How I Met Your Mother Review: Chug and Choke

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For fans invested in shows like How I Met Your Mother, with storied runs lasting years, the title of each episode sometimes becomes an afterthought.

So when looking at the name of How I Met Your Mother Season 9 Episode 19, I didn't really give it a second thought.

It wasn't until the very end of the half hour that I realized, just how amazing a choice the title was.

As Ted and the mother cemented their "Old Married Couple" status, we were treated to some great flashbacks. Ted recounted his list of worst winters and the mother introduced us to the legend of Dong Nose.

There was some concern, though, mixed in with the laughter, as the mother expressed her fear that Ted would become one of those men who lives in his stories. She emphasized the importance of continuing to move forward and live on.

Her words may have caught the attention of some, but the focus quickly switched to the story of broken lamps on the morning of Barney and Robin's wedding. A second set of memorable moments was referenced in The Wedding Bride Too

Then Ted walked into Susan Tup's room. Susan Tup, Sue Tup, suit up! What a great way to start what would be Barney's, OMG-I'm-getting-married moment. He struggled to accept one last time that all his wild nights as a bachelor were behind him. Those conquests represented by all his suits.

Barney resisted the new suit he had custom made and even went as far as to say it would look better on Ted. The suit, of course, was a metaphor for Robin.

Ted: She walks down the aisle. You say your vows, you go to the reception, you have your first dance. Before you know it, just like magic, you realize, it's a perfect fit.
Barney: You're right Ted, this is the one.

Robin's wedding day wake up came when she ran into her mother while going to get some ice. Her appearance surely surprised most viewers, but not the mother.

When Ted challenged her claim, she asked Ted what kind of mother would ever miss the wedding of her daughter. And as Ted choked up, so did I.  It was at that moment I realized the mother was sick and is most likely dead when Ted sets in on his tale of how they met.

Ted collected himself better than I did and changed subjects back to something light. The quick shift in subject matter echoed the realization they made together earlier.

Ted: It's funny. In a moment like that, when what's really happening is too intense to deal with, sometimes it's best...
The Mother: To leave it unspoken and just enjoy each others company instead.

Like the victims of Mt. Vesuvius, I was caught off guard by the scene. There I sat, mouth agape, frozen in time, as the realization hit me in the heart with the force of an erupting volcano.

This will be an episode I go back to watch a few times because so much of what was said early on echoes much louder now. If there was still any doubt in my mind about what I had just seen, it faded as I listened to the lyrics of Bob Dylan's song "If You See Her Say Hello," which closed out the episode.

In the end, it was one of my favorite episodes of How I Met Your Mother Season 9, as I chugged back some memories and choked back some tears.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (96 Votes)

I think the setting behind this episode is very simple. Ted and the mother have gone back to the place they first met, away from the kids, to spend some time together alone as it is likely to be their last opportunity. Some people's thoughts that she might already be dead, that she hasn't aged, and that the guy who works at the inn was wearing the same clothes and that therefore this is Ted living in his stories, or something like that, is all a bit of a stretch. Why can't it be the very simple situation above? For those that don't think this refers to the mother, and that it might mean Ted's mother or Robin possibly, there is another simple answer. The phrase used was "what mother would miss her daughter's wedding?". For a start, ted is not his mother's daughter, so it is not Ted's mother that it refers to. Robin cannot have children, that has been heavily emphasized, therefore she cannot have a daughter, so it does not refer to Robin. As far as we ever know, Lily only has a son, so no daughter their means it cannot refer to Lily either. Someone suggested it could be the mother's mother. But as the scene is set in 2024 (If I remember correctly), and I assume their wedding was at least 8 years before that, it must be a very sore point for it to bring Ted to tears that much later. A bit of a stretch. It must therefore be the daughter that we met way back in season one episode one: Ted's. THE mother is the one with the terminal illness. For those that feel that this was just false hope for the happiness everyone wishes Ted, and that the writers are being cruel and swaying away from the point of the series, I have to disagree with you. It is definitely a crying shame that the mother has a terminal illness, but Ted found the long awaited "the one", and from the little we have seen of her, and the screen time they have together, I already love her and think they are prefect together. So let's be happy that he had this for 10 whole years (although we wish it was longer) and has two children now. And maybe, after searching for 9 full years, and loving each other for 10, she has sadly passed away, so he has sat down his children, and told them 9 years worth of stories, storied he loves, with every last tiny detail, about how he met their mother, that all three have now sadly lost. :( It feels like a full circle, and while sad, is quite beautiful. That's my thoughts anyway, after all, we could watch next week and see I'm completely wrong!!

Fifty after reading the comments I got that the Mother dying can mean to THE MOTHER in the story..... It is also true that Ted seems to age but the mother doesn't. That would be an heart stopping ending... Can be a real achievement for the creators also because it will be the shock in the story!!!


Did anyone else notice that in Ep. 2 "Coming back" Ted is doing the crosswords and thinks that "Vesuvius" (the title of this last ep.) is the right answer but it doesn't fit? Trying to figure out what this could mean...


I wish the Mother didn't die before Ted told his story on how he met their mother to his kids. Then again, they were too happy when they realized they were "an old married couple" just ten years after their marriage. It's like they set on a goal to achieve it early enough before... and then the way Ted reacted when she said what mother wouldn't miss her daughter's wedding day. :( If the Mother was sick, I wish she gets suddenly better, like by a miracle, and that's why Ted told the kids on how he met their mother. Just a positive thought. Side note, LOL at Barney calling Tim Gunn Timmy G. Yeah they are close like that.


I just have a hard time believing the mother is going to die. All I've heard Carter and Bays say in interviews is how much fans are going to love the finale. I can't think of too many people who would really love it if the Mother died. Seems like they're just trynig to trick us or get our brains working now. Some of these other theories make a little more sense to me. I was thinking maybe Ted's mother had passed or something and missed their own wedding. Robin passing also makes sense but I don't think that would make fans all that happy either. It's really hard to say, but I just can't see them doing that to us. With that said, this was a great episode. I love Robin's cool demeanor about her wedding day because it's just so Robin. The moment with her mother showing up was really touching. It's nice to see her let down her walls sometimes. Barney's trouble with his suits was funny as well. And to hear they made a Wedding Bride 2 was pretty hysterical. Especially Marshall's reaction after he realized he was portrayed in it! Anyway, I really hope these reviews and assumptions are wrong. Because who wants to have a sad ending to their favorite series? Certainly not me!


The mother is gonna got to participiate in a mission to mars.


This was a great review - really tied it all together. Can I let off some steam though, please? Never has a show simultaneously angered the hell out of me and moved me as How I Met Your Mother. On the one hand - as far as the characters are concerned, my heart seriously hurts for Ted, knowing how long he waited to find "the one" only for it all to seemingly end in tragedy. Josh Radnor really nailed the emotion - I almost cried with him. On the other hand - Carter and Bays are JERKS. I'm so angry. Seriously, the whole point of the show was a man going through the ringer to find his happy ending. And this twist only leaves us with two possibilities: 1. The mother dies - meaning the whole point of the show has been ridiculously rescinded to Ted's heartbreak after building false hope for 9 bloody years. It's an intentional shot to the heart with no lesson, consequence, meaning or stakes. It feels cheap and made me feel used for the last 9 years. 2. There's gonna be a cop-out or a misdirect - which is even more enraging. You can't elicit that kind of emotion just for kicks. (sigh) I'm sorry. Carry on.


Anyone else notice that the Front Desk Clerk at the Inn didn't age in the "present"? Also, he was wearing the same tie, as in the flashback. Wondering if the whole "present" section was in Ted's head...

@ MattAllen81

I noticed that too, and also the mother looked like she hadn't aged at all either. Don't know what it could mean though.....

Drea xoxo
@ Jen

that's true and I wonder if the scenes with the mother at the inn are too what he would say if perhaps she was alive... i think my theory of before that she is terminally ill or perhaps even passed by the ending of the story is true.... i don't want it to be but i think it is =(


i liked it alot


Robin fans have liked to theorize that the mother dies in the end and Ted ends up with Robin. The beginning of this episode shows us that in this time frame the mother is alive because the waiter talks to her. Ted is upset about something either the death of his mother or "the mothers" mother not being at the wedding or the death of Robin. I think given that most of his story is about his life before the mother it is extremely unlikely that the mother is dead. Its more likely that he is sick or something because he is sharing his life with them. If the mother had died it would make more sense to remember all the fun times she had with the children not how his friends had a slap bet.

@ Brick

Definitely agree with that. If it's a story being told to his children about their deceased mother it would include more of her. Even still, with 5 episodes left, we've heard so little about them as a couple. I could just be hoping here though!

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How I Met Your Mother Season 9 Episode 19 Quotes

Barney: I need you to help me pick the suit I'm gonna wear when I walk down the aisle.
Ted: Ok, Robin walks down the aisle you wait at the end of it.
Barney: Ok then the suit I'll be wearing when they all stand as I enter the chapel.
Ted: Also her.

Is it weird to get married in a suit that you may have worn while banging a female rodeo clown? I know what you're wondering. Yes the carpet matched the drapes.