted meeting the Mother was the light at the end of the tunnel. Ted’s character had been through the ringer from being rejected by Robin on more than one occasion to being left at the alter. Ted had essentially given up on love at the end of the series. His character once talked about destiny and fate, but it looked like his faith in the extraordinary had disappeared. I imagined the mother would rekindle those beliefs and bring him full circle, back to the glass half full, commitment ready guy we knew back in season one.
But in a surprising move (even with all the accurate fan theories) the character we had been prepared to see our protagonist be saved by, quickly dies.
Instead, we discover the story that Ted has been telling his children was about Robin. It’s always been about Robin.
Speaking of Robin, her divorce with Barney initially made me scratch my head. There had been years of character development with those two, watching them grow and change into human beings ready for commitment. All of that went away incredibly fast.
The only ending I was satisfied with was Marshal and Lily’s. They have always been a strong couple and they got the ending we knew they would get. They deserved it.
If I had known that Ted and Robin were going to eventually end up together, would I ultimately be more satisfied with the show? I think the answer is an obvious yes.
Look at the characters again. You have Barney, a complete sociopath. He grows as a character throughout the series, but if you think about it, there was no way a marriage was going to last with him.
What really changed Barney was the accidental birth of his child. What was all games before suddenly became very real.
Robin became ready for commitment with Barney, but if you look at the series, the signs were there the whole time: Ted was the right guy for her.
In fact, throughout the ninth season she blatantly says it a few times. Ted cared for her, and always did. Whether it be getting Robin her locket or selflessly bringing her to the building she’d get proposed to on.
Ted regained his faith in love and destiny when he met the mother, but also learned the hard truth about life, when the mother passed away. Was this supposed to reflect how life really is? Not a fairy tale? Are there not supposed to be truly happy endings?
Chances are “How I Met Your Mother’s” finale will be incredibly polarizing to fans for years. Just like every finale of a loved television show, not everyone can get exactly what they want.
Come to think of it, no television show before has really allowed us to witness a constantly evolving cast, like HIMYM did.
Think about that before you go to the message boards on CBS.com to complain. It’s been quite the ride.
Leebrick-Stryker is a first-year broadcast news major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org