I CAN’T EVEN TALK ABOUT IT.
I just—I can’t—I don’t even—I WHY?
I know there are those brave dissenters who feel last night’s episode was a fitting end, the culminating point in a full, nine-year circle. Only it wasn’t. What it was was a testament to why you shouldn’t stick to your guns, why a seven-year-old plan might not be the best option, why a whole series dedicated to its characters growing and changing instead ended by not letting the characters grow and actually devolving them where every experience and lesson was completely ignored and spat upon all in the service of this, an ending rendered inane and pathetic by every moment it chose to ignore.
Was it possible to have a fitting, satisfying end to a show with this much focus on its own endgame? Maybe, maybe not. But this was not that. This was a fitting, satisfying end to season two, the last time this made sense. Because after that they spent seven years dedicated to how much Robin doesn’t love Ted, right down to last week’s episode. This was not a wonderful love story of two people finally finding one another. It was the story of a strong woman finally scared enough to consider the safe choice, then deciding she is happy to settle after spending the last 20 years alone, rarely even seeing her best friends. And while Barney’s revelation that a daughter was the true love of his life was the sweetest moment in the finale, forgive me for finding it a bit abrupt, rushed and slightly hollow following three years of him being “hopelessly, irretrievably in love with her more than she knows” with a woman then watching his marriage, one that followed an entire season of buildup, dispatched with little fanfare in the first half hour.
Speaking of dispatched with little fanfare, pour some out for the titular Tracy.
That is not to say there wasn’t some charm to the end and its mirror of the pilot. But it felt like a false ode to the Ted Mosbys—don’t worry, safe choices. Eventually, she will realize that she should have been with you all along and not those lesser men. But she won’t, Ted Mosbys. They never do.
My favorite show ended last night. And it went out with a dull slide whistle following nine years of bombast. I am displeased. I choose instead to remember the good times. And, of that, there were many.
The lesson here? Do as every college screenwriting professor tells you and kill your darlings. Because an idea you wrote seven years ago maybe doesn’t have to be the answer. Or, if you’re desperate for a specific endgame, actually make it count. Don’t just wear the girl down till she says yes.