It’s been almost 4 years since How I Met Your Mother aired it’s final episode and the fate of the gang, including the titular mother was revealed. I was visiting my sister today when that final episode was on and we chatted while it played in the background. As the final credits rolled and pictures of the cast from the first episode nine years earlier flashed across the screen I thought to myself, why do so many people hate the way this series ended?
Before you continue, if you haven’t already seen how the series ends or aren’t already privy to where the gang ends up, don’t read any further! This next section contains spoilers which I still feel the need to let you know even though the last episode aired March 31st 2013. Now that you’ve been warned let’s get on with the article. As aforementioned I know that a lot of fans were disappointed and/or angry with the way the series ended and most of them for two reasons.
First, Barney completely regresses in the final episode after making so much progress and growing up over the course of the series and especially the final two seasons
The Mother dies and Ted ends up with chasing Robin. Both of these reasons are ridiculous and I’ll tell you exactly why. For Barney’s part yes he does spend the latter two seasons growing up, maturing, and becoming the man he needs to be in order to marry Robin only to regress to the misogynistic playboy he’s always been in the final episode. The thing is though he progresses again and even further than he did before in the final half of the episode. Think about it, he has a daughter who becomes his world, he tells two girls at the bar to go home because their parents must be worried sick about them, and it even features him falling asleep after being up all night with his newborn.
While yes, he does have some minor setbacks he also becomes a person that he never could have if he didn’t have them. Honestly, that’s the essence of the show. Necessitated regression to become the person that you’ll eventually become. Think about how many times Ted veers away from his quest to find the mother of his children.
Which brings me to the second, and much larger, bone of contention among fans. Yes, Tracy, the mother dies, and, Yes, Ted goes chasing after Robin but that is the PERFECT ending for the show. From the first episode Ted proclaims his love for Robin and after nine years of wooing her, dating her, being platonic, being not so platonic, and eventually letting her go, he meets Tracy, the woman who gives him children, something Robin could never do. Robin, to her credit, loves Ted too but knows that she can’t completely fulfill him because she wants to travel and focus on her career while he wants to settle down and start a family. In the final episode they both get exactly what they wanted the whole time and end up with each other. Not only that but Ted runs his decision by the kids first and they fully support him, even encourage him!
I know that many of you are thinking, yeah that’s great Ted and Robin get to live happily ever but what about Tracy, she’s dead! Well, if you recall, the same night that Ted met Robin back in 2005, Tracy lost her boyfriend Max in a car accident. She never gets over him, even asking his permission eight years later when her current boyfriend, Louis, proposed. She does not get engaged and instead goes on to meet Ted in the pouring rain after Barney and Robin’s wedding. She passes away eleven years later with Ted dutifully by her side. This would be sad except that she can now be with Max again. In the end, Ted got his wife, kids, and Robin. Robin gets her career, to travel and Ted. Tracy, the one people often cite as being shafted, gets her children, a devoted husband, and a reunion with the man she lost on her 21st birthday. Everyone got a happy ending.