How I Met Your Mother’ finale frustration: Two endings leave viewers hanging

“How I Met Your Mother” ended its nine-season run last week following 23 episodes at the Farhampton Inn. While the show was often accused of overstaying its welcome, none of that criticism would match what followed after the series finale. “Last Forever Pt. 2” disappointed many of its fans, this writer included, and those who previously abandoned the show got the last laugh.

Here were the key problems with the finale. Note: My opinion is one of many and is, in fact, just an opinion.

Lily and Marshall: Everyone’s favorite couple got boring, which was the hidden injustice of this episode. Lily and Marshall lost a lot of the spunk we always cherished. Plus, we didn’t get enough exposure to their future. It was cool to see Marshall go up in the job world, but that’s all we found out. What did Lily do with her art career? What happened in Rome? What’s Marvin up to? These were all necessary questions that went unanswered.

Barney and Robin: Full disclosure: I’ve always been a vocal fan of Barney and Robin as a couple. However, that’s not why their sudden divorce was frustrating. The entirety of the last season was devoted to the couple’s wedding weekend, and previous seasons indicated that their marriage was more than likely inevitable.

But once that happened, the writers decided to throw away hours of work, hours of plot development and hours of convincing viewers that Barney and Robin could actually function together. The main storyline of an entire season became pointless.

I’m not saying divorce is unrealistic and that it might not have happened between two stubborn, fiercely independent people. I’m saying it was ridiculous to devote that much time to them and undo it all within minutes. They not only lost their relationship, but much of the maturity we saw them develop over the last few seasons. Rooting for them now seems like a waste of time.

The Mother: Tracy McConnell was the mother we deserved, one who was worth the wait and impossible not to fall in love with. We invested in her over the course of season nine and anxiously waited for the moment when she and Ted finally met. And in the writers’ defense, that scene at the train station was stunning. Their first exchange was quirky and adorable, and you knew it would lead to something beautiful.

We do find out that Tracy gets sick and dies at some point, making Ted a widow and single father. Her death received some criticism after the finale, but I didn’t mind. If the show stopped with that, it would have provided a touching context for Ted’s story.

Ted and Robin: But it didn’t end there. Instead, viewers find out that the entire show isn’t about how Ted met Tracy. His story was designed to get Penny’s and Luke’s permission (Ted’s children) to ask Robin out. In that moment, everything we knew about Ted became a lie. Even though it’s possible to love more than one person during a lifetime, and there’s always someone else out there, Ted taught us the importance of “the one.” He brought out the romantic side of viewers that want to believe in true love, even if they think it doesn’t exist. And to most of us, the mother was his end game. If Robin was his fated lover (a laughable thought), the writers shouldn’t have spent so much time rallying against their relationship.

The episode did have some good moments, the best of which was probably when Barney met his daughter. It was also nice to see the group reconvene despite drifting apart, because at the end of the day, their friendship was the most meaningful part of the show.

Unfortunately, these highlights were buried and served only to remind us how much better the last episode could have been. Most people agree that “How I Met Your Mother” became tiring, but let’s not forget that at its best, it was fun, touching and full of great stories. And it’s a shame that the finale was the furthest thing from legendary.