‘How I Met Your Mother’ Review: “How Your Mother Met Me”
‘How I Met Your Mother’ season 9 recalls its 16th episode of the final year, 200th overall in “How Your Mother Met Me,” which recounts the Mother (Cristin Miloti)’s exploits over the years that eventually led to the Farhampton Inn, and an inevitable date with destiny.
Previous ‘How I Met Your Mother’ installment “Unpause” saw Robin and Ted discovering they could question a drunk Barney for any answers they want, while Marshall and Lily finally had it out over his decision to accept the judgeship. So how does the latest episode keep the final season rolling down the aisle?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘How I Met Your Mother’ season 9 episode 16, landmark 200th installment “How Your Mother Met Me”!
Back in 2005, a woman named Kelly passes Ted and Barney at MacLaren’s realizing that she accidentally went to the bar of the same name on the West side, quickly racing to the East side location to meet the Mother for her 21st birthday. Just as the Mother prepares to greet her tardy boyfriend Max however, she gets a call that Max has been killed.
Flashing forward to St. Patrick’s day 2008, the Mother’s roommate Kelly insists she get back out there by coming to a club, the very same one that Barney and Ted attended that year. Before they get in however, the Mother recognizes Mitch, a counselor from her old orchestra camp, who has since taken to teaching music to underprivileged children, leading the Mother to offer up her old cello. Once the Mother retrieves it from the apartment however, she finds Mitch pulling “The Naked Man” in her living room.
Once the awkwardness subsides, Mitch suggests the Mother follow her dream to eliminate poverty, landing her in an economics class in 2009, the very class Ted accidentally taught architecture to. The class also introduces the Mother to Cindy, as the pair quickly agree to become roommates. Flash forward to 2010, wherein Ted and Cindy broke up over his apparent interest in her roommate, before Ted left the infamous yellow umbrella and went on his way. Cindy surprises the Mother by kissing her out of grief for Ted, admitting that she has some things of her own to figure out.
Following Cindy’s moving out, the Mother meets with her band’s future lead singer Darren, who at the time only wanted to meet the bassist for his favorite band. Moving forward to 2012, the Mother grudgingly carries her bass back to the van, where a man named Lewis helps shoulder the load, and offers to buy her a drink. The pair take the evening to the West side MacLaren’s, where the Mother admits to not believing she could fall in love again after Max, leaving the date and passing Barney, a pregnant Lily and a dress-wearing Ted on her way out.
The Mother consents to dating Lewis eventually, though the relationship doesn’t prove as loving as she might have hoped. Flashing forward to 2013, after Ted’s serendipitous meeting with Cindy got “Super Freakanomics” to play Barney’s wedding, the mother stays in Lewis’ Farhampton beach house near the inn. Hours later, following the confrontation with Darren, the Mother returns home to the beach house to find Lewis waiting with an engagement ring, though the Mother asks for a moment alone before answering.
Stepping outside, the Mother shares a one way conversation with the departed Max asking if it would be alright to finally move on, taking a gentle breeze as a positive sign. The Mother says her final goodbyes to Max, but ultimately declines Lewis’ proposal, leaving the beach house and taking the last-available room at the Farhampton inn (vacated by Robin’s mother). Unpacking the ukulele that Max had intended to give her on her birthday years earlier, the Mother heads to the patio to play a wistful rendition of “La Vie en Rose,” unaware that Ted is listening from the next room.
Marshall and Lily having had their fight, and with Barney sleeping it off inside, Ted returns to the room to express his amazement at the singer next door, only to find that the drunk Barney has gone missing.
We’re never at a shortage of things to say about ‘How I Met Your Mother”s final season, which thus far has found reasonable occasion to justify its existence, and somewhat constrained format. For every “Slapsgiving 3,” the series hits a sentimental sweet spot like “Unpause,” lending plenty of credence to the showrunners’ assessment that certain bursts of creativity could only have come from such an ambitious final undertaking. Given only a minor alteration to history, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas would have ended the series on its eighth season as intended, leaving the mother’s ultimate unveiling an afterthought of the eight years before it.
A 200th installment offers the most visible payout yet of that ninth season gamble, allowing us to get to know the titular lady with an all-too-brief installment that revisits a number of moments from the series past. Indeed, it would take the most die-hard fans to comb through all the different Easter eggs and callbacks (I for one noticed obvious bits like the “Save the Arcadian” flyer, but wouldn’t have realized that Mitch was in fact the original “Naked Man”). It’s a nice bit of balm on those who have charred through the more difficult installments of the season, and patiently waited for more spotlight on Cristin Milioti’s still-unnamed Mother.
It certainly helps that, however fleeting, prior seasons have lain a good deal of groundwork with which to trace the mother’s past. Tracing the series from a linear perspective made matters like a glimpse of leg, a sea of classroom faces or a yellow umbrella seem like cheats, vague teases of an endgame not thought out in advance, but “How Your Mother Met Me” actually seems to do the impossible in making said teases pay off. Of course, we know that the creators could never of known how well these brief snippets would pay out, but it still proves refreshing to revisit franchise history in a manner that doesn’t feel tacked-on, or re-written for the sake of continuity.
Far too often, a series will breed incestuous revisions that reimagine past events as a confluence of destiny, a concept ‘Community‘ even attempted to parody in last year’s “Heroic Origins,” though fortunately for ‘HIMYM,’ the time-turning precedent for the season only strengthens such a radical episode’s premise. It very well should feel like another cheat that Ted listened to his future bride play from behind a pithy divider, though as has been the case, a quick cover of Barney’s absence passably explains why he never made any subsequent attempt at contacting the girl. If nothing else, we also get a bit of foundation-building to learn why the Mother herself has been so scarce around the inn, again retroactively justifying what has otherwise proven frustrating about the season.
Milioti herself had plenty of expectation to live up to, though the character’s indelible sweetness quickly syncs with Ted’s own unusual interests to form a fitting counterpart we feel as if we’ve known all along. Still largely separated from the gang however (presumably Robin would be the last approval she gains), Milioti’s mother unfortunately gets a bit of short shrift selling story significance for characters we’ve never met, but good grief, if those glassy eyes of hers don’t bring a bit of sadness to ours. We’ll have to hold on hope that the Mother doesn’t fade into the background once more, but if the series keeps up its current balance of sentiment and payout, we might look back on its past with more rose-tinted lenses as well.
Well, what say you? Did ‘How I Met Your Mother’’s latest installment, “How Your Mother Met Me,” warm your heart to the final season? Do you have a better sense of Ted’s ultimate bride-to-be, now that we’ve seen her side? Give us your thoughts in the comments, and join us again next week for another all-new recap of ‘How I Met Your Mother’’s latest episode, “How Your Mother Met Me” on CBS!