04/01/2014 11:50 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Best Of The 'How I Met Your Mother' Finale Recaps


So, after nine years of feelings and slap bets, TV's longest-running meet-cute has come to an end. Recappers were split over the ending, with some complaining the finale "bailed on the entire show" and others arguing that very purpose of the "How I Met Your Mother" saga was to place Ted and Robin together.

To help you grapple with the infuriation or exuberance you might be feeling, we bring you a recap of the recaps:

'HIMYM' made a striking, memorable promise in the pilot -- that Robin was not the mother -- and this feels like a promise kept only by a technicality. Congratulations on exploiting that loophole. A victory for pedantry, just as the most irritating, least lovable side of Ted Mosby would appreciate. - Vulture

Ted Mosby gets no respect. Conventional wisdom pegs him as a blank void in the middle of his own story, eclipsed by the more colorful characters around him, doomed to run on a romantic treadmill until the writers allow him to fulfill his destiny ... But really, for me, there’s only one thing that needs to happen to fulfill the show’s promise. Ted needs to be happy. - A.V. Club

'How I Met Your Mother' did not bury the lead. Aggressively moving into the future with flash-forwards earlier in the episode, the finale ripped the Band-Aid and showed that sitcom happiness isn't real or permanent. - The Hollywood Reporter

'HIMYM' is a series about a group of five people who don’t really attain the goals they set out for themselves in the first season ... about people who learn to be OK with compromise -- at least a little bit -- and come to realize that not getting what you want can sometimes be a wonderful thing. It’s filled with bittersweet melancholy at its best and its worst ... [But] at the crucial moment when 'HIMYM' could have truly left its mark, it choked and tried to split the difference. - Grantland

Because they wanted to make their pilot seem unpredictable enough to catch the attention of a CBS development exec way back in the script stage, they added the Aunt Robin gag at the end. But they couldn't have known at the time just how good Radnor and Smulders would be together, how much the fans would want to see them be together, and how hard it would be to come up with another pairing that equaled it. - HitFix

The name of the show is 'How I Met Your Mother,' so, eventually, She had to come into the picture. But, if you ask me, all Ted had to do was meet her. The pair’s eventual domesticity and the tragedy that followed need not have been a part of this story. (For that matter, Barney’s grounding was also non-essential.) The best sitcoms escape the gravitational pull of their initial premise. 'HIMYM' was ultimately about the time of one’s life –- in this case, the thirties. Anyone who has lived through those years knows darker, different, possibly funnier times may follow. Those years should probably get their own show. - Salon

Look, for as long as the series has gone on, we’d known that the mother herself was always intended to be more of an intangible idea of Ted’s search for the right woman, while the series itself focused on the dynamics of its core four characters. And thus, the Mother would never become the true focus of the story, especially as the very pilot of the series focused on Ted’s interest in Robin. It’s a long and winding tale that doesn’t really have anything specific to say about the titular relationship, but rather to remind us that time goes on, and things change. - Screen Crush

Until this point, I think the gang had been on board with Barney 'being himself' ... [but after the surprise pregnancy], he was not happy. In fact, he was kind of a jerk about it. He denied paternity, claimed his life was over, blah blah. Over the years, we’ve tolerated and, honestly, come to love Barney for the slimy dude he could be but only because we thought that at his heart was as big as his…nevermind. I don’t like where that was going. In the moments leading up to the birth, though, I didn’t like the Barney I was seeing. The beauty of Barney -- and, really, Neil Patrick Harris -- is that he always knew how to reel us back in. This was no exception. - Entertainment Weekly

Cristin Milioti was great, but the character was never one we could root for. Thankfully, instead of trying to force us to fall in love with a new character, the show did what it did best in its finale: called back earlier plots and storylines, rewarding longtime viewers for paying attention to the major details. And in the process, the Ted of the pilot was able to keep his romantic side, but to face reality, with a little help from his children, who kindly told him what we already knew: 'This is the story of how you’re totally in love with Aunt Robin.' - Slate




"How I Met Your Mother" Series Finale