'How I Met Your Mother' recap: Mom's the word

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Image Credit: CBS

Tonight’s episode of How I Met Your Mother may have stopped short of confirming our worst fears about the Mother’s fate in this heartfelt tale, but it certainly planted enough seeds to have me preparing for a real gut-punch come finale time.

For details, read on for the recap…

The episode began in the year 2024. Ted and the Mother made their way inside the Inn after braving a terrible snowstorm, a journey that reminded Ted of a story (of course). A few of them, actually. But before he got too deep into one of his anecdotes — about the time a three-day snowstorm paralyzed the city — the Mother stopped him; she’s heard this one already. (So have we.) Taken aback, Ted lamented, “You know every one of my stories….I guess it’s official. We’re an old married couple.” Joyful shouts ensued as they exclaimed, “We did it!” Only Ted and his perfect other half would see such a moment as cause for celebration. (But that’s the point of these adorable, carefully placed scenes, right?) But their celebration would be short-lived as Ted launched into another story — one The Mother believed was new.

In flashback, we returned to Barney and Robin’s wedding day where Robin’s sister Katie (Lucy Hale) and Robin were, naturally, playing a game of in-door hotel room hockey while Lily attempted in vain to get Robin to start acting like a “normal” bride. A scrapbook of memories didn’t do the trick nor did Lily’s attempt to wear a wedding dress to Robin’s ceremony. Robin seemed unshakable. She preferred to sit around watching Wedding Bride Too (!!) and drinking. She was just not One of Those brides, she said.

Elsewhere, Ted helped Barney pick a suit for his wedding — a task that proved to be harder than you’d think. Even with his collection of suits on hand, Barney had a hard time finding a suit without sexual baggage — or one without a fuzzy clown wig of hook-up past hidden in the jacket pocket. (Don’t ask.) And wearing the suit that had been custom-made by T. Gunn himself for the big day was out of the question, Barney said, because it wasn’t comfortable. When he put it on, it didn’t feel right. That’s when Ted realized Barney’s suit stress stemmed from deeper insecurities, so he reasoned with him in one of my favorite sincere Ted-Barney scenes in recent memory. Ted told Barney that just because you’re not used to something doesn’t mean it’s a bad fit; everything gets broken in. “It’s a suit you’ve never worn before — a suit you never dreamed you’d wear. All of this suit’s dreams are still ahead of it,” Ted said. “Picture it: the ceremony….she walks down the aisle. You say your vows. You go to the reception. And just like magic, you realize, it’s a perfect fit.” After listening intently, Barney stared into the mirror and said admitted Ted was right. “This is the one,” he said.

After solving the suit dilemma, Barney and Ted headed back to the hotel room, where Robin and Lily were still bickering about Robin’s lack of emotion. Eventually it was Lily who put the whole wedding into perspective: With Ted leaving for Chicago and all their lives headed in different directions, there was no telling when they’d get another chance to be together. (The same can be said for us and the HIMYM gang, honestly, and that very thought made me fairly teary-eyed during this scene.) The gang took a second to absorb the realization, and with that, the argument was over. Future Ted characterized the moment best when he said that sometimes things are “too intense to deal with” and that often, “it’s best…” “…to leave it unspoken and just enjoy each other’s company instead,” the Mother finished.

So that’s what the gang did.  The boys left the room and Robin exited shortly after to go get some ice. But as she entered the hall, she was greeted by a face that shattered her cool exterior — her mom (guest star Tracey Ullman!). “Of course she showed up,” the Mother said in 2024, as Ted recounted the tale. “What mother is going to miss her daughter’s wedding?” That’s when Ted’s face crumbled. (AND SO DID MINE!)

We were left to assume that there’s a chance the Mother might miss her daughter’s wedding. Why? We don’t know. Will she? We don’t know that either. But I’m going to assume the worst because further evidence presented in the episode — like when the Mother told Ted she didn’t want him to be “a guy who lives in his stories” and that “life only moves forward” —  seemed to hint at a tragic end.

At this point, I think it’s safe to say that everyone who has subscribed to the How I Met Your Now-Dead Mother theory has at least part of it correct. Something’s wrong with the mother. But she could be just sick. Or in surgery as the story is being told. Or about to get launched into space for a dangerous Earth-saving mission. (That’d be awesome.) With just a few episodes left, we’re bound to get more clues sooner rather than later, and for that, I’m grateful. I feel a little more prepared now.

Until it’s time to learn the truth, HIMYM, I’m just going to enjoy your company.

Best moment: Ted finding out Barney had booked an entire room for his suits under the name Susan Tup (a.k.a. Sue Tup — say it slowly)

Best moment runner up: Everything about Wedding Bride Too, with special recognition to the addition of a character named Narshall.

Best moment III: Revenge of the Sith: “Swarlize Theron.”

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