Series finale review: “How I Met Your Mother”

Maia Zewert

And that, kids, is the story of how a television show ruined nine seasons of storytelling in just 60 minutes. 

Okay, maybe that is a bit dramatic. But, after investing nine years of my life into this show, I expected “How I Met Your Mother” to bring its A-game for the series finale, “Last Forever.” The audience has spent almost a decade waiting for Ted, Josh Radnor, to meet the love of his life. Nine years to see how he went from the man declaring his love for Robin, Cobie Smulders, on a first date to finding love at her wedding. 

Yes, the writers did throw in some nice callbacks for the long-time fans. There was a game of “have you met Ted?” which how this whole grand thing started back in 2005. I think the writers liked to believe they were paying fan service for those who had been there from the beginning. However, if they wanted to do that, they should have ended the finale forty-five minutes in.

The episode itself seemed a bit choppy for “How I Met Your Mother.” I get that the show relies on flash forwards and flash backwards, but in the beginning this technique was used to show little details or throw away jokes. In the finale, “How I Met Your Mother” tried to cram 25 years into 60 minutes. At times, I was confused exactly where in the crazy timeline we were, with the only guiding light being Lily’s hair — a thank you to Alyson Hannigan for changing it up every season.

Also it seems like some of the characters evolved backwards at points. Robin, a character who I have idolized from the beginning of the series, seemed completely out of character at some points. And while Barney had an amazing moment in this episode — Neil Patrick Harris reminding us why he was nominated for four Emmys — all credibility he had been building up for the past three seasons disappeared. Thank goodness for Lily and Marshall, Jason Segel, who, even with their rough patches, have been the most consistent characters during the series’ run.

None of this compares to The Mother and Ted. We did find out her name, thankfully. We got a glimpse at some of the most important moments in their lives together, including the fateful meeting, which was, in my opinion, absolutely perfect. Radnor and Cristin Milioti have so much chemistry in these scenes that I wish she would have been involved in the story from the beginning.

What the whole thing boils down to is legacy. How will “How I Met Your Mother” be remembered in five years? In ten? For me, I do not think I will remember every reference or throwaway joke. I will remember how the show and these characters made me feel. This show has been a constant in my life since I was in junior high. This is the only show I have been with from the beginning all the way to the end. My feelings about the mediocre finale aside, that is pretty incredible. Maybe, in the end, that’s all that really matters.

I am holding out for the belief that there will be a director’s cut on the season nine DVD that will have a commentary explaining why the series decided to end this way. Maybe at that time I will have even accepted the ending. Until then, I am just going to have to wait for it.

2.5/5 Season Nine finale episode “Last Forever”

4/5 series.