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The final episode opened with the gang recounting how they met Robin and how it’s brought them to their final day together at Barney and Robin’s wedding. Ted notices the bass player (The Mother) but does nothing. Barney realizes the bass player is the same girl who talked him into getting serious with Robin. He tries to introduce Ted via “have you met Ted,” but that’s Ted tells him he needs to leave.
The group says their goodbyes, both sad and funny (weepy because of Lily, but funny because of the classic Ted and Barney high five.) Flash forward to Ted waiting at the stop we saw at the beginning of last season telling the story of the girl he saw at the wedding to an elderly lady. She asks if he were to see her again would he talk to her and he says yes, just as the screen pans out and we see The Mother standing at the same stop.
Twenty-four hours later, Lily and Marshall are arriving at McLaren’s Pub only to find Ted sitting at their booth. He tells them about the girl he met and reminiscent of classic episodes, Marshall and Lily go on to give him advice. From this point on the episode continues in a forward of the years to come. It’s a nice way to sum up where everyone ends up and bring us to the present day when Ted is telling his kids about how he met their mother.
Flash forward to 2015, Ted is planning a wedding—castle and all, but instead of wiring the payment to the castle guy, The Mother runs into McLaren’s and announces they cant get married until she fits into her dress because she’s pregnant.
2016 we find out Ted and Robin get a divorce after Robin’s journalist career requires lots of traveling which has caused a lot of tension between them. They promise the group the divorce will not ruin anything or their friendship and will always be their for each others big moments—like Lily having her third child.
During that same year Marshall and Lily decide it’s time to get a bigger place after having Marvin and Daisy share a room is getting to be a little too cramped with a third child on the way. That same October month at the Halloween/farewell apartment party, Robin shows up without a costume. It also becomes pretty evident that the group has gone back to being the classic group they always were, but Robin isn’t a part of it. It turns out, Robin cant see herself as part of “The Gang” anymore because to her, The Gang is Marshall/Lily and their three children, her ex-husband who hits on “slutty cops” in front of her and Ted, the guy she should have ended up with, but instead he’s with the mother of his child. She tells Lily they will always be friends, but the days of being young and stupid and hanging out at McLaren's are over. She leaves Lily crying alone in their old empty apartment.
Skipping two years to 2018 back at McLaren's, the group (minus Robin) is celebrating Marshall finally becoming a judge. They try to convince Barney to stop with all the games since he has gone back to his original Barney-ways, but he makes a point of how he’s just being himself and will never be the long commitment kind of guy. For him, if it didn’t work out with Robin it won’t workout with anyone else. A year later at Monsters Versus Robots, he tells the group about his current challenge of achieving a perfect month of sleeping with a girl every night, and though he is successful in his challenge, one of the girls is now pregnant.
Later we see Ted with his daughter, Penny when he runs into Robin at the newspaper stand. It was a brief run in that prompted him to tell Lily and Marshall about it and they too seem surprised he even ran into her. At that moment they are waiting on Barney’s love child from Number 31’s arrival, one he still has hopes is not his, but it turns out it is and her name is Ellie. The moment Barney meets her, he looks her in the eye and tells her the exact words he told Marshall and Lily he could never say to a woman, “you are the love of my life, everything I have and everything I am is yours—forever.”
Ted proposes to The Mother again, but this time after seven years insist they get married on Thursday. Robin surprises the group and shows up to McLaren's for Ted’s big day. The Mother snaps a picture of the group at their classic table.
Flashback to the day Ted was at the bus stop talking to the elderly woman about the girl at the wedding, Ted introduces himself to The Mother and we find out her name is Tracy. They realize the umbrella they are sharing (it was raining and she insisted he stand under with her) is the same umbrella they both lost a few years ago. Tracy lost hers at the club on St. Patrick’s Day and Ted at her roommate, Cindy’s apartment. They agree it’s funny the way they just happen upon things. And that is how Ted meets his future wife.
Finally at the end of the story in 2020, Ted’s kids after all this time, don’t buy the story is only about how he met their mother, but how he met their aunt Robin. It turns out their mother got sick and passed a way a few years before Ted told them the story. They convince him he has the “hots” for her and should therefore go out with her. He is at first a little hesitant, but then picks up the phone, hangs it up and instead shows up at her apartment (which is full of dogs just like in the very beginning) with a blue French horn.
The end! What a bittersweet and emotional episode. It was genius the way the way everything circled back to how it all started, but they are all better more mature versions of themselves. It was all in all a satisfying final episode. There was the emotional side of it being the last episode, but also references to the funnier running jokes. And what a twist at the end! How did you all feel about that? Are you sad to see the gang go? Will your Mondays feel empty as well? I feel like I just said goodbye to my own friends.