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7 Completely Absurd 'How I Met Your Mother' Theories Explaining Away the Death of the Mother

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | March 13, 2014 | Comments ()


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How I Met Your Mother comes to an end on March 31st, and many of us are trying to square what we know with how we want the series to end. Rumors have been flying for years that the final episode would see the death of The Mother, and “Vesuvius” — the episode last week — seemed to confirm that when Ted expressed sadness at the thought of a mother not being able to attend her daughter’s wedding. However, Cristin Milioti — who plays the mother — has suggested that the theory that the mother would die in the end is “insane.”

So, let’s assume she doesn’t die. What could possibly be the explanation for that statement? Here’s a round-up of half-formed and probably unlikely theories that I’m basically going to paraphrase, because they come from a variety of different sources, but mostly on Reddit.

1. We know that Lily doesn’t die because Ted has spoken about her from the present day in 2030, but what if — in 2024 — Lily has a health scare. What if she nearly dies from lung cancer, because of all the times that she has smoked while Marshall is away. In this case, the mother missing her daughter’s wedding would be threat of Lily missing Daisy’s wedding.

2. What if it’s The Mother’s own mother that didn’t attend the wedding of Ted and The Mother, maybe because Ted and The Mother had a baby (Penny) out of wedlock, and The Mother’s mother disowned her? If that’s the case, Ted seemed to be awfully upset over something that happened a long time ago, so that doesn’t make that much sense. It probably also wasn’t The Mother’s mother who died, either, because it’d be The Mother that got upset, and not Ted.

3. What if it’s Ted’s sister, Heather, who dies, and who can’t make it to her daughter’s wedding? That’d be weird. We haven’t seen Ted’s sister since season four, and there’s no sign of her at the wedding weekend. A corollary to that is, what if Penny was Heather’s daughter, and Ted and The Mother were raising her because Heather died?

4. What if Penny was actually Victoria’s biological daughter, and Victoria (Cupcake Girl) died and Ted and the Mother raised her?

5. It’s Ted’s Mom, Virginia, who dies before Ted and The Mother’s wedding, in which case: Boo!

6. Here’s a really insane theory that’s so obvious it MUST be true. From Reddit:

In 2016 Russia invades the US. -Putin (through cybernetic enhancements) is ruling overlord president of the US till the year 3000 -Under his reign, he creates a War on Gay marriage. -Teds daughter is gay -In fear of being round up and shipped to Antarctica, daughter decides never to get married -No wedding occurs, so neither Ted nor the Mother get to attend.

7. But what about this theory, that’s kind of been hinted at here and there. In a flash-forward sequence in a 2021 meatball prank, neither Barney nor Robin are wearing wedding rings. What if they divorced. And what if The Mother DOES die, and what if Ted is telling his kids the story of how he met their mother on the eve of his second marriage to … Robin.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • LwoodPDowd

    I posted this in response to the last episode review.

    I think I know how the series ends.

    Ok, if it's not the mom that's dead in the finale, I think it's Barney.

    Under the guise of "How I met your mother", Ted regales his children
    of the wonderful acts of their "Uncle" and his friend. When he is done,
    he asks the kids to go change and walks out of the room to the rest of
    the group consoling Robin with similar stories. I was thinking maybe
    Marshall, but he would be easier to sum up with one or two simple
    stories. Barney is too complex to define by one or two incidents,
    hence the prolonged story, and the development of his character from
    caricature to real person.

    Post credits, as they get ready to leave for the funeral, they see
    the kids telling Barney stories to Marvin and Daisy.

    He is now truly Legen----wait for it----dary.

  • goddammitmrnoodle

    I also think Barney dies because of the photo of NPH after his last HIMYM scene. Barney was in shorts. Barney said the only place he wouldn't wear a suit was a funeral. I think his friends followed his wishes and he is in *horrors* casual wear in the casket. In any case, I believe SOMEbody died because of the same reasons.

  • Jessie Coffey

    Maybe we'll never know. Milioti might be able to say that the mother doesn't die because the show just never jumps that far forward again and the hints dropped in the episode a couple of weeks ago will just roam around the Internet endlessly, floating to the surface as the subject of heated, drunken debates about what "really" happened.

  • csb

    I was thinking that maybe Ted and the Mother weren't yet married by 2024 (when the flashforward in "Vesuvius" takes place) and so Ted was getting upset about their own upcoming wedding - maybe the Mother's mother had recently died - but I'm pretty sure that in the episode that shows Ted's college reunion that he says, "I don't know where my wife is." I can't remember right now if that happens in 2020 or 2030.

  • Cree83

    The reunion took place before the events in Vesuvius, so I think the "Where's my wife?" comment was just Ted being high.

  • Three_nineteen

    As long as Robin and Barney get married, or don't get married but stay together, everyone else can die during a freak monsoon at the reception for all I care.

    By the way, in the last season episode "The Time Travelers" - the one with 20-years-from-now-Ted, 20-minutes-from-now-Barney, etc, 20-years-from-now-Barney is wearing a wedding ring.

  • Keith Ballard

    Article headlines sure like to tell me that the mother of this show died. I'd be concerned about how willing people are to spoil this show without warning if I hadn't already written it off for having a laugh track.

  • Cree83

    I think we're playing pretty fast and loose with the term "spoiler," if we're calling things that haven't even happened on the show but that fans theorize MIGHT happen spoilers.

  • Keith Ballard

    Ah, my mistake. I admittedly didn't read the article because I knew I wouldn't have the context to understand the the theories. The title without context made me think the titular character had died and we were just throwing that information around.

  • Enrique del Castillo

    I hope it's number 7, Ted is telling the story and insists on his relationship with Robin because he is marrying/dating her, since he is a widower. I would love to see the outrage of my friends and the internet

  • I really want #7 to be true for just that reason(the howls of outrage) and because I'm a horrible person.

  • If Ted ends up with Robin, we're all agreed that we're retroactively deleting all mention of this show from Pajiba, right?

  • meadowdancer

    You better! Seriously a group of friends and I have a pool going and this is the one everyone is betting on right now.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I'm kind of a very pro-archive kind of person, so I'd prefer if they remained, but you sort of penned them up in a special section where the HIMYM may not intermingle with the other stuff.

  • ZombieNurse

    The "Pajiba Restricted Section" along with books about Nicholas Flamel and pictures of Mickey Rourke with his shirt off.

  • I WILL BURN THIS WHOLE PLACE TO THE GROUND.

  • Theodora K Mullins

    And I will salt that ground so that nothing may be allowed to grow here for a thousand years!!!

  • Mrs. Julien

    Seconded.

    [searching Pajiba for site-specific definition of "quorum"]

  • Blake Shrapnel

    Fine, just keep your hands off of my damn chocolate rations.

  • Christopher Bird

    The most obvious one is the one you missed:

    8. TED is dead in the future. His kids are watching videotapes.

  • Random_Disqus_Guy

    And thats why the voice is Bob Saget! Ted actually wrote all of this info down, and the friends chipped in to hire Bob Saget to read the scripts over videotape!

    Christopher Bird, you've cracked the case!

  • Blake

    Second. That's what I'm hoping for anyways.

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