As I mentioned earlier, I love How I Met Your Mother. The show has narrative twists and turns and rarely tells an important story in a straightforward manner. It’s inventive and touching. And funny.
And last night we saw the culmination of seasons.
Note: there will be some spoilers from the season finale, so be warned.
No, we didn’t meet the mother and I’m guessing that won’t happen til right before the show shuffles off this mortal coil. But we did see Marshall and Lily become a family. Where season 1 ended with Lily leaving Marshall to pursue her dreams of becoming an artist on the West Coast, season 7 ended with Marshall and Lily having their first child – a son named Marvin Wait for it Ericsson. Quite the name: Marvin, after Marshall’s dad who died so suddenly last season in the heartbreaking episode “Bad News”, and Wait for it because, well, Marshall promised Barney.
What struck me about this moment is that it seemed so real. After spending so many years with these characters, their joy seemed real to me. It might sound a bit nuts, but there have been moments that you can share with characters that have been in your life for years that are almost as emotional as real life moments. Monica proposing to Chandler on Friends. Jim and Pam finally kissing on The Office. Howard taking off into space on The Big Bang Theory. The final moments of the series finale of Six Feet Under. I put Marv’s birth in that category, since we’ve been with Marshall and Lily since the beginning and know what it took for them to get to this – the birth of their first child. And Marshall just making it to the birth was so…so… manipulative. But in this case, I’ll allow it.
Hand in hand with the birth of Marv, we saw the answer to the question posed at the beginning of the season: who is Barney marrying? They managed to tease this out for the whole season: Robin, Nora, Robin, Nora, Robin, Quinn. But if you look at that list, you could see the pattern; it’s always been Robin for Barney. Always. And really, Robin belongs with Barney. Whereas Ted was overly romantic and blind to reality. Barney matched Robin in their lack of dreamy romanticism, and in their being slightly broken. Even when they broke up, you knew their story wasn’t over. It just makes sense to have them together.
Plus, did you really think Quinn would have called Ted over before the wedding? C’mon.
But what about Ted? I mean the show isn’t called “How Barney Finally Got It Together With Robin”, though that story might be more interesting. Ted has finally reached the point with Robin where they are friends, so as he goes through his past, there is one woman remaining whose story with him is unresolved. And it’s not terribly surprising that it’s Victoria, since she showed up earlier in the season and told Ted that until he really ended things with Robin that he’ll never really meet “the one.”
Of course, Ted manages to call Victoria on her wedding day and despite initially planning on dropping her back at church, having himself experienced the pain of being left at the altar, Ted actually drives off into the sunset with Victoria…in her wedding dress…for her wedding to another man.
We know Victoria isn’t the mother, but it seems Victoria is the last step before he really does meet the mother, finally. And to get there, Ted will have to shake off all the ghosts of his past and his unrealistic dreams, and he’ll have to unpack some of that relationship baggage. That won’t be easy, nor do I expect it will be quick.
We know he meets the mother at Barney’s wedding, so the end is really nigh. Next season we’ll need to learn HOW Barney and Robin finally hooked up, how Barney and Quinn fell apart, how Ted and Victoria try and inevitably fail being together, and who Ted meets at Barney’s wedding.