HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: Did We Just Get a Major (Depressing) Clue About the End?

March 26, 2013 by  

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for tonight's episode of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, "The Time Travelers." If you haven't seen it, please turn away now to avoid having key elements of the episode ruined.]

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER is no stranger to playing episode-long long cons on the audience (for instance, the episode where Robin was speaking to her future children…both of whom never existed), but Monday night’s episode, “The Time Travelers” had me wondering for a moment if this was secretly going to turn into a story of how Barney and Ted finally went off the deep end: the duo spent most of the installment “talking” to future versions of themselves about whether they should go to a robot show, while Marshall and Robin fought over the rights to name a drink.

But wait, not everyone was losing their mind — one of the Barneys revealed to Ted that this was all in a lonely Ted’s imagination. Barney and Robin were off together. Marshall and Lily were with their son. Ted was just by himself at the bar, debating whether he should go to a robot show. Narrator!Ted told his kids that 2013!Ted should have gone to see any of his friends, but if had the choice to do anything in hindsight, it was clear what he would do — go to their as-yet-fully-seen mother.

In Narrator!Ted’s imagination, he would run to the mother’s door and give her this message:

“Hi. I’m Ted Mosby. In exactly 45 days from now, you and I are going to meet. And we’re going to fall in love. And we’re going to get married and we’re going to have two kids. And we’re going to love them and each other so much. All that is 45 days away. But I’m here now, I guess, because I want those extra 45 days. With you. I want each one of them. And if I can’t have them, I’ll take the 45 seconds before your boyfriend shows up and punches me in the face. Because I love you. I’m always going to love you. Until the end of my days. And beyond.”

And his words got me thinking…have we ever heard a reference to the mother in the present 2030 story? The way Narrator!Ted wanted to speak to his future wife (specifically the “…I want those extra 45 days. With you. I want each one of them. And if I can’t have them, I’ll take the 45 seconds before your boyfriend shows up and punches me in the face. Because I love you. I’m always going to love you. Until the end of my days. And beyond.”) sounded like someone desperate for just one more moment with a dearly departed loved one.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been assuming that this story has been gearing us towards a happy ending. Maybe not a perfect one, but I figured at some point, whether it was in the series finale or some time in the final season, we’d get to see Future!Ted, his wife, and maybe their kids. (They’d probably have to flash further to the future to account for the real time passed between the first shots of the kids to their ages now.) If he’s been telling this story to his kids about his dead wife…that’s going to color things a bit differently.

So, am I reading too much into it? Has there been a reference to his wife being alive in 2030 that I’m blanking on?

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Comments

15 Responses to “HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: Did We Just Get a Major (Depressing) Clue About the End?”

  1. Danielle on March 26th, 2013 1:14 pm

    I still hate Ted so his wife dying on him wouldn’t upset me. It wouldn’t make sense for WHY he wants to sit his kids down and tell them every intimate detail of his life leading up to meeting the mother, though; it would make much more sense for wanting to tell them every intimate detail of life WITH their mother. The show should have started at the meeting, in that case, and continued throughout the earliest days of their births, etc. I think this is just a case of trying to give extra importance to a relationship we have yet to start on, even after being led down so many paths that ultimately went nowhere. It feels like a last ditch attempt to make people care– really care. About Ted but also about some woman who’s face (presumably) we have still never seen.

  2. Marisa Roffman on March 26th, 2013 2:46 pm

    @Danielle: I was thinking about what your reaction might be as I was watching this. No, you’d think it wouldn’t make sense at all as to why he’s telling this particular tale (unless she’s long-dead and he’s told them about their life together 500 times already), but if she isn’t dead, it’s VERY STRANGE WORDING. It could just be awkward writing. I actually hope it is. Not sure how I’d feel if she is dead. (And I’m really hoping someone can point to a point where she was referenced in 2030 time.)

  3. Kath (@canakatydid) on March 26th, 2013 10:56 pm

    Interesting take (from both of you)…I’m still holding out hope for a happy ending. (And Ted once again broke my heart and I still love it!)

  4. mg714 on March 27th, 2013 1:57 am

    Wow, I would be so mad for investing (what would be) 9 years into this show if it turns out Ted is a widower in the last episode. This is a comedy after all and to have all that build up about Ted meeting the love of his life only to lose her would be the worst – I feel like it would be a slap in the face of all the fans who have watched from the beginning. By the way, I also would be incredibly upset if it turns out Barney and Robin don’t stay married after all the time they spent building up how perfect they are for each other, especially this season.

  5. Jim Mosby on March 27th, 2013 12:59 pm

    I’ve said since Season 1 that the mother is dead. I stand by that prediction. Kath should be able to back me up that I’ve been predicting that for many years.

  6. s.belle on March 30th, 2013 12:14 pm

    When I watched that episode I was thinking the very same thing. The mother character being makes a lot of sense in retrospect. The way the story is told with each episode being about her, wanting to see her, to know her, but she’s never there…the audience feels exactly the way Ted and the kids would be feeling. Teds recurrent theme of loneliness in his love life… it all makes WAY too much sense with the “45 days” statement. I’m betting on death in childbirth for the mother, or at least before her children are old enough to know her. I’m also betting we will get at max one episode with her in it, if the show wants to make the audience feel like Ted, with not enough time with her- or that we will never see her- to make the audience feel like the kids…

    As far as it being a “depressing” ending, I am not sure that’s the case. It would be kind of beautiful in a sad way, how the show has made us feel like the family feels, centered around a person who isn’t there.

  7. Susan on April 9th, 2013 3:02 pm

    What if Ted is the one who’s dead…..and the kids are watching a video of him telling the story (hence the shot of them on the couch in front of the TV).

  8. ani0227 on April 9th, 2013 8:51 pm

    the only way the writers can make the mother worth the wait is if shes dead and this angelic memory that only exists in teds memory now(2030). theyve made her out to be so awesome that any girl they pick will be a let down… unless she dies. otherwise were all gonna think ted has been overrating her. but if shes dead we’ll be like okay. he just misses his wife. because ted thinks so highly of her. it would only make sense that she’s that great if she’s dead. once people die they are boosted up a notch into divine territory because people only want to remember the nice things about people after they die which would explain why he’s never said one bad thing about her. its gonna be too hard for the writers to make a perfect couple without making them completely nauseating. Barney and robin are gross btw. i hate them together. barney is a love whore and robin is a cunt if she marries barney (which she broke up with kevin for the same reasons she should break up with barney). barney wants kids and she shouldnt owe him that much. its not fair to anyone and barney would be an awesome dad to Baby Hurricane Waitforit Stinson

  9. nathan on April 18th, 2013 1:34 am

    I have to not agree with a depressing ending. If the mother was dead, Ted’s kids would be more interested about their mother when Ted talks about his past. However, the kids act very calm and laid back about Ted’s past to assume that this story is yet another love story unveiling itself. Sorry to bust your bubble but i dont think this ending is going to be depressing.

  10. Hope Wehrle on April 30th, 2013 12:04 am

    Rest assured – She’s not dead. Reference the 49th episode (which contains jewels like the Crazy-Hot Scale, the stories of how everyone met each other, and the most fantastic code name: ‘Blah Blah’.)

    However; at the end of that episode, it flashes to T, M and L’s much older college reunion (circa 2020), where they are “eating sandwiches”. The last line of that episode is spoken by Ted; when he laughs and says: “Where is my wife?” – hence, no death for another 7 years, easy.

    I’m still mourning the death of the ‘Friends” of my generation.

    Whatever happens…It will be legend…waitforit…dary!

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  12. Adam Dawn on September 7th, 2013 8:17 pm

    I thought I was alone in thinking this.

    I think the mother being dead is the only thing that can give this ridiculous show any credibility at all.

  13. Adam Dawn on September 7th, 2013 8:17 pm

    @Hope Wehrle

    No… Just no..

    That’s 2020, the story is being told in 2030. Try and fail again.

  14. Hope Wehrle on January 21st, 2014 8:48 am

    @Adam Dawn

    Ok – Smarty Pants…

    What about the pineapple???

  15. Jena on March 4th, 2014 7:34 am

    I think the end song answers the wavering here, although I think it was pretty clear that she IS dying. It’s Bob Dylan’s If You See Her, Say Hello. And the part they played to close the episode is:

    If you see her, say hello, she might be in Tangier
    She left here last early Spring, is livin’ there, I hear
    Say for me that I’m all right though things get kind of slow
    She might think that I’ve forgotten her, don’t tell her it isn’t so

    And since they were in the Winter of 2024– it’s probably an indication she doesn’t live much longer than that. *weeps*

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