The finale for a series is a tricky thing to accomplish. If you know it’s coming, it’s something you have to plan which is a weird thing. With a film, the ending is definite and intentional with the initial conception of the plot; it is a singular thing. With television, if your series is lucky (or unlucky) enough to run 8, 9, or 10 years, how do you wrap that all up in an hour? You can’t. You can…but you can’t. That’s why finales are, generally, so displeasing. When you look back on a series, is the finale ever your favourite episode? Probably not.
Tonight marked the end of How I Met Your Mother’s 9 year run. It’s been…exhausting. I had a falling out with the show this year. I was initially so excited for the final season; the setting seemed original. But then it just became so grating. Admittedly, I watched maybe a handful of episodes from the final season but I planted myself on the couch for the full hour of the finale. So, let’s discuss. This is very obvious but because there are idiots out there: spoilers ahead. You were warned.
As I tweeted, I’m not mad at the finale. It was just so lazy, so obvious, and that is what is most discouraging. It’s like a tumblr fan site run but Ted & Robin “shippers” wrote the finale. Right? And I’m being kind. My timeline, and I’m assuming yours too, is filled with hate. Like, this is worse than Lost or Dexter. The problem with the finale of HIMYM is that is ended on the idea that this is what the fans wanted and what the show needed, neither of which is the case. How many times did Ted and Robin try? How many times did they try and make it work? So now it’s going to work? Which, fine, Ross and Rachel broke up and got back together 100 times, and the same case can be applied to them, sure, but at least that final season and even the season before that alluded the fact that, hey, this is what’s going to happen. And I was and remain okay with that ending. Ross and Rachel were always going to end up together because that was the truest sense for their characters. Ted and Robin being together is lazy writing, nothing more, nothing less. When the fans of your show do not want the characters together and you do so anyways, that says something. I’m sure the writers had it planned from the beginning. Actually, the final scene with the children makes the very clear…so then why give us the last 4 or 5 seasons? WHY give us the final season?
I don’t have the answers, obviously. But it’s something to think on. Will this finale age well? I don’t know. What I do know is that it doesn’t entirely tarnish the show. Those first 4-5 seasons? Gold. So good. The last few? Meh. Finales are a hard thing… This is why I, with every passing day, appreciate the episode of The Good Wife from two weeks ago (yes, that one). It shook things up. It changed the course of the characters lives. It was not lazy writing. It does not allow for a lazy ending either.