Last night’s season finale of “How I Met Your Mother” was a nice, fairly low-key send-off to end the season. There were no weddings (or non-weddings), babies (not yet anyway), or big character changes, but incremental progress toward that elusive mid-30s maturity was made. More importantly, last night’s finale didn’t focus on Ted or bring up the woman with the yellow umbrella or even delve at all into the series’ long arc. It’s really gotten to the point where most of us just don’t care who the Mother is, and unless that revelation is made, the less said about her the better (and Ted’s poor kids, who have to be wondering when their Dad will finally get to the point already).
It was also an episode with a few nice moments. The major plotline revolved around Marshall and Lily, who had decided a couple of episodes back that they wouldn’t try to conceive until they spotted the fifth doppelgänger, a pretty nifty season-long running gag where each of the characters has his or her own doppelgänger running around New York City (I like lesbian Robin the best). The missing one was Barney’s, who Marshall and Lily eventually found driving a taxi cab, hastening their decision to conceive, as Lily reasoned that it was fate driving them toward parenthood. Marshall soon discovered, however, that the doppelgänger was not a doppelgänger, but Barney himself, using the cab driver cover in an attempt to sleep with a woman from every country in the world. Marshall withholds that information because he wants to have a child, but Lily finds out, amusing sitcom contrivance, etc. etc., Barney then purposely attempts to become his own doppelgänger in order to push Lily toward conception (showing some maturity there), but Lily doesn’t buy it. She’s waiting for a sign.
Four months later, Lily finally does spot Barney’s doppelgänger — a hot dog vendor who looks nothing like Barney, which is when we realize that Lily wants Marshall to stick a baby in her belly. “Ultimately, we only see what we want to see when we’re ready to see it.”
A sweet moment, in the best kind of silly Marshall and Lily way.
Meanwhile, the other subplot revolved around Robin, who was offered an anchor gig in Chicago, and after weighing whether or not to take it, decided against her career and in favor of her romantic relationship with Anchor Tool. She declined the job, but then Anchor Tool took the gig, forcing Robin to have to move back into Ted’s place, where they nearly shared a drunken kiss. And what prevented Ted and Robin from kissing? Ted’s silly Ellen Degeneres blond hair, which ended up being a nice gag.
“And that’s the story of how dying my hair blond kept us from doing something we’d regret that night.”
There was nothing momentous in last night’s episode, although I suppose it does set up next season, which will probably focus first on the conception and then spend much of the year on Lily’s pregnancy before arriving at the finale, where Lily — no doubt — will finally have that baby. Ideally, Ted will also find his future wife, Barney will complete his conquest of a woman in every country and return to Robin, and next year will be the final season of “HIMYM.” It seems like a good stopping point. At this point, there is nothing left to do with Ted, except have him be a bystander in his own show until the writers finally begin to steer him toward the home stretch. The people around him can evolve and mature, but there’s simply nothing left for Ted. That’s a huge part of the reason that his character doesn’t seem to work that well anymore. He’s static, while everyone else around him passes him by.
One more season, CBS. Do it for Ted so that we can like him again before it’s too late.