This is a recap. There are spoilers.
The Season 8 finale of “How I Met Your Mother” did something refreshingly unexpected — after eight seasons of teases, jukes and other delays, the final scene introduced us to Ted’s wife-to-be.
Say hello to the Mother, or “Girl With the Yellow Umbrella” as she’s billed in the credits. The character name isn’t yet another fakeout — a CBS rep confirms to Zap2it that she is, in fact, the woman Ted has been telling us about for eight years.
The actress’ name is Cristin Milioti. She’s a Tony nominee this year for her work in the musical “Once.” You may also know her from an episode of “30 Rock” (“TGS Hates Women”) where she played the Sarah Silverman-esque writer/comedian Abby Flynn, or from a few episodes of “The Sopranos” in which she played Johnny Sack’s daughter.
It’s great that the audience finally got to see something other than the Mother’s feet. As for the rest of “Something New,” it was, unfortunately, a lot of stuff we’ve seen before.
Despite the multiple glimpses of Barney and Robin’s wedding the show offered up earlier this season, we end Season 8 56 hours before the wedding, with everyone, including TGWTYE, just starting to make the trek to Farhampton for the weekend festivities. And they’re all taking a ton of baggage with them.
Ted had his feelings for Robin bubble up yet again last week, and is fighting to control his urge to be the white knight by showing up with Robin’s locket* while simultaneously planning to sell the house he restored and move to Chicago (“It’s like a Cleveland-y New York!”). Robin is getting cold feet too**. Marshall is offered a judgeship just before he and Lily are set to move to Italy — and accepts it without telling her, because it’s “face-to-face news.”
(*We learn via flashback that a drunk Robin dug it up when Ted was about to marry Stella, figuring she wouldn’t need it again. So four years after her last appearance, the show is still giving us reasons to hate Stella.)
(**This is not really news, considering the wedding flash-forwards have her confessing her reservations to Ted.)
Marshall’s decision is the biggest head-scratcher, even if the “in-person news” thing was established earlier in the episode (albeit in service of a joke far more than a major plot point). Should he discuss the opportunity in person and at length with his wife? Absolutely. But, you know, a little phone call to say, “Hey, Lilypad, I got some big news. We need to talk about this when I get back,” would have been the normal, decent, not-servicing-plot-over-character thing to do.
Instead, though, the beginning (at least) of the final season will offer us a lot of false conflict over what will happen next. My fear is that it’s going to be a very long 56 hours before we make it to the point where Ted and TGWTYE actually meet.
And that is the biggest problem “HIMYM” now has. When the show revealed the date of Robin and Barney’s wedding back in “Band or DJ” earlier this season, it didn’t explicitly promise a meeting between Ted and his future wife by the end of the season. But it did strongly imply it was coming sooner than later.
Now, we have a whole wedding weekend of cold feet, cross purposes and secrets to process before Ted looks up at the bass player on the bandstand. The “HIMYM” writers could decide to tell that story in a couple of episodes at the start of next season — or they could decide that Future Ted will tell his kids to “listen closely — this is really important” and drag and drag those 56 hours out over most of the final season.
The show gave us part of what we wanted in “Something New” — we’ve glimpsed the Mother. But it’s not called “How the Audience Met Your Mother.” Now that we’ve seen her, it would be great to spend most of the final season getting to know her. I just fear it won’t happen. Ted has made such a fuss about their story all these years — it would be nice to see why.
What did you think of the “How I Met Your Mother” season finale?