Pat yourselves on the back, ladies and gentlemen. You made it to the 200th episode of How I Met Your Mother and after 9 years (and a few missteps), the show is still able to deliver an outstanding episode before it closes the curtains for good.
First, hats off to Cristin Milioti for her memorable performance in this Mother-centric episode. The expectations were high as this was the show’s biggest milestone yet, so there was definite pressure with this one.
We finally get to meet the Mother. Even though her name still remains a mystery (and I, for one, hope we never find out her name), everything else about her is revealed tonight. As Future Ted narrates, the night that Lily and Marshall got engaged (aka the night Ted met Robin in the very first episode) was the night of the Mother’s 21st birthday. She was hanging out with her friends at MacLaren’s (nope, not the one our gang hangs out at, apparently there’s two of them!) when she received a phone call that her boyfriend Max had died. She returned home where Max had already gotten her a present: a bass.
Later, in April 2008, the Mother was still grieving over the love of her life when her friend convinced her to go to a Saint Patrick’s Day party — yes, the one Ted was at too. And that’s something the show did pretty well, crossing over the two worlds in every scenario where Ted and the Mother could’ve met. But I think that’s what Craig Thomas and Carter Bays were trying to say in the 200th episode; that Ted and his love couldn’t met a million and a half hours ago and not wasted our time. However, they just weren’t ready for each other before May 2013.
Something I didn’t quite expect was the return of The Naked Man! That was kind of a weird and unexpected callback. The Naked Man, also called Mitch, bumped into the Mother at the St. Patrick’s Day party where he apparently was her instructor at orchestra camp (my God, she’s adorable!). The two of them go back to her apartment and he pulls off his “Naked Man” move, shocking the Mother and making her realize just how awful single-life is.
People can argue that the way the writers have written her backstory indicates that the Mother is pretty much the unrealistic perfect woman for Ted because she is basically the female version of him. Yes, it was quite utopian to show just how perfect she is going to be for him, but if there’s anything else this episode has shown us, it’s that we can’t nitpick much because she is so likeable and so adorable that you simply let these things slide.
Maybe you were waiting for them to actually meet in this episode (I certainly expected it in the final closing moments) but the writers were smart enough to show you glimpses of them being just inches apart. Yes, the Mother did meet Ted in this episode because, for me, the scene with her and her lesbian roommate Rachel Bilson (Cindy) in that economics class was the scene where she met Ted. And she was the only one to laugh at his ridiculous joke.
Other than a few jokes, this episode was one that pulled at the audience’s heartstrings. It was emotional, gut-wrenching and adorable all at the same time. I personally loved how the Mother and Louis met and fell in love, but it still wasn’t what she wanted. So on the night of Robin and Barney’s wedding when Louis decides to ask the Mother to marry him, she sadly says no and goes looking for a place to sleep for the night.
Where does she end up, you think? Yes, the Farhampton Inn. Still at that moment with the Mother checking in, I expected Ted to walk down the stairs and voila — they would meet. But what happened was actually so much better. The receptionist (remember him from earlier this season?) realized his customer was going through a heartbreak, so he smiles and puts her in the room right next to Ted’s. I love that scene, and now that receptionist.
Finally, in what is perhaps Milioti’s finest moment yet, the Mother pulls out her bass, heads out to the patio and sings “La Vie en Rose”, signaling that it was time for us to reach for the tissues. Because just behind her, sat Ted, out on his patio, listening to this stranger sing and cry in the middle of the night. It was a beautiful and tearjerking moment for all of us, to see these two people at their worst and weakest moment yet, unaware that their other half isn’t just an impossible dream anymore — but right there, and right there all along.
It was a different episode tonight, one that was light on the jokes, heavy on the Mother’s backstory, and momentous for the show. I’m always complaining that we need more time in every episode, and if there’s a flaw in How Your Mother Met Me, it’s that it should’ve been an hour-long episode.
However, the writers are always smart enough to throw us a bone in the closing moments of every show. The montage in the end showing us Marshall angry and upset after his big fight, Lily in the back of that mysterious car going God-knows-where, Robin looking nervous before her wedding day and Barney still drunk out of his mind is truly clever in reminding us where we are now. Yes, we know everything there is to know about the Mother now, but there are bigger and much more important things to discuss…. like Ted going to sleep, 16 hours before the wedding, and realizing that Barney has disappeared.
Happy 200th everyone!
Slaps & Bits
– Darren (the devil) was back as well! Just like I said I hated him in “Bass Player Wanted” a few episodes ago, my hatred for him grew this week as well. But I guess we have him to thank or the Mother probably wouldn’t have ended up at the wedding.
– The Mother talking to her dead boyfriend, asking him if it’s okay to move on, was too emotional. This show always forgets if it’s a sitcom or a dramedy.
– I’m glad we didn’t actually get to meet the Mother’s “gang”. It would’ve felt like the backdoor Pilot for How I Met Your Father (and yes, they’re actually making that show next year…*eyeroll*).
– The opening theme song featuring the Mother and her friends, and the title “How Your Mother Met Me”, was something I actually anticipated. And I’m glad they went with it, it was fun!
– Still no clue on where Lily could possibly be going. We know she’s not going to see the Mother anymore and there was no one with her in the back seat, so I’m still going with Ranjit being the driver. Is she going to see the Captain? *shockedface*
– Fans speculated that the Mother was wearing a necklace that says “Leia” on it in the opening scene, a possible name choice for her which would fit perfectly considering Ted’s obsession with Star Wars. But I’m pretty sure that necklace said Love, and I sincerely hope we never find out her name. I mean, is it really necessary?
– Future Ted tells his kids that their mother sang “La Vie en Rose” to them every night as she tucked them in to bed. But that first performance will always be his favorite. Mine, too.
– When the Mother meets Louis for the first time, notice that there are posters on the wall behind them that say “Save The Arcadian”.
– Once again, kudos to Milioti for such a brilliant performance. She can sing too!
A significant episode in the show’s history, and one that definitely lived up to its hype. While it should’ve been longer and funnier, the episode was both fast-paced and emotional.