Season Nine, Episode Twenty Three
Season Nine, Episode Twenty Four
It’s been nine years that we’ve followed Ted and company hang out at MacLaren’s and during the series finale, it all came back to that bar, which didn’t seem probable halfway into the episode. I was wondering how the episode would unfold, since they were dedicating an hour to the moment Ted meets the Mother, and it made sense that they would flash forward year by year after Ted meets Tracy McConnell (yes! she finally has a name!). But in the end, it had to do with what happened at MacLaren’s, and that is the moment when Ted meets Robin.
Yes, Tracy did in fact get sick and she did pass away in 2024, six years before Ted started the epic tale of how he met Tracy. While it is in fact sad that Ted loses his wife this way, there wasn’t any emotional tugging that would evoke tears from our eyes. It was all about meeting her, falling in love, having children, and years later finally getting married. Even if their time together was cut short, there’s no doubt that Ted and Tracy were in love. You could tell from the first glance in the beginning of the episode when Ted stares at Tracy as she’s performing with the wedding band. It’s no coincidence that it’s the same glance he gave Robin in the pilot episode.
The first major surprise of the finale was that the paradise between the married couple wasn’t quite what Barney and Robin predicted. Robin was a world famous TV journalist, but her career forced her to travel all over the world, leaving Barney to pursue in his own business, a lifestyle blog. Yes, Barney did give up a lot for his wife, but she was always the one with passion for her career so it made sense that Barney would give up his life in New York and Goliath National Bank. Unfortunately, getting drunk and having sex only saved their marriage for three years until they mutually divorced. The perfect moment here was when Barney reminded Robin how much he loved her and how he vowed to never lie to her again.
The years kept passing by and the friends slowly grew apart. Marshall and Lily had their third child, Marshall finally became a judge (Judge Fudge) and then ran for a seat on the Supreme Court (Fudge Supreme), Ted and Tracy lived in the suburbs and had two children, and Barney achieved the Perfect Month (31 women in 31 days). But Barney gets the last woman pregnant and although we never see that woman (or even find out her name), he finally changes when he holds his baby girl in the hospital for the first time. She becomes his everything and right there, Barney grows up.
But while everyone is moving forward in their lives, Robin isn’t. She just doesn’t have time to with her career, but she finally spills the beans at Marshall and Lily’s “farewell apartment” party (which happened to fall on Halloween). Robin admits that there is no more gang. Everyone has moved on and is living their own lives with their own families, and it’s too hard for her to feel included anymore. It’s just like what was said in “Gary Blauman,” that no matter how much someone meant to you during one part of your life, it’s easy to have those friendships and relationships fade away through time. In this case, Robin was the odd-man out. The perfect scene here is when Robin says goodbye to Lily in the empty apartment. The show has spent all of its years through that apartment and seeing it stripped down to nothing but a hardwood floor and empty walls was marking the end of an era, which is exactly what Robin was saying. Their time hanging out as a gang was over.
Ted finally wraps up his story about how he got the nerves to talk to Tracy at the train station, and how that led to great things like the marriage and the children. It was at this moment I was wondering why they haven’t mentioned anything about Tracy dying, but in the montage he did mention how Tracy got sick and then showed Ted reading to her in the hospital. But there just wasn’t any time to feel sad because Ted told the story with so much life and happiness. And that was how Ted met Tracy.
“It was at times a long difficult road. But I’m glad it was long and difficult because if I hadn’t gone through hell to get there, the lesson might not have been as clear. See kids, right from the moment I met your mom I knew: I have to love this woman as much as I can as long as I can, and I can never stop loving her, not even for a second. I carried that lesson with me through every stupid fight we ever had, every 5 a.m. Christmas morning, every sleepy Sunday afternoon, through every speed bump, every pang of jealousy or boredom or uncertainty that came our way, I carried that lesson with me. And I carried it with me when she got sick. Even then, in what can only be called the worst of times, I can only thank God. Thank every God there is or every was or will be and the whole universe and anyone else I could possibly thank. That I saw that beautiful girl on that train platform, and that I had the guts to stand up, walk over to her, tap her on the shoulder, open my mouth and speak.”
But after it was all said and done, the children were smarter than Ted expected. They realized that there had to be a reason why he told them the story, whether he was conscious of it or not. “Mom’s hardly in the story. This is the story about how you’re totally in love with Aunt Robin and you’re thinking about asking her out and you want to know if we’re okay with it.” In the end, the kids gave more than just their blessing to date Aunt Robin, they gave him their support. And that’s what finally provided him the green light to stand outside of Robin’s apartment with the blue French horn.
As much as the finale was about Ted, it was also equally as much about Robin, and hasn’t that been the case for the entire series? Also, since this show has been compared to Friends, isn’t that the way sitcoms are supposed to end? You had Ross hanging out in Central Perk (their hang-out spot) when Rachel barges in wearing a wedding dress during the pilot. In HIMYM, you had Ted in MacLaren’s when he first spotted Robin across the bar. They went through so many ups and downs throughout the series, it only makes sense that they wound up together at the conclusion of the show.
While I am surprised that Tracy dies in the story, it never became something too heavy that the show couldn’t handle. This is mainly because of how HIMYM has never been afraid to tackle difficult life situations throughout their 9-year run. To me, that is what will remain as HIMYM’s strongest attribute for a truly memorable series, how real its crucial moments felt. The way Marshall was crushed by his father’s death, how Lily felt like a terrible person when she admit she sometimes wished Marvin was never born, the anguish inside of Barney when he dumps Nora and finds out Robin was still with Kevin, how Ted would do anything just to make Robin happy even when she was engaged, and so on. These are real situations every day and HIMYM presented it with class and care.
And it wouldn’t have been successful without the impeccable chemistry of the main cast. I saw a little bit of every one of my friends in the five characters on HIMYM, and I’m sure everyone else did too. That’s what made the show so fulfilling and it’s what will make it legendary for years to come.