I’m going to do you all a favor and spoil it, so if you didn’t watch it already you’ll be braced for the horribleness you’re planning on putting yourself through.
First off, I predicted every major twist of the episode:
1) Barney and Robin got divorced
2) The Mother died (but lol everybody knew that)
3) Ted and Robin got together
These were all terrible ideas, for these reasons:
1) The ENTIRE FINAL SEASON except for this episode centered around Barney and Robin’s wedding. It lasted about twenty minutes.
2) The Mother died to pave the way for Robin. In other words, the entire conceit of the show was an elaborate lie, meant to forward the Ted/Robin romance everybody had gotten so, so tired of, especially since in the previous seasons Barney and Robin had more chemistry anyway. Also, Robin’s a bitch.
And there were other problems:
1) Barney went through nine seasons of character development in order to turn into a person who was ready to take up responsibility and settle down into a long term relationship with somebody he loved, as opposed to taking advantage of strangers.
In about twenty minutes they retconned ALL of his character development, to the point where he actually got a new playbook. Then they took another fifteen to give it all back by giving him a daughter (to be fair, in an emotional scene that Neil Patrick Harris killed in). Basically, there was absolutely no point to anything that happened in the previous nine seasons. None at all.
2) What kind of message was the show trying to send? Were they going for a traditional “Other things are fun for awhile, but in the end family is what will make you happy!” thing, or were they trying to say “Hey man, we’re MODERN, you don’t need family or marriage for happiness!” The mother and Ted get married, but after seven years and two kids, but hey even though marriage is the way to go that’s okay because they’re totally modern and it’s Their Choice(TM)! Sure, Marshall said it’s totally okay for Barney to be an asshole womanizer, the gang is cool with that, but then Barney gets a kid and it turns out that family is what he needed all along! But not marriage, because, to quote Barney “We didn’t have a failed marriage, we had a successful marriage that happened to last three years” (no, really, he said that with no laugh track in the background).
And then there’s Robin. It’s totally cool for Robin to be a Strong Independent Career Woman(TM), but in fact not really because it makes her miserable and she wanted a relationship all along, not that she NEEDED one, women can be strong and independent but happy. Just, you know, not her.
So what point are they trying to make? Are they trying to tell you family is the way to go or not? Pick a side, you’re going to piss people off either way. In fact, they might as well have gone full liberal, at least the media would have loved it.
And, of course, they killed the Mother. THEY KILLED THE MOTHER. Besides the fact that everybody and their dog saw this coming from light-years away, it was a terrible idea because the entire premise of the show was based on the goal that, eventually, Ted and the Mother were going to meet and live happily ever after. There was an end point they were striving towards. But they hit it, flew right past it, and stopped neatly in the realm of cliche so Ted can go and ask out his best friend’s ex-wife who tried to run away with him at the wedding. Because that’s not a dick move at all.
At least Marshall and Lily worked well together. Marshall got the best laugh lines in this one (“Today, when my boss threw his egg salad sandwich in my face, some of it got in my mouth! It was good!”). But that, a nice moment with Barney and his daughter, and a nice moment with Ted and the Mother at the train station was pretty much all the episode had going for it. Everything else was shit.
What a disappointing end to what at times could be a superb show. The episode where they were at Marshall’s father’s funeral had to be one of the best ever in a sitcom. And then they had to end it with this.
What a shame.