For proof of that, we needn’t look further than Barney, who in the minutes that followed, seemed to move backwards in every way possible. As I mentioned, we saw him up to his old tricks, but when I realized he’d made a Playbook 2: Electric Bang-a-loo, that was just sad. (Lily pointed that out, too.)
Until this point, I think the gang had been on board with Barney “being himself.” In fact, in an earlier scene, Barney claimed “Look, I know there was a time when I seemed like I was capable of going the distance. But if it wasn’t going to happen with Robin, it just wasn’t going to happen with anyone. I’m never going to be the guy who meets a girl and from the first time I see her is just like, ‘You are the love of my life. Everything I have and everything I am is yours forever.’…That’s not me…Can I please just be me?” Judge Marshall claimed he’d “allow it.” Because what was the alternative?
The thing is, Barney ate his words in 2020.
Months earlier, Barney, per his Playbook 2, attempted something called “The Perfect Month” — a sequel of sorts to his “Perfect Week.” The point of this grand plan? To sleep with 31 women in 31 days. Unfortunately for Barney, he apparently only practiced safe sex on 30 of those 31 days. No. 31 got knocked up.
He was not happy. In fact, he was kind of a jerk about it. He denied paternity, claimed his life was over, blah blah. Over the years, we’ve tolerated and, honestly, come to love Barney for the slimy dude he could be but only because we thought that at his heart was as big as his…nevermind. I don’t like where that was going. In the moments leading up to the birth, though, I didn’t like the Barney I was seeing.
The beauty of Barney — and, really, Neil Patrick Harris — is that he always knew how to reel us back in. This was no exception.
Barney walked into the delivery room, guided by a nurse, and laid eyes on baby Ellie. And it’s safe to say that’s when everything changed for Barney Stinson. “You are the love of my life. Everything I have and everything I am, is yours. Forever.”
At first, I was peeved that Barney knocked up a random woman whose name we don’t even know. But I came to realize that this is reality. Sometimes the couples you want so badly to live happily ever after, don’t. Sometimes you have a baby with a person you don’t love but you love that baby more than any person you’ve ever known. And sometimes the biggest changes comes in the tiniest packages.
Robin wasn’t around for the birth of Barney’s daughter. We really shouldn’t have expected her to be, as Marshall pointed out, because that would have been awkward. The absence of Robin, nevertheless, was felt. And as a fan, it hurt. Together, Marshall, Lily, Robin, Barney and Ted have weathered personal failures and terrible losses. They’ve shared and lauded each other’s great successes and happiest moments. But seeing them fractured as a group, as a collective was, frankly, one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen on this show.
Robin did rejoin the gang, though. It took a while and a special call from the Mother, but she showed up on Ted’s long0delayed wedding day and apologized for missing “a couple” of big moments. All seemed fairly quickly forgotten. But I guess that comes with the life membership to any gang worth its salt.
Ted’s wedding to the Mother was decidedly lower key than it had initially been conceptualized. After seven years and two kids with the Mother, it was more of a formality than anything else. Because every long, difficult road has an end.
“If I hadn’t gone through Hell to get there, the lesson might not have been as clear. You see kids, right from the moment I met your mom, I knew I have to love this woman as much as I can for as long as I can and I can never stop loving her even for a second. I carried that lesson with me through every stupid fight we ever had, every 5 AM Christmas morning, every sleepy Sunday afternoon, through every speed bump, every pang of jealousy or boredom or uncertainty that came our way. I carried that lesson with me, and I carried it with me when she got sick. Even then in what can only be called the worst of times, all I could do was thank God, thank every God there is or ever was or will be and the whole universe and anyone else I could possibly thank that I saw that beautiful girl on that train platform and that I had the guts to stand up, walk over to her, tap her on the shoulder, open my mouth and speak.”
That’s when we saw Ted meet the Mother…whose name is Tracy McConnell. (Nailed it.)
The story didn’t end there, though. Well, Ted’s narrated story did. But his story — the one of Ted Mosby — didn’t end until Ted’s children encouraged him to see the crystal clear truth in his own tale. He loved Robin. By that point, Ted’s wife had been dead six years, and his children gave their blessing for him to have his second shot at happiness with a woman who has always meant a lot to him. So Ted, being Ted, decided to act.
Over at Robin’s apartment, where she entered wrangling five dogs, she heard a person buzzing from below. She walked to the window and saw Ted, holding a blue French horn.
Earlier in the episode, the Mother told Ted that “it’s funny how sometimes you just find things.” And she was right — finding things is great. Losing them sucks, though, and I do believe that when the Mother died, Ted lost the love of his life. But, realistically, I don’t want Ted to spend the rest of his days dwelling on loss. I’d rather he find happiness again — even if he has to stand outside its window and wait for it to come down.
Marshall: A certain delicate flower cried all night in the shower.
Lily: …and I was pretty bummed, too.
“Who am I going to high-five now? I’m being serious. What if I see a pack of lions fighting a tyrannosaurs? Or, better yet, what if I see boobs? — Barney
“Just be cool, lady, damn.” — Ted to old lady on the train platform
Barney: That last girl — No. 31…
Mother (Tracy): That’s a pretty name. Is it French?