Sometimes shows make course corrections based on what happens on screen, and that is not only okay, it’s encouraged, at least in my mind. It’s what should happen. Over time we change as people, so it only makes sense that everything else in life changes too, including television.
If How I Met Your Mother had only lasted three seasons and Ted and Robin had ended up together, I think I’d be writing a very different review of “Last Forever.” As it stands, I’m terribly conflicted by the end of a show that I hold near and dear to my heart, not to mention one that, by all accounts, was having a really great final run of episodes in the lead-up to the finale… I might eventually come around to accepting the fact “Last Forever” wasn’t just a one-day-early April Fool’s Day prank, but right now the ire I feel toward Craig Thomas and Carter Bays for refusing to accept that the show they created in 2005 wasn’t the same show in 2014 runs deep.
How I Met Your Mother ran for nine years, and it’s never been more clear than it is right now that they never expected or planned for that kind of success. The series’ final scene with the actors who played Ted’s children was filmed in 2006, once it was obvious they were aging too fast for the story, but I don’t think the creators ever imagined they’d be putting it to use in 2014. And I’m not willing to believe the fact that they felt they had to use that scene because this last season was a surprise. The series could’ve ended in Season 8, with the Mother’s “One ticket to Farhampton, please.” I can’t for the life of me figure out why Thomas and Bays let one tiny scene filmed eight years ago dictate the ending of a series that was, for all intents and purposes, about growing up, changing, and realizing that what we once thought was important isn’t always going to be the case…
…They had this idea of the perfect show and the perfect ending, and didn’t take in to account that perfection is just an concept, and that life doesn’t always work out the way we plan or hope. Ted realized this very idea in “The End of the Aisle,” when he blatantly told Robin that he didn’t love her the same way he once did, and so for the series to backtrack a week later is insulting to fans who’ve stuck by the series for the last nine years.
…How I Met Your Mother attempted one last signature heartfelt moments as Ted discussed loving the Mother and appreciating the time he had with her, and if the series had ended there, I think this would have been a very different review. Instead, “Last Forever” was the real final slap and it STUNG. When Ted raised that blue french horn as Robin looked down at him with her dogs, How I Met Your Mother came full circle, but in a way it never should have. Ted and Robin evolved over the course of the series, and the storyline should have reflected that. The finale tarnished all of the episodes that preceded it in an attempt to discuss a very simple idea, which is that your life doesn’t end simply because someone else’s does. You just keep on living knowing that what you had was special, even if it was brief.
“Last Forever” brought up the idea of true love versus soul mates, and a bit about fate, but if I wanted to watch a series about how your soulmate might not be the love of your life, I’d have watched Dawson’s Creek, a series which did it much better. I maintain that all of Ted’s stories were important to the overall series, and that we shouldn’t forget them or disregard them simply because they didn’t turn out the way we thought they should, but there’s a part of me that will never understand Thomas and Bays’ reluctance to adapt the ending once the show and its characters deviated from their original path, especially since it’s that unwillingness to change that most clearly goes against everything the series tried to say over the last nine years.”