Spoiler alert: Tracy dies. Get over it.
Let’s think about this rationally — all you internet anons are in an seething uproar.
Why on earth would Ted take the time to tell his kids this long, drawn out story in the first place? Because this story was never about the mother.
No, the writers are not callous and no, giving only five seconds of screen time to a pivotal plot piece was not ‘flippant.’ The death of his soulmate has most likely been a huge part of the past six years, which is why now it is mentioned only as an aside. There is just no point making Ted relive that moment onscreen because the true audience of his storytelling – his kids – already know the ending.
Why spend nine seasons building up a life before the Mother if meeting her was the main objective of Ted’s story? If she was the end goal, then we would have known and understood her from the start; that’s simply how television works. But this is not the end to Ted’s story and therefore Tracy was not his end goal. Ted sat his kids down to explain his feelings and frankly to move on. It took him nine seasons to rationalize his decision, to finally seek permission from himself to be selfish.
Tracy was his soul mate. But of course, life’s a bitch and she dies. The thing is, people die – Tracy was not immune to this fact, nor was Marshall’s dad, simply because HIMYM is a sitcom. Ted is telling the story of his life to remember how he got to this place, and to justify his feelings of moving forward. There was a life before Tracy and of course there will a life after. It just happens to be with someone else. But we’ll get to that.
Marshall and Lily were always going to be happy, no matter what. We got the impression that Marshall was good at being a lawyer, so having a successful career was a given. Lily was always going to be happy when the people around her were happy – she was the caregiver of the group. That’s why she was so desperate for everyone to be together during the ‘big moments.’ Lily struggled because she could not nurture everyone back together again, and I believe she always will struggle with that. That said, they are happy, and that’s what is important.
“Oh they just forgot nine years of character development for Barney, what a cop out!”
Actually, if by development you mean constant acknowledgment of his own faults and shallow aspirations in life, then I’m pretty sure his ending is pretty spot on. Barney always admitted to being a horrible, deeply flawed and selfish human being. But, being single and perverted makes him happy, and he is most comfortable in that role. I think having Ellie made him quickly realize that he could no longer be selfish that there now was another living person relying on him completely – but his major character flaws are never going to change. I’m not of course condoning his views on life and women, but they are unfortunately realistic.
I’m also not surprised Barney and Robin got divorced – two incredibly selfish people impulsively got married based on pure emotion, with no thought towards the realities of their lives thus far. Robin was always going to be career-focused, Barney was always going to be… well, Barney. Getting married does not change who you are, and I can appreciate HIMYM facing that fact.
Robin may not have been Ted’s soulmate, but they were ideal for each other, especially now in this stage of their lives. She could be her own person and pursue her own ambitions, and Ted would always be there to support her. Robin never wanted kids and she never had them. Ted was able to meet Tracy and have the family he always wanted. It was a natural fit from the beginning and I believe that anyone who sat through nine years of “will they, won’t they” can understand it. Yes, in a perfect world Ted would be with Tracy. But, as this show taught me, life isn’t perfect and so it is appropriate that Ted goes back to what he knows. It would be a disservice to the characters, and a waste of nine years of stories, if it ended any other way.
Overall, I realize the show was called “How I Met Your Mother,” not “How I Met Everybody Else”. And yes, it was not the typical happy ending. But, I can see the gang being happy in their own way, and this for sure is not an ending.