It's not entirely unexpected that following the How I Met Your Mother finale that the internet, as my roommate stated, exploded. Like the LOST finale, people tended to gravitate towards the "we're good with it" to "virulent hatred" sides of the spectrum.
Of course in the intervening years we got to know 'the gang:' Marshall, Lilly, Barney, and Robin. We knew pretty early on that any of Ted's previous relationships, including the one with Robin were doomed, she was after all 'Aunt' Robin. We believed the premise and the implied promise. The show would end with the mother. We knew how it would all end.
Let's detour for a moment. For me this show was about more than just that final one hour we got this Monday. I told another one of my roommates that for nine years once a week I've had 20 minutes of joy. A show that made me laugh and surprised me with songs (Nothing Suit's me Like a Suit!) and slap bets; Crazy-Hot Scales, and Marshmallow adorableness; DOWISATREPLA, Cockamouse, and Challenge Accepted!
Granted it wasn't a perfect show--its terrible lack of main character diversity and that horrible Arcadian storyline--but I loved each character as they transitioned from point to point in their lives.
So when the credits rolled on the finale on Monday I was satisfied.True the storytelling for this season could have gone differently. I wish that Robin and Barney's wedding which lasted the whole season, had not resulted in us seeing their three years marriage over in a blink of an eye. But I think the finale highlighted what made this show important.
The gang. The big moments.
The idea that life is messy and that while one day matters and can go on forever, we might not always be in each other's lives as we change and grow.
Don't get me wrong, I think the fact that Ted finally meets Tracy (the mother) only to lose her to illness after seven years is tragic and maybe emotionally manipulative, but as this wonderful piece from the AV club says it wasn't the mother in How I Met Your Mother that mattered it was the How. (Also read: Slate on HIMYM)
So I was ok that Barney, despite trying for three years, really only changed with unexpected fatherhood, and that Marshall and Lilly dealt with life's trials through continued domesticity.
I have ALL THE FEELS.
But this story is about the mother right? And the LOST passengers were never in purgatory. In both cases we were never really lied to.
In the final moments of the finale, Ted's kids point out to their father that it's Robin who he still loves, and can still have. And I'll take a moment to acknowledge that after almost a decade of a revolving-door Ted-Robin relationship that finally ended with him letting her go just episodes ago; to have them end up together nearly twenty-five years later is frustrating for some. But after twenty-five years, after Robin lived her dream of traveling, and Ted had his kids -- the two reasons why they couldn't make it work--it's nice that they had a chance to try and be happy again.
So six years after losing Tracy, Ted steals a blue french horn and with deliberate symmetry, reminiscent of John Cusack's boom box, holds it up for Robin to see. It's a big moment.
It was romantic...-ish. I mean, at the end of the day, it's still a big blue french horn, right?
Let's close with this: In thinking about the end we can choose option "A:"
Lilly: "So what is this all just over now?"
Or Option "B:"
Lilly: "Oh god this is too real, Marshall's next."
Whatever the final decision, "Let's Go to the Mall, Today!