How I Met Your Mother Finale “Cop-Out”

As many may know, the grand finale of How I Met Your Mother aired last night, ending an epic nine year run.  Those nine years were filled with ups and downs, not just in terms of the journeys of the characters but, let’s be honest, in terms of quality too.  So to say I was a little apprehensive about how it would bow out would be a bit of an understatement.  So how did it stack up?

WARNING! Spoilers and possible profanities from here on out.  You have been warned!

I thought season 9 had been a pretty interesting take, a break away from the regular formula by setting it across a single weekend.  The weekend of Barney and Robin’s wedding, all the crazy stuff that went down and then the eventual wedding itself last week.  I thought it had come together quite nicely, it was a nice change of pace and we got to see the mother slowly introduced to us with her first meeting with all of Ted’s friends.  And, for me anyway, the way she came across through all these meetings made her seem like the perfect woman for Ted to end up with.  This wouldn’t be settling for something less, these two were meant to be together.

But not for long.  Don’t worry though, we’ll get back to that shortly.

First off, the episode goes back and forth a little showing Ted’s first meeting with the mother at Farhampton train station while then flipping forward to the events leading up to Ted telling his kids his story.  It jumps to 2015 and we see Ted and the mother planning their wedding along with the news that she is pregnant with their first child.  This was nicely done, the reaction of Ted to this news is the kind of thing we’ve been watching this show for so long for.  We all wanted him to get there, and to be able to take in his reaction was a special moment.

Then we jump another year forward, into 2016, and we have Ted and the mother still unmarried but now with their first child.  We also have Marshall and Lily about to have their third child which, sadly, third time round doesn’t really carry any punch with it.  You’re just left there thinking “ok, good for you two”.  Oh, and we find out Barney and Robin are divorced.  Now, I’ve warned you once, but I’m going to warn you again now, ok?  Ok, language ahead, pretty much from now on.

What the god damn fuck was that, sorry?  Divorced?  So what were we doing all of season nine then?  This was where the episode started to unravel, and where I started to lose interest.  I gathered myself back together sharpish though since I could see this becoming a bit of a train wreck and had a feeling a blog post would be coming out of it.  Anyway, back on track, we have an entire season dedicated to the lead up to Robin’s wedding to Barney, and in the space of 10-15 minutes of the finale they’re divorced?!  It’s just so casually brushed aside by both characters too, with only a slight hint at this not working out in the 2015 flash forward, that the whole thing feels really rushed and empty.  It wasn’t character devolpment, it was a plot point, and that’s not how you do things.  Not if you want them done right anyway.

We have a slight jump forward to Lily and Marshall throwing a halloween party, the last in the legendary apartment since they need more room for the thrid child.  It’s here we see Robin essentially telling Lily that their group of friends is done, she has realised she should have married Ted and that their group will never be the same again, never able to do the things and have the fun they used to.  This was an incredibly emotionally charged scene, mostly down to Alyson Hannigan’s performance, even while pregnant and dressed as a white whale.  Yeah, you read that right.
The white whale costume – Marshall was Captain Ahab

Then we have a brief flash forward to 2018 (and I mean brief) where we have Ted now the father of two kids, Marshall is now a judge (Judge Fudge) and Barney back to his old ways again, saying “if it wasn’t going to work with Robin, it won’t work with anyone”.  Yawn.  I’m sorry, but we’ve seen this all before, we don’t want characters regressing back to old habits in the closing minutes of the series, we want them in excited new situations, taken at least a bit out of their comfort zones.  It’s not amusing to see Barney this way anymore, and considering his age in 2018, it’s a little sad.

Then we bowl over to 2019, and this is where the show almost redeems itself.  The scene begins with the gang (minus Robin still) at a Robots vs Wrestlers evening, with Barney showing up proclaiming his perfect month (31 different girls over 31 days) ruined by the last girl he slept with becoming pregnant.  Then we skip further through the year as the child is born, with it almost making Barney look like he cares until he spouts off a stupid joke I can’t even remember at this point.  Then he meets his child, his baby daughter Ellie, and it instantly changes him.  He realises that this is the girl he will devote his life to, and we end up with a scene that even touched me.  I couldn’t help it, it was one of the most incredible scenes this show has pulled off in it’s entire nine year run and we can thank Neil Patrick Harris for that as much as we can the writers.  He nailed it.

Neil Patrick Harris as Barney in the How I Met Your Mother season finale: 'Last Forever Parts One and Two'
A scene words don’t do justice to, needs to be seen to be truly appreciated

2020 is our next and final stop before 2030, the year Ted is telling his story, and finally after 6 years Ted and the mother are getting married.  It’s rushed, much like a lot of these flashes are, and doesn’t carry the weight or get the attention it deserves, much like the birth of his children earlier on.  There’s another scene in McLarens pub, the last one in the entire series, and all we get is Marshall telling some kids that cool stuff happened there, lots of cool stuff.  I was hoping for a much more poignant scene to come from the final ever showing of the pub, but nope, we got that instead.  Nice one.

Then we jumped to 2030, Ted finally seen talking to his kids.  And this is where the disease ridden shit hits the enormous fan.  The next 10 years of Ted’s life are broken down into about 5 minutes, he tells them it was a long and hard road through those nine years but it was all worth it to find their mother.  He says he knew as soon as he met her that he would “have to love her as much as I can as long as I can”.  “Even through silly little arguments”.  “Even when your mother got sick”.  It cuts to a shot of her in a hospital bed, Ted sat next to her.  It was at this point I involuntarily shouted “No!  Don’t you fucking dare!”

She dies.  God damn idiots.  She spends 4 years married to him before she dies.  Off screen.  No funeral.  No mourning.  Just dead.  Fucking idiots.  I’m getting freshly pissed off just thinking about it and writing about it.

It gets worse though.

Once he’s done, the daughter says something along the lines of “that wasn’t a story about how you met mom, that was a story about how you’re in love with Aunt Robin.  You want to make sure we’re ok with it, it’s been 6 years since mom died, you need to move on.  Call her.”

He doesn’t, he goes round to her apartment with a blue french horn.  Ugh.  This again, right back to square bloody one.  I mean, what was the fucking point?  This is one of the worst cop-outs I’ve ever seen in my life.  I thought that killing the mother was completely unnecessary to move the show along, and it was brushed aside without any pause for thought what-so-ever.  We didn’t get the chance to get to know her properly, and the chemistry between her and Ted was amazing.  But to then send him running back to the woman he was completely incompatible with, the woman who was his complete polar opposite in the worst possible ways for a relationship, and more imprtantly the woman who had already said so many times she didn’t love him anymore, was frankly utter shit.  It’s like the writers desperately wanted something to shock viewers with, and killing the mother wasn’t enough.

Well, fuck you Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.  You can count me out of any more of your crap.  I’m trying not to come across as a whiney fan boy with entitlement issues but you know what?  We watched this show for 9 years.  If we say for arguments sake each episode ran for bang on 22 minutes, and there were 208 episodes, that’s a grand total 4,576 minutes.  76.26 hours.  So I feel like I’m allowed to have this kind of reaction when I’m served up this level of fucking bullshit.  You two single handedly ruined one of my favourite shows in 20 minutes, you fucking walnuts.

*Mic drop*


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