By Meryl Gottlieb| firstname.lastname@example.org| @buzzlightmeryl
How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS
Tonight’s episode of How I Met Your Mother was told a little differently. Instead of it framed as Ted (Josh Radnor) telling his kids a story, it was about him and the Mother (Cristin Milioti) realizing they have told each other all their stories.
It’s Christmas 2024, and my heart may have be shattered because of tonight’s episode, titled “Vesuvius.” We’ll get to that because I still need to recoup.
Lily (Alyson Hannigan) is angry that Robin (Cobie Smulders) isn’t acting like it’s her wedding day. She’s just playing hockey with her sister Katie (Lucy Hale) — who did finally return! — and watching The Wedding Bride Too. I love how old guest stars pop up out of nowhere. It was only a matter of time until she showed up at some point; otherwise, the HIMYM universe may have blown up for that inconsistency. I’m also in LOVE with how they brought back The Wedding Bride. I have always thought this gag was hilarious. I don’t know if it’s because it points out how ridiculous Ted can be — those red cowboy boots! — or if it’s because they got Chris Kattan to play “Jed.” This time is even better because of the added character “Narshall,” played by John Heder. I always love how the HIMYM creators/ writers have made the HIMYM universe so real. There made their own restaurants, websites, teen stars and movies. It’s perfect.
Robin cares so little she is even OK with Lily wearing her own wedding dress to the ceremony, but there are larger fashion issues at hand.
Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) no longer likes the tuxedo he had prepared for his wedding and must decide between all his suits. Obviously for a man who owns hundreds of suits, this is no small task. You can’t just wear your magic suit or suit you had sex with a rodeo clown in to your wedding day. Geez. Barney is not able to say yes to a suit. As a TLC Friday Bride-day enthusiast, that reference was magical.
Eventually, Ted manages to ease Barney’s nerves and shows him the suit Tim — I’m assuming Tim Gunn, and I’m glad they’re all on a first name basis with him — made for him. Right now, it seems wrong because it’s new. There aren’t any memories in it yet and it’s one he never thought he’d ever wear. But the best part will come when he realizes it’s actually a perfect fit.
I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life when I don’t have Ted Mosby monologues every week. They’re beautifully written, obvious but so important. You can write it a hundred ways that Barney is nervous about getting married, but when you’re able to make it new and interesting each time, you’re a genius. Thank you Craig Thomas and Carter Bays; you’re geniuses.
When Ted and Barney join everyone else in Robin’s room, Lily confesses she’s been so upset with Robin because this may be the last time they all hang out together in a while. So, they make the most out of it. Even our dear friend Swarley comes back. I’m so in love with all the throwbacks. It’s a nerdy fan’s dream!
And of course we end with a jaw-dropper. Robin goes to get ice and, in the hallway, sees that her mother (Tracey Ullman) did come to her wedding after all. This is the moment she realizes it’s her wedding and starts to cry.
The “story” aspect of the episode was great. The scenes when Barney had to choose his suit were fabulous, hilarious and heartfelt; and I forever love the throwback to The Wedding Bride. However, the true heart of the episode lies in the flash-forward to 2024 when Ted and the Mother are at the Farhampton Inn for the weekend. Know that I have tears in my eyes as I am writing this right now.
Their entire banter focuses on how both Ted and the Mother like to tell each other their stories. They realize they each know all of the other’s stories and are an old married couple, thus creating the story of when they realized they were an old married couple. It’s absolutely adorable for quite some time until a flash-forward reveals that the Mother has heard the story about Lily and Robin’s fight. The Mother pleads Ted to not be “the guy who lives in his stories” and that “life only moves forward,” hinting that something is terribly wrong in the future.
In the HIMYM universe, there has been a persistent theory about how the show will end. It states the Mother is either dying or has already died and that is why Ted wants to tell his kids these stories. Here are the scenes in tonight’s episode that solidified that theory in my mind, hence why my heart has shattered into a million tiny pieces.
Ted reflecting on when Lily realized it may be the last time they could all hang out: “In a moment like that, when what’s really happening is too intense to deal with. Sometimes it’s best…” The Mother finishes his statement: “To leave it unspoken. (She takes his hand) And just enjoy each other’s company instead.”
To add to that, the Mother comments about Robin’s mom coming to the wedding, saying that no mother would ever miss her daughter’s wedding. As soon as she said it, Ted’s eyes fill with tears … as does the rest of the world’s.
I’m speechless. I don’t actually know how to articulate what I’m feeling. It’s mostly sadness with a slight twist of frustration. I know it’s not accurate until we see the finale on March 31st but this is a pretty likely ending for the show, and it kills me. I’ve invested in Ted’s happy ending for years and do not know how to handle the fact that his happy ending may be incredibly short-lived. According to the flash-forward, this awful moment is happening in 2024, meaning Ted has just about 10 years with his true love. In a lifetime, 10 years is not much. We are finally getting glimpses of his happiness, and it’s being ripped away right in front of us before we can even really enjoy it and rejoice. Seeing Ted this sad kills me. I think a lot of it has to do with the incredible chemistry between Radnor and Milioti. It makes the relationship so believable and real, thus making it that much harder to realize it may not end in the happiest of ways.
I want Ted’s relationship. I want someone who loves me and has the same weird interests I do — he has to be into Doctor Who and musicals; I’m not sure anyone could be around me for the time a husband would be without liking those things. That is why Ted is so lovable. We all want to find that someone who we are meant to be with. Ted has finally found that, and it’s just simply not fair that he can’t have a true happy ending. I understand life isn’t fair, but that doesn’t mean fictional life can’t be fair. I understand HIMYM depicts the world in a real way — more real than Friends at least — and sometimes these things happen, but when they happen in the TV and film realm, their impact is almost worst. Entertainment outlets are meant for an escape or an outside view of the world. In most texts, we get a happy ending because it lets us walk away happy. We can’t change what happens in the film or TV worlds. We have to accept what they give us. We’re going to have to accept the fact that this horrible reality may be what’s coming in four weeks. I’m going to start therapy now to prepare; I suggest you do the same.
What are your theories about the finale? How emotionally damaged are you after this episode? Let me know so we can cry together @buzzlightmeryl