Last night's How I Met Your Mother ended up doing exactly what its angry fans thought it would do. It also served as a reminder of everything that worked about the show back when it was at its pinnacle many years ago.
"Last Forever" finally introduced us to the mother (and named her Tracy McConnell), showing us her fateful meeting with Ted under the yellow umbrella in the last ten minutes of the series finale, and then quickly informed us that she died of some unknown illness and Ted-as-narrator has indeed been telling his kids about a woman who's been dead for six years now. In a scene filmed some seven years ago because the actors playing the kids were growing up, Ted's children tell him that he's really just been narrating the story of his relationship with Robin, and that he should go be with her. Which he does.
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I sat down to watch the episode prepared for the worst. "Vesuvius," an episode from a couple months ago, had hinted that The Mother (Cristin Milioti, who did lovely work this season despite being infuriatingly unnamed) would die before she got to see her kids married. I expected a treacly hour that wallowed in the tragic irony that Ted and Tracy didn't get to spend enough time together. And at first, the episode seemed like it'd be a huge bummer—Marshall is miserable as a lawyer after turning down a judgeship for Lily, and Barney and Robin divorce after three years when her jet-setter lifestyle clashes with his emotional reliance on her. Barney goes back to wallowing in gross singledom and Robin vanishes from the group.