After nine seasons Ted finally met the mother of his children on the How I Met Your Mother series finale, only to end up with someone else.
Below, TV Fanatics Doug Wolfe, Leigh Raines, Robin Harry, Michelle Calbert and Christine Orlando discuss their favorite scenes, the shocking twists and the most disappointing moments after watching "Last Forever" Parts 1 and 2."
What was your favorite scene?
Doug: The scene with Barney and the baby brought tears to my eyes. Neil Patrick Harris played it so well - and you could tell that he was remembering his own children. The slow dawning of this precious soul and what she means to him was visible. I've been there too. That scene is so accurate it can't help but compel.
Leigh: I loved that Tracey persuaded Robin to come to the wedding. Most exes would have been intimidated to invite their fiance's ex to their wedding, but she knew it was important.
Robin: Definitely Barney meeting his daughter for the first time. Neil Patrick Harris absolutely nailed that scene. You could almost see Barney transform into a different kind of person.
Michelle: Barney taking one look at his baby girl and immediately saying the line that he thought he never would say and actually mean. It was beautiful and NPH broke my heart with the look in his eyes. I was crying as hard as he was when it was over.
Christine: Yeah, have to say that Barney stole the hour when he met his baby girl. In a show about Ted looking for the love of his life, I don't know what it says that the one thing that made most everyone smile in the finale was Barney and his baby. I also loved Barney chastising the girls in the bar. If there was any doubt that Ella had changed Barney, that definitely wiped it all away and made me laugh all at once.
What surprised you the most about the finale?
Doug: Honestly, I never expected the Mother to die. With all of the buildup and symbolism (including the yellow umbrella), I expected theirs to be one of the great loves you hear about. Her death seemed way too convenient - especially once we figured out why the writers wanted it.
Leigh: The scene with Barney and his daughter. I just didn't expect it at all. It was really beautiful.
Robin: Barney and Robin's divorce. I mean, come on. They spent an ENTIRE SEASON beating it into us that, despite their obvious mismatch and differences, they were supposed to be together. All to undo it in just 10 minutes!? Seriously?!
Michelle: I could not believe it when Barney and Robin's marriage started going downhill so fast. We endured an entire season of their wedding and then there are already signs of trouble just a couple months in? It made me want to scream at my TV.
Christine: What was the point of spending an entire season showing us how much Barney and Robin loved one another only to have Robin choose her career over Barney and have them divorce 10 minutes later? I loved this couple and couldn't wait for them to get married. I never saw their breakup coming and it felt like I'd wasted an entire season of TV as their relationship crumbled between commercial breaks. What a waste.
What was the biggest disappointment, if any?
Doug: Hands down, it was Barney and Robin getting a divorce. After their romantic build up over so many episodes, culminating in Barney's change in lifestyle and sincere destruction of the Bro Code, their divorce felt like a ripoff. A complete and utter waste of potential. It made me dislike both Barney and Robin, just a bit.
Leigh: That they killed the awesome mother! The show was called How I Met Your Mother not "How I Went Back To Aunt Robin After She Peaced Me 20 Times." It just felt cheated in a way. Like what was the point of the whole story of how Ted met the kids' mother?
Robin: Tracy's death. Knowing it was coming didn't make it better. To me, her death cheapened Ted's whole journey to find her. She basically became a plot device to give Ted the children he was telling the story to, and then killed off so that the writers could meet their goal of having Robin and Ted be together. So much for the journey mattering more than the destination.
Michelle: The fact that Ted didn't end up with Tracy. I, too, had a strong feeling that it was coming, but I still watched the finale with the hope that I was wrong and that somehow, some way, everything would turn out alright for them. It made all the past seasons feel pointless. I mean, they could have put Ted and Robin together in the first episode.
Christine: Setting aside Barney and Robin's divorce and even the mother's death, it was Ted going back to Robin. They'd spend 9 seasons showing us why it wouldn't work and that they were better as friends. And Robin became such a selfish loner in that last hour that it was hard to care what happened to her, so when Ted went running back to her I found it completely disappointing.
Over the entire series, who was your favorite couple?
Doug: Lily and Marshall. They went through so much and seemed to stick together no matter what. Their love for each other, while cloying sometimes, was real. I like how they still get excited about each other, after all this time.
Leigh: Agreed. Definitely Lily and Marshall. They were best friends above all else and that's what made them the best couple, their support for each other. Plus they always kept it fresh and had an awesome dynamic.
Robin: Lily and Marshall!! They fought, they broke up, they had their differences...but they always made it work. They accepted each other's changes and quirks, and they were never afraid to face the storms head-on. Lilypad and Marshmallow are one of my favorite TV couples of all time.
Michelle: I have always loved Lily and Marshall and they were definitely the bright point throughout the finale. Their relationship is one that I've always admired and I would love to have one like it myself someday. That is what I think true love looks like.
Christine: I had such high hopes for Barney and Robin and Ted And Tracy. In the end there was only Lily and Marshall. They were the one real couple on the show who endured the ups and downs of a relationship but never lost sight that they loved one another and wanted a life together.
What one thing would you have changed?
Doug: I would have had Barney and Robin at least make an attempt to work things out. Their ending was too facile, and too convenient. Look at Lily and Marshall: they had competing interests too, but they managed to figure it out. Ugh.
Leigh: They spent a season or more building up to Robin and Barney's wedding only to have them get divorced, what like 10 minutes in? Also I was really surprised how much Robin withdrew from the entire group. Also I wanted the mother to live. Honestly I would've changed a lot, sorry!
Robin: Just one? In that case, make it the entire last season. If Robin and Ted were always end-game, the season could have been used to tell WAY better and more relevant stories. For example, it would have been nice to see Ted grieve and be ready to move on, instead of jumping from her death straight to, "I met your mom, I loved her, she died...can I go give Aunt Robin that blue French horn I've been holding on to for 25 years?"
Michelle: The ending, absolutely. The whole part where Tracy got sick and died and Ted's kids figured out he liked Robin and he went to her with the blue French horn. I would chop all that out and make it end with Ted finding Tracy and the two of them living happily ever after.
Christine: I want to change so much of this hour but mostly Barney and Robin's divorce. It felt like such a slap in the face after all of the buildup to their wedding. And if they had remained together then that would get rid of Ted running back to Robin at the end which the more I think about the more I despise.
Any final thoughts and how would you rate the series finale of How I Met Your Mother?
Doug: I'd give it a B, at best. I mean, it all made sense at the end. The kids' perception about how Ted talked so much about Robin but hardly said anything at all about the Mother was telling and right on. (Even though I feel irritated by it). The writers knew what they were doing and clearly had the end in mind. So they succeeded in their goal. They don't get an A because they also succeeded in disappointing so many hard core fans, including me.
Leigh: C. I agree with Doug about how the kids' perception was spot on. I see why the writers did what they did. While it wasn't my preference, I'm really split on what was the truly the most fitting way to end the show. On one hand it was supposed to be about how Ted met the Mother. On the other hand, it honored a very long on and off relationship between him and Robin. I figure a C is my way of saying it was like eh.
Robin: I give it a C+...and the only reason it passes is because the cast did an amazing job with what they were given. I love the cast and I will miss the characters. But as a culmination of the past 9 years, it not only fails, but taints a good portion of the show's existence. The show went on too long, and Ted and Robin changed too much over the years to be a viable option as a couple.
Michelle: For me it was a D-. Once Barney and Robin got divorced and the gang was split up, it wasn't nearly as much fun to watch. I hoped the ending would save it, but that was a wash for me as well, which made the overall experience a pretty bad one.
Christine: C-. The cast was wonderful but the ending was horrible. So much build up for Ted and the Mother and Barney and Robin's wedding was dismantled in minutes. As Robin says above, it taints a good portion of the show and makes me not want to watch the reruns which I've always loved. Very disappointing.