**SPOILERS AHEAD! This cannot be stressed enough!**
After nine seasons of laughs, fun, high-fives and heart-string-pulling memories, the How I Met Your Mother gang said goodbye tonight to its legion of hardcore devotees with a very dense hour-long emotional roller coaster that is thick with sadness. And, while tying up most loose ends, may leave some fans unsatisfied.
This is the episode where we finally learn everything about The Mother, whose name is Tracy McConnell, and we get a one-hour glimpse at their lives together. From them meeting after Barney's wedding while Ted is waiting for a train to Chicago, through them having children, and eventually getting married. It's a sweet, powerful relationship.
And then it's over, because she gets "sick" with something that hospitalizes her, and she apparently dies. Or at the very least they get divorced, and Ted's kids talk about her like she's dead. Why the confusion? Because the climax of Ted and Tracy's story happens off-screen and is never clarified.
The episode ends with Old Man Ted talking to his children, as established through the last nine seasons, where his kids confront him with the obvious fact that so many fans have pointed out over the years: This whole story has just been a long confession about his deep and unbridled love for "Aunt" Robin.
The show is jam packed with story and character development, jumping around in HIMYM's signature fashion, from one year to the next, and the one constant theme is that all your favorite characters are growing up. In one short episode, Barney and Robin get divorced, Marshall becomes a judge, Lily and Marshall have another child, Barney gets a random girl (who we never learn the name of) pregnant, and then has a daughter, making him respect all women, Robin becomes a world famous news anchor, and Ted and Tracy get married at the bar. All of this, and more, happens in 44 minutes of screen time.
In the episode's final moment, after revealing that The Mother isn't even in the picture when this story is being told, Old Ted shows up outside Old Robin's apartment with a blue French horn, mirroring his first attempt to win Robin's heart early in the first season, tying the show up with a particularly loose bow.
So what did you think about this season finale of How I Met Your Mother? Did it feel like a satisfying goodbye?