After nine years and more than 200 episodes, How I Met Your Mother concludes with an episode that bounces around quite a bit showcasing the various futures of each member of the group beginning with Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin‘s (Cobie Smulders) wedding reception and ending with Ted (Josh Radnor) finally finishing his story to his two kids (Lyndsy Fonseca, David Henrie) who offer their father the needed encouragement to go after what he’s always wanted one more time.
In-between we see the group grow steadily apart as Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily‘s (Alyson Hannigan) family continues to grow, Robin and Barney’s marriage dissolves after only three years, the Erickson’s move out of the apartment, and Barney becomes a father. Of course much of the episode is also devoted to Ted’s relationship to the mother (Cristin Milioti) of his children and his eventual wife. We have to wait until near the episode ends to see the pair’s insanely-cute first meeting on the rainy train platform, but the episode does a good job in highlighting their loving relationship (although many might be surprised by the end which allows for a callback to the series’ first episode).
The structure of the two-part episode is a bit odd, and the old-age makeup used for the later scenes is more goofy than believable, but it does give the show’s final hour an epilogue feel offering glimpses of where the characters go from here. Even during its weaker stretches, How I Met Your Mother relied on the strength of the relationships between its five core characters which are, for one last time, highlighted here. The final moments of Ted’s story, and the return of the blue horn, allows show creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas to have their cake and eat it too as Ted earns not one but two happy endings as the show says goodbye after nine years on the air and gets what he’s always wanted… twice.