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Why this Fan’s Ending to ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Is the Right Way to End the Series

Why this Fan's Ending to 'How I Met Your Mother' Is the Right Way to End the Series

Now that we’ve all had a few days to process the rather rapid last episode of “How I Met Your Mother,” clearer heads should prevail. No, I don’t mean the backlash against the frustrating series finale will dissipate. Rather, it should become more focused. Emotional reactions will be set aside, and a thorough examination of what went wrong can rise to the surface. After all, we’re not just going to forget about a show that dominated ratings, took up nine years of our lives, and will most likely live forever as a rainy Saturday streaming option on Netflix.

But while some of us were tossing our remotes in the air or calling our friends to affirm our complaints, one fan was hard at work creating the ending we all deserved. Okay, maybe it didn’t take that much work, but the video below from YouTube user Ricardo J. Dylan is nevertheless the perfect ending we didn’t get Monday night.

In case you recklessly risked reading up to this point, major spoilers will ensue.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of “How I Met Your Mother” as a whole was its incredible creativity. From its constant time-jumping narrative structure, to big musical numbers, to lengthy one shots with moving set pieces, this major network sitcom constantly broke ground in how it told its story. Some of it worked and some of it didn’t, but the effort was always there. That effort, however, took on its worst form yet in Monday’s series finale, an episode that felt like a concentrated effort by the show to pull the rug out from under us while tugging our heart strings. We didn’t need another twist. We just needed the payoff.

The biggest complaint regarding an episode truly littered with mistakes big and small is and always will be that Ted and Robin ended up together — and the how is as upsetting as the why. The why seems to be because creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas wanted to pull one more surprise out of their hats. Determined to please both Robin-worshippers and fans waiting to meet the mother, they concocted a scheme in which the mother dies (a twist accurately predicted right here on Indiewire) and Ted goes after the woman of his dreams with the blessing of his children. Paraphrasing, Ted’s kids said something to the effect of, “That story barely had anything to do with the mother. Clearly you’re in love with Robin.” While it makes sense for a widowed Ted to let his current feelings sway how he tells his children a story, his instincts betray him and the show in a number of ways, making the how unbearable to watch. 

First, this is a story about a deceased mother being told to the children who no longer have her around. Inappropriate doesn’t begin to describe how it was told. More importantly, though, the finale episode itself did damage to both parties, the Mother and Robin. The mother becomes a secondary character, a person we don’t even see die and someone only important to the group because of a few random events on the wedding weekend. Waiting for her reveal is thus rendered somewhat pointless, and the show’s dismissal of her in favor of the person some fans always suspected to be the mother (despite many clues) makes the mother — and the finale itself — far less meaningful.

Even more damning a sin, however, is what happens to Robin in the last 42 minutes of “How I Met Your Mother.” Her marriage to Barney falls apart after three years, and the only reason given is her dream job ruined their lives. She became a worldwide celebrity, a reporter of great stature, and that accomplished dream lead to the disintegration of a marriage we just spent a whole season gearing up to see. Now it’s all for naught? Some may claim otherwise, but we’ve already gone over why Ted meeting the mother doesn’t make up for the other major storyline of season nine falling flat. Both are thrown under the bus in the end, along with Robin herself as the character becomes distant from her group of friends, purposefully alienating herself from the group because either a) her job is more important, or b) she’s waiting for Ted to bring her the blue French horn.

Neither sound like the Robin that grew into the devoted friend and wife to Barney (of all people) we came to know in the previous eight seasons. She always valued her work — as she should — but she was willing to give all that up for a man when she was offered a job in Chicago and instead chose to stay with her boyfriend Don (rabbit or duck?). Of course, Don then took the job and left her, but her choice was still relevant. She had developed her priorities and proven that strong women don’t have to sacrifice love for work or vice versa. Much like Leslie Knope on “Parks and Recreation,” the battle between work and romance was well depicted by Robin on “How I Met Your Mother” — until this final episode.

So what does Dylan’s ending have that the on air version lacked? In a word, closure. We’re given a heartfelt finale, an appropriate end to the arc of a relationship — you meet, you date, you get married. Instead of wondering what’s to become of an elderly Ted once again pursuing Robin, we are left with our lead character in nuptial bliss with the woman he’s been searching for the entire series. I still would not have been pleased with where Robin ended up — better to let her and Barney have the happiness the show worked so hard to make us believe — but at least Ted’s story, the story we’ve been listening to for nearly a decade, the story about an aggressive and uncynical search for love, at least that story winds up right where it should — under the yellow umbrella, and not the blue French horn.

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Ted and Robin are good together


I think it was a beautiful story and it was planned and told very well. The only thing I didn’t like was that Alyson (Lily) said there was a funeral scene that they cut or something. I think that scene would have made things better because they went over her passing too quick. People aren’t understanding that the kids were right this story isn’t about How he met the Mother it’s about wanting Robin. Ted truly did love Tracey you can see that. But why would he tell his children how in love he was with Robin all the time if it was only about how he met their Mother. It was all about Robin.


So many stories over the years have portrayed successful men "married to their work" and women yelling at them for being such. This was a remarkably brave move to switch that on its head: women can also be strong, and married to their work, and mess it up like men. The purpose was to demonstrate the equality of successes and failures between men and women, not superiority.

Jerry Conner

More like 2.925 days out of 9 years of life.

Anyhow, I still believe Tracy was/is important. She's the mother of Ted's children, he spent ten years with her (would probably have been a lifetime if she hadn't died), he only pursues Robin because she's (Tracy) gone (And who says Ted and Robin's second go succeeds or fails?), as well as Ted never showing any interest in Robin in being anything other than a friend between the wedding and his wife's death. Also keep in mind it took him almost just as much time to move on from Tracy as she took to move on from Max. Then there's the way Ted reacted to Tracy saying "What kind of a mother misses her daughter's wedding?"

Though I can agree Robin and Barney could've been handled better. I would've made it where the divorce didn't kill their relationship. It just meant they work better unmarried.

For me the finale succeeded because one of the major themes of the show is moving on. Every character moved on in some way throughout the show's run..

Hank the Tank

I never bought Robin and Barney together anyway. At its heart, the series was about Ted and Robin. It would have been better had they not said Robin was not the mother so early on.


This article raises a lot of valid points. What the damn hell was that ending crappy! If you've invested in the show and you believe the series finale makes a lot of sense, then you're just as hopelessly crazed as Ted. How I met your mother? Let's be real, Ted was finding a way to connect everything back to Robin again is part of his boyish-love struck delusion similar to wanting his balloon bestfriend back from the sky when its already popped and went capisce.

In a tv series, things called character development" and "chemistry" are important. The big crap this series finale forced down our throats is Ted and Robin. I'm sorry, I don't see how their chemistry works and neither does most people. One of the reasons for that is because Ted has always been a guy who has googly eyes boy-crush for Robin. He's not someone who can handle Robin's fire and independence well. And god how their chemistry just screams p l a t o n i c. For the show to go back with their blue horn to be some grand way of the universe that they are destined for each other is BS.

Frankly, the way how Robin was the one that got away should've stayed that way. It's because she was "the one that got away and will never be Ted's" is what made it beautiful. Plus it's damn relatable.

The entire gang was the entire entity of this show and to have it thrown under the bus very out of the characters they have developed for 9 seasons. Seriously this show is so focused on sentimental shit that you would think they could actually grant a largely satisfying ending in line with the recent events they have shown to us with the gang still strong as fork.

What a complete fail of an ending. smh.


The ending should have been:

"and I stayed by her side when she got sick.." Followed by Ted's spiel about love while the camera panned out of the hospital room and onto the street. Ted could have walked sadly from the hospital under the yellow umbrella, with the show's finishing line:

"And that's how I met your mother".

Simple. Heartfelt.


The haters here miss a few key points regarding the ending.

1.) The ending is true to life. People die. Marriages dissolve. Our character is continuously tested by new obstacles and trials.

2.) Robin's character as-written has been criticized for being aloof from the group of friends despite being a "strong" character in the past. I don't really think this is accurate. She was always strong-willed, but I don't think she was necessarily made of steel as she was constantly unsure of her personal relationships and unsure of herself as a journalist from time-to-time. Even before her marriage to Barney, she is unsure and makes an appeal to Ted that he might be the one for her. Upon the dissolution of her marriage to Barney, it probably strikes her all at once that she is a person capable of marriage and deep love and attachment. Her feelings for Ted have never clearly been laid to rest prior to this point. It is absolutely in line for her character to distance herself from the group of friends — as would happen in real life. The writers SPELL this out in her conversation with Lily-the-white-whale. She cannot bear to be around her ex-husband (this failure causes her pain) and she cannot bear to see Ted with someone else, because she still loves him. As someone who has consistently sought to APPEAR strong, it would make sense for her to be avoidant in order to keep some semblance of strength.

3.) The wedding between Barney and Robin is consistent with what we've seen before from this matching. You have two individuals who are by nature "flighty". When they are tested, neither shows the strength necessary to hold it together. It is clear that they are not slimy or underhanded and take a great deal of care to not hurt the other, but while this is a let-down, it is definitely in-line with their characters. It is primarily disappointing because we were led to believe that their characters had matured — I think they have (Barney not telling lies…). Robin's traveling scenario WAS a little weak, but I think that is only because they rushed the plotline. If they had let this play out for a few more episodes, the break would have seemed plausible.

4.) I love the blue french horn motif. It is a beautiful ending, period, for those of us who have watched every episode of every season. I sincerely thank the writers for this.

5.) The mother dying makes perfect sense, unfortunately. Why else would he be telling his kids this story without the mother stepping in for even a moment during all of the earlier scenes? And furthermore, we see an unfettered love develop between Ted and Tracy — one in which he is so preoccupied with happiness and children that he forgets to plan his much anticipated dream wedding. This is Ted Mosby self-actualized — a Ted Mosby that disregards career opportunity and completely facilitates love and friendship. But life sucks and she dies.

Why do we really have a problem with Ted moving on after 6 years with his children's (too easy) blessing? It is a beautiful ending, and this article is plainly wrong.


I like this ending better.


Great ending….it was what I was hoping for…I mean they always were in love.

But really folks…this is all a fantasy…not real life. If you didn't like the ending and are moping about it…I am concerned for you.

It's only a tv show….


I like the original ending. Just think about it. The show wasn't about the mother. It was telling the story of a single man searching for the Love. He found the love at the first episode. Ted never gave up about Robin. If it was only about the mother, the show would be called – Six years loving your mother before she died.

John Keefer

Articles like this are a waste of everyone's time. How it should have ended? No. This thought should never be uttered in an article, nor should there be articles about how someone came up with a better ending. This is fandom, not journalism. Analyze, critique, convince me of your point of view. You want to be rewarded for the time you put into a show? Do I need to quote the Simpsons here? I double dog dare you to hold yourselves to a higher standard than this click baiting. I triple dog dare you.


I like this ending better.


I think that how you react to the ending really comes down to how you felt about Ted/Robin. For a lot of people, including myself, that well ran dry a long time ago and the ending completely backtracked on Ted's entire character development over the course of the show. For me, there was nothing real that I could see between Ted and Robin and the show was always bending over backwards to portray them as completely wrong for each other despite Ted's irrational obsession, and so his development always came across to me as getting past the idea of a crush based on superficial qualities and letting go of these fantasies for a commitment based in reality instead of his imagination, which he would ultimately share with The Mother.

When I saw him standing outside Robin's door with that French Horn and a goofy smile, it left a bad taste in my mouth. I'd seen the two of them together over the last nine years, and there has never been anything to convince me that they had something real between them. To this disappointed viewer, a series that purported to be about positive growth and change ended up with an immature and emotionally regressive finale that was not "life-like" and in fact, actually skated over the hardest issues of love and loss in a few seconds for a superficial romantic comedy ending of the silliest will-they/won't-they couple in recent TV history.

I had always championed How I Met Your Mother for its ability to inject sincerity and pathos into the comedy format, but I guess it was just a sitcom, after all.


I disagree with the Disney ending this person wanted. I enjoyed the ending that the writers and creators came up with and here is why. People are saying that you never see Ted morn the loss of his wife, and that it is wrong to tell this story to the kids who no longer have their mother, WRONG!! You have to think about this for a moment, this ending was filmed when the pilot was filmed, telling this story was Ted's way of getting through the loss of his wife, and the best way to work through it was sitting down with his kids and sharing his journey, like it or not, with his children, and in the end it makes their mother come off amazing, and it also brought them closer to Robin and they see through the eyes of their father that he not only had one fantastic woman in his life, but two, thus the kids give the blessing for his father to move on with Robin, and not just someone no one knows anything about. Great ending to this show, one of the better Finales of all time, nice job by the writers and creators of this show, and the actors, this show will be missed.

Christian Cancilla

The original ending was great and realalistic which a lot of people can't seem to handle. I like the other end on here just cause it leaves you with a happy complete feeling, but I think the original ending was great. It took a risk and although a lot of people didn't like it, the episode was a series high rating wise and it was trending on all if the major social media sites. It got people talking. And to the people that think that the mom was just a placeholder for Robin. I disagree, as you can see by Teds speech he loved Tracy with all of his heart. The fast pace if the show didn't do their relationship justice though. Because it was only an hour we didn't get to see their long happy marriage and the six years after that he mouned and couldn't move on. I do believe that Ted loved both of them, a person can have more that none true love. And the article got the Robin leaving the group wrong. She didn't leave for her job, like she said in the episode it wasn't a gang anymore. It just wasn't, and unfortunately people do grow apart. I think I was reading the review on vulture and I was honestly surprised how bitter the writer sounded, they called Barney grotesque after his divorce from Robin and I think that was intentional. They wanted to show how sad and gross she is to make the moment with his daughter that much more powerful. And lastly even though the show is called How I Met Your Mother it wasn't about the mother, it was always about Ted and his love life.


I like both versions, but I'm happy with the one we got from the show-runners. Sure, Ted thought he was telling the story of "How I Met Your Mother" when he was really telling the story of "Why I Should Date Aunt Robin Now That Your Mom Has Been Dead 6 Years". Had that been the title of the show, I suspect people would complain much less.


Honestly, I expected this kind of review from anywhere but a publication that deals with bold art work as Indiewire. Would it be good for TV if HIMYM ended like any other sitcom or on an endlessly positive note? It is true that it would it be comfortable for the audiences, but should sitcom always aim for escapism? Should we really have another Friends finale?

HIMYM never got the guts to become something bolder and bigger, and in my opinion that was the biggest problem of the finale – it was never too funny or too dramatic. However, I consider the facts to be very plausible, and honestly, it all comes together. Ted is the one telling the story, and as always, we can't really trust a biased narrator. We don't see it on-screen, but surely Ted mourned the death of his wife, and the story of how he met her is possibly a new attempt to learn how to connect romantically to other women – or more specifically, why Robin was and still is a very dear person to him. It is life, you may find "the one", but shit happens and then what? You have to shut down any other chance of future? How do you analyze your past life to make a clearer path for the future?

Ted revisiting his love life and his younger years was about companionship – and that's exactly what he probably needs as an older widowed man. In my opinion, that's what his romance with Robin at this point still makes perfect sense: They both chased the lives they wanted for themselves, and now that they are finally older and more mature, it is good place for them to be together.
Also, it was not only Robin that grew apart from the group. They all did. Robin obviously did more, as she was single and in many different countries, but again, it is the reality of friendships and growing old. You have to stick to the sentiment of the old days, but accept your new life and move on.

Finally, Barney being the worst kind of misogynist alive, the divorce made absolute sense. It is not a question of being more or less immature, it is who he is – as he himself says in the finale. On the other hand, having had an absent father, I can see him sacrificing his "freedom" to try to be a great dad – so good redemption!

A flawed finale, for sure, but I find the arguments around the critic's community too shallow and positive-like to take seriously (with all the respect :) )


Doesn't the shittiness of the finale make fans requestion whether or not the entire series or, by extension, network sitcoms in general, are really really stupid?


Lame, too yawny rom-com !…I prefer the ending they used. It was always about Ted & Robin.


I agree with that one hundred percent. If it ended like that, I would've taken some joy out of the finale instead of nothing but anger. Great job done on that video.


If the show had ended this way, it wouldn't have made sense for Ted's nine-year long story ended up being mostly about Robin. This ended not only suited the tone of the show, but also fits Ted's character completely. As we spent nine years getting to know him, it makes perfect sense that Ted would tell this story without realizing that he hasn't let go of Robin and needs his kids to tell him and encourage him to go after her. The show coming full circle gives the ultimate payoff and explains the purpose of the show, and series to begin with.

I also love that it wasn't a happy ending. It was a reality of what the transition from the 20s to 30s look like. Divorce, getting caught up in family and a focus on the career, and in the occassional visit to the bar, leaving by 10pm.


Where can I watch this alternate ending as it has been removed from YouTube?


NOTE: There is a reason why the series ends with the blue horn and does not further explore Tad and Robin’s relationship. And that is because Ted and Robin never work. They’re in love with the idea of being a couple, but whenever they actually are one they don’t work. That is why the ending is annoying to many loyal viewers. Not because people want a HEA. No, it’s because it does not make logical sense. After so many on again off agains you’d think Ted & Robin would not go down this path once more.

Also, just because Robin’s is in a place in her life where she’s gotten to travel and focus on her career, does NOT mean she’s ready to be a mom or stepmom or settle down (especially if the kids were at a younger age than teens). She didn’t settle down when it was her and Barney. What makes people think that she’s willing to give that all up now. Because she’s older in the last scene? Older, yes, but she was still working. Even if she were ready to settle down, Ted and Robin fundamentally cannot work as a couple. If the series had continued they would not have made it. Not to say that you get only one “The One” per lifetime, but as far as what we’re shown in the series, Tracy is the only person in Ted’s life that fulfills that role. Maybe someone else can, but it is definitely not Robin. Besides the fact that their characters are just not functional together, when Ted asked Robin if she loved him that last time – she said NO and MEANT it. Would Tracy had said no to Ted if he spilled out his heart to her – that answer is pretty obvious. Love and people are always changing but Ted and Robin will forever be a mismatch. Ted and Robin are more in love with the idea of being together, than actually being together. Especially Robin who realizes she wants someone only when she think they might not be available anymore. That should tell you everything about why they can’t work and why the last scene with the blue horn caused many eyes to roll.

They both had dreams, but one was always willing to give it up while the other didn’t (Robin’s career vs Ted’s want of children). I guess what I’m trying to say is that Ted loved her more than she loved him. And I think that’s unfair to them both – both partners must be willing to give themselves fully emotionally. That half way stuff does not work. Robin could love someone who supported her career, lifestyle choices, and travel. But she chose to stay blinded by the idea of being with Ted. The ‘idea’, not actually being with him. Ted and Robin deserve to be in love again, but they’re definitely not going to find what they want within each other. Planning out the series at the beginning to end this way, didn’t take into account all the stories and character build ups and couplings and breakups that indicated at every turn that these two don’t belong together. I think it’s a disservice to viewers to think we wouldn’t be able to tell this obvious plot hole was thrown in because they wanted the twist, and wanted to keep that scene at the end. By “twist” I don’t mean Tracy dying. Everyone dies at some point, she just left early. I mean Robin x Ted at the end specifically was a plot hole.

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