SPOILER ALERT: This recap for the series finale of "How I Met Your Mother" contains storyline and character spoilers.
Well, kids... he finally met their mother. But it wasn't happily ever after, and nobody is happy about that.
After nine seasons, 208 episodes, eight slaps, dozens of plays, and hundreds of high-fives (including one infinity five), "How I Met Your Mother" concluded its run with the ending many fans had already guessed — with Ted getting back together with Robin.
In the emotional, time-jumping series finale, viewers finally saw Ted meet the Mother, Tracy McConnell. They had two children, got married, and shared a beautiful life filled with love... for a little while.
As many fans theorized, the Mother did die young, leaving a middle-aged Ted to go back to Robin once again. He had the blue French horn, which called back to the show's pilot episode.
That ending — which was no surprise, considering fans and TV critics had been discussing that theory for some time — immediately sparked a firestorm of outrage, anger, and disappointment on Twitter:
That was one of the worst series finales I have ever seen. #HIMYM— Kenny Lane (@TheKennyLane) April 1, 2014
Raise your hand if you've ever been personally victimized by THE LAST EPISODE OF HIMYM— Annelise Dahl (@annelisedahl) April 1, 2014
More like 'How I Settled for Your Mother After I Accidentally Knocked Her Up After Robin Turned Me Down. Repeatedly.' Amirite??? #HIMYM— Mary (@thatmarygirl) April 1, 2014
There aren't enough swear words in all the languages in all the world to express the frustration and utter despair I feel right now. #HIMYM— Kevin McFarland (@km_mcfarland) April 1, 2014
The finale started with a flashback to 2005, when Robin became part of the gang. Lily joked that neither Ted nor Barney was allowed to hook up with her, unless he married her.
Flash-forward to Barney and Robin's wedding, where they're dancing. Barney tries to be a wingman for Ted with the pretty bass player (the Mother), but a weary Ted says he has to catch a train. The gang goes outside to say their emotional goodbyes, with Ted and Barney exchanging one last infinity high-five to last a lifetime.
Ted waits on the train platform in the pouring rain, and spies the Mother standing under her yellow umbrella. A kind old lady next to him urges him to talk to her, but he hesitates. He's leaving for Chicago the next day!
But Ted doesn't leave the next day for Chicago. In fact, Lily and Marshall find him at MacLaren's just 24 hours later. He calls the Mother to arrange their first date (which we've seen).
Flash-forward to 2015: Ted is planning an epic, romantic wedding at a 17th century castle, but the Mother comes in to call it off. But not because she doesn't want to marry Ted — because she's pregnant!
A year later, the gang is gathered at Ted's house. Marshall and Lily are back from Rome, and Marshall's super unhappy with a corporate law job. Robin and Barney insist everything is "great," but soon enough, a flashback to Argentina shows that they were arguing heavily about her work travel. And in fact, they got divorced without telling anyone! Robin insists that nothing has to change, and Lily makes them all promise to be together for the "big moments."
In 2016, Marshall and Lily throw one last Halloween party before the move out of the apartment (sniff!). Ted is dressed once again as a hanging chad, while the Mother is an old grandmother wearing a Gore/Lieberman T-shirt. Barney is back in his "hitting on anything with boobs" form. Robin shows up, but soon departs. She can't be part of the gang anymore, not with her ex-husband, the guy she "should've ended up with," and the mother of his child. Ouch.
In 2018, Barney is trying to rouse the gang for an epic all-nighter, but everyone else is a parent who just wants to go home early. Except Marshall arrives and announces he's got a judgeship! Lily scorns Barney for still being a player, but he declares that they should just let him be who he is.
Well, a year, later, a stunned Barney meets with the two couples. He had been going for a perfect month (31 women in 31 days). But No. 31 just told him she's pregnant! Barney's going to be a dad! Oh, dear Lord.
Nine months after that, Ted runs into Robin as he shows his daughter Penny the GNB building. He compares it to a Sasquatch sighting to Lily and Marshall as they wait for Barney's child to be born. That baby turns out to be a girl, and the moment Barney holds her, he falls in love. Finally, a woman to settle him down.
That prompts Ted to go home to the Mother and re-propose. She says yes, of course, and they decide on Thursday. The day comes, and nearly the whole gang gathers at MacLaren's for another "big moment." And surprise, surprise — Robin shows up! Ted and the Mother exchange vows, as their friends watch.
In voiceover, Ted ruminates that he doesn't regret anything about the difficult journey of finding the Mother. He knew the instant he met her that he'd love her as much as he could for as long as he could.
And as so many fans speculated, the Mother does get sick. She dies.
Flashback to the train platform, 2014. Ted finally gathers the courage to approach the Mother. They know who the other is — he's the best man, she's the bass player who was roommates with his ex Cindy.
They banter about the umbrella, which sports the initials "TM." Ted argues they stand for Ted Mosby, while she says they stand for Tracy McConnell. They soon realize that they've crossed paths multiple times over the years, and it's clear from those first few moments, that this is a thing — this is a real thing.
"And that, kids, is how I met your mother," as Ted from 2030 concludes his nine-year saga.
"That's it?" an incredulous Penny asks. Both kids declare that this is actually the story of how Ted is in love with Aunt Robin. They encourage him to call her and ask her out.
"Mom's been gone for six years now. It's time," Penny says.
But this is Ted Mosby. He's not going to just call her. Instead, Ted goes to her apartment and buzzes up. Robin, there with her five dogs, opens her window.
Ted is standing below, holding a blue French horn. Robin smiles.
And that, kids, is how Ted Mosby ended up with Aunt Robin.
As we said, the finale generated quite a bit of controversy. But even so, many expressed their love of the series and their deep sorrow that the tale (as long as it was) is over for good.
Goodbye HIMYM. It was a pleasure watching you.— Scoochie Smith (@scottch_tape) April 1, 2014
I'm actually tearing up. It's over. The greatest show ever created. It's done. Thank you #HIMYM ....for everything. Farewell.— Austen Funke (@WhatThaFunke) April 1, 2014
What did you think of the finale?