Continued from "Last Forever, Part 1"
Episode: Season 9, Episode 24 (9ALH24)
Title: Last Forever, Part 2
Previous: Last Forever, Part 1
2018: Barney is excited that he, Ted and Lily are hanging at MacLaren's again like old times, with Marshall on the way. Barney claims settling down is for losers with kids, as if he knows he can't offend his friends by saying that. He claims he won't let the others go home early this time. Lily notes Robin isn't there though, and Barney suggests they not bring up anything sad like that. Marshall arrives, and says he has been promoted to a judgeship in Queens. They celebrate til nearly 2am. Barney wants to take the party to Vegas, but Ted insists on leaving so he can be home for his kids. Barney wants to stop him until he is distracted by a hot young woman. Lily stops him from wandering off, and Barney admits he's given up on trying to settle down. Since Robin turned out not to be the love of his life, Barney doesn't believe he'll ever find it.
2020: Ted, The Mother, Marshall and Lily are watching "Robots vs. Wrestlers". Ted and The Mother still haven't gotten married, though it's clear they're happy together; life has just gotten in the way. Barney comes with "sad" news. He sets it up by saying he wanted to one-up "The Perfect Week"—where he slept with a different woman every day for a week—with "The Perfect Month". He even wrote a new playbook to get the job done. Just one problem: Girl #31 got pregnant. Barney is devastated that this has happened, but even the spirit of Jim Nantz won't give him advice. He laments that this has ruined him entering his "Clooney years" without such a commitment. The Mother jokingly asks where they're registered.
2021: Ted tells Penny, his daughter with The Mother, about the Goliath National Bank Building, and they meet Robin by chance on the street. Penny recognizes Robin as the "bus lady", since she's seen on all the WWN ads. Later, Ted is at the hospital with Lily and Marshall, and tells them about meeting Robin. Lily laments her missing another big moment: the birth of Barney's child. Barney comes in, wearing scrubs over his suit; "Girl #31" won't let him in the delivery room. The nurse comes in and says the newborn baby is a girl, and the others insist Barney go back to meet her. When he holds the child, Ellie, Barney declares the child is the love of his life, and decides to dedicate himself to raising her. What he once told women as a lame attempt to bed them, he says to Ellie with different meaning and complete sincerity.
Later, at Ted and The Mother's house, Ted asks for their engagement ring back. It's been five years, and he insists on re-proposing to her, saying they will finally get married that Thursday. On the big day, Ted, Barney, Lily and Marshall all get together at MacLaren's. Ted and The Mother are finally getting married, as Lily says, "after seven years and two kids". Barney is exhausted from doing things for Ellie. Now Barney is the one insisting they don't stay out late. He seems to chase a couple young ladies, but instead berates them for wanting to do shots before lunch on a Thursday.
Lily says she's seen everything, but Marshall remarks she hasn't: Robin shows up at MacLaren's for Ted's wedding. Robin admits she's missed a few, but says they promised they'd always be together for the "big moments", and hugs Lily. She greets "daddy" Barney. He says Ellie is awesome. Marshall tells everyone he will be running for the State Supreme Court. Ted didn't think she'd show, but Robin says The Mother asked her to come. The Mother arrives in her dress, and insists on taking a photo of the five original friends together in their booth. Marshall asks a random younger group if they had any idea of all the incredible things that had happened at that bar. Lily raises a toast; first to them as friends, then to Ted, for persevering for so long and finding the love of his life, as well as a new friend for them, in The Mother.
Back to the narration as we see the wedding of Ted and The Mother, with Ted (now actually Ted, instead of Bob Saget) saying the long and difficult road was worth it. He tells his kids that he realized the moment he met The Mother, he had to love her as long as he could, and never stop. He carried that lesson through thick and thin. Even as The Mother got sick, and eventually died, in 2024, which he described as "the worst of times", he thanked God—every God—that he got the guts to approach her on the train platform in the rain.
In the last flashback, it returns to the train platform. Ted approaches The Mother. She recognizes him as the Best Man from Robin and Barney's wedding, and invites him under the yellow umbrella. He compliments her on the show, then recognizes her as Cindy's roommate, while she calls him "the professor". She remembers the first college class he taught. He realizes the umbrella is his umbrella. He left it at Cindy's place once. She claims it's her umbrella, and remembers buying it. They both recognize the initials on it as theirs, revealing The Mother's name as Tracy McConnell. They playfully argue over ownership of the umbrella...until she admits she once lost the umbrella at a club on a St. Patrick's Day. That's when Ted found the umbrella. As Ted and Tracy come to a realization, Tracy mentions it's funny how some times you just find things.
With that, we finally return to 2030, and a gray-haired Ted saying, "And that, kids, is how I met your mother."
Penny, however, doesn't buy it, because the actual story barely mentions Tracy at all. She thinks that the story her dad told her and her brother, Luke, is actually about Aunt Robin, and an admission that he's still in love with her. Penny thinks Ted wants to know if they're okay with him moving on after Tracy's death six years previous. Although Ted denies this, Penny and Luke can see right through it. Whenever Aunt Robin visits, their lingering feelings are clear to the children. It helps that they love her, too. The children insist that Ted just call Robin and ask her out. He starts to...then hangs up. He has a better idea.
That night, across town, Robin gets into her apartment after walking her four dogs. Her door is ringing, and she asks the TV to display her front door security camera, but it's not responding. She looks out the window, and sees Ted at the front door, holding his blue French horn.
In the alternate ending, which begins with Lily's wedding toast on Ted's long and difficult road to happiness. A voice over by Future Ted says that Lily was only half right: while it was long (possibily really, really long), it was not difficult - in life, things happened. Things will fall apart, things will get fixed (Here, Barney and Robin are shown smiling at each other, a possible suggestion that they have reconciled). And when Ted wakes up next to Tracy everyday (hinting that Tracy is still alive in 2030), he is amazed by how easy everything was. He recounts, through flashbacks to all the events in the series that led to their meeting. Following this, the sequence of the actual meeting is shown. When Ted and Tracy say "Hi", Future Ted says, "See? Easy. And that, kids, is how I met your mother."
Then the credits roll (same as the original finale), and the yellow umbrella flies around, as shown in Wait For It.
This episode provides examples of:
- Blatant Lies: Ted has the audacity to say "I kept this story short, and to the point..."
- Book-Ends: The original ending mirrors the pilot episode's.
- Call-Back: The Revised Ending features Future!Ted giving an awesome summary of the entire series leading up to the point where he finally meets the mother.
- The end credits following both endings show the first shots of each main character with their actor and character's name.
- Ted marrying The Mother meant Lily won the bet about whether or not Ted and Robin end up together. Before the wedding, Marshall pays up while the gang is at McLaren's.
- A deleted scene has Lily pay Marshall after Ted and Robin get back together.
- Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin': Finally averted with Barney, as he finally ends up with a child by his reckless escapades.
- Comically Missing the Point: Penny and Luke are certain in the end that the story wasn't really about The Mother, but about Robin. It takes Ted some convincing, though.
- Daddy's Girl: Invoked in the finale. After years of convincing himself he'll never find "the love of his life", Barney gets someone pregnant in 2020, and the resulting daughter becomes that love of his life.Barney: "You are the love of my life. Everything I have...and everything I am...is yours. Forever.
- Deconstruction: The entire finale can easily be viewed as a deconstruction of a HUGE number of tropes, from tv shows to character tropes to audience reactions. It is so biting with how Reality Ensues that it is a main reason why the Grand Finale was so controversial, all along the irony of the episode name "Last Forever." A brief rundown goes as follows:
- After so much time and effort with building Robin and Barney together and spending a season on a "legendary" wedding, their marriage lasted only three years because of fundamental differences they ignored, Robin's Married to the Job and Barney had abandoned so many of his own interests to be with her that he had nothing to do. There is also significant foreshadowing in retrospect that their relationship will not end well, with them riding off the belief that just because they love each other it will work out. Most weddings tend to be amazing but the success rate remains the same.
- After they divorce, Barney goes back to his womanizing ways and it is fully depicted as pathetic. His excuse for reverting after so much Character Development is THE SAME excuse after his first relationship with Robin, that if he couldn't make it work with her there was no one else who could make it work. It also runs on the precept that characters can grow but they are still fundamentally the same person, changing that makes them someone else entirely. Him eventually fathering a child is the most logical end point for a man who has had as many sexual partners as he has.
- After they divorce, Robin's job takes her away from the city for long periods of time and whenever she visits the old gang, all she sees is her ex-husband picking up random skanks and two sets of friends being Happily Married with their own families. Seeing Ted with Tracy, Robin feels that choosing Barney over him was a mistake and missed out on real happiness by rejecting Ted. She spent several years estranged from the group before reconciling during Ted and Tracy's marriage.
- Marshall passes on a prestigious judgeship offer to give Lily a chance to fulfill her dream of working in the artistic field. He justifies it saying things will work out eventually. They do, but it takes several years and he had to suffer as a corporate lawyer once more before things start going their way. Lily appreciates the sacrifice but regrets being a part of why he is miserable now. Plus she takes Robin leaving the group the hardest, being one of her closest female friends.
- Ted meets Tracy, the love of his life and the mother of his children. They were absolutely perfect for each other, but their history isn't exactly a fairy tale as their engagement lasted years because of Ted being a stickler for the perfect wedding and Tracy getting pregnant with their daughter Penny around the same time of their first wedding date, with Luke following soon after. Tracy ended up dying from an unspecified illness, leaving this perfect couple able to be together for 11 years. True love and a happy relationship doesn't always last forever. The final shot of the series is Ted reconsidering his love for Robin, as despite everything he went through to be happy with Tracy that doesn't mean he doesn't still love Robin in some way.
- The idea of the One True Love, which both Ted and The Mother believe in so deeply, ends up taking a toll on them. Ted's ideal forces him to keep going after Robin, no matter how many chances he had to let go, because he believes she is "The One"; and Tracy withdraws from romance entirely on the belief that, since she already lost her One, she can never get a Second Love. They both finally find love when they realize they can let go of other things and be with each other. When the Mother dies, Ted even tries again with Robin.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The Revised Ending ends the story (specifically, Ted and The Mother's) in a more triumphant note.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: As they light-heartedly bicker over ownership of the yellow umbrella, The Mother and Ted realize she's the one who left the yellow umbrella at the St. Patrick's Day party way back when Ted found it.
- Felony Misdemeanor: When Penny insists the story is really about Robin and not The Mother, Ted eventually grounds her. When Luke agrees, he's grounded as well. He may have been kidding in both cases.
- Grand Finale: The last episode of 9 season long series. There's no more of Ted meeting the mother and the wacky adventures of the gang. They drifted apart. Ted's wife Tracy has even been Dead All Along.
- I Knew It!: The end of the episode confirms the fan theory going back to the first season that the mother's name is Tracy.
- Ill Girl: The original ending revealed The Mother to be this. The sickness (never specified but universally believed by the fans to be cancer) is what ultimately killed her.
- Maybe Ever After: Future!Ted and Future!Robin in the original ending, while the alternate ending hints a reconciliation between Barney and Robin.
- Meet Cute: Ted and The Mother, Tracy. They playfully argue over the yellow umbrella.
- Pet the Dog: Barney meeting his daughter is a redeemable scene after he has been shown to be not much more than a perpetual ladykiller.
- Reality Ensues: Several examples in the finale.
- Barney and Robin, despite loving each other, find they are simply incompatible in their life goals and divorce.
- Barney's promiscuous ways catch up with him and a one-night stand ends up pregnant, leaving him with a daughter to take care of.
- Close friends drift apart because of life circumstances, no longer as close as they were in their youth.
- The Mother is revealed to have died in 2024 from an unstated illness (Fanon stating it to likely be cancer), leaving Ted to raise their children alone.
- The Reveal: In the final flashback, we find out The Mother's name is Tracy McConnell.
- Revised Ending: It ends with The Mother's illness being Adapted Out and her and Ted getting the Happily Ever After majority of the fans wanted.
- Romantic Rain: Ted meets the love of his life and mother of his kids when it's raining.
- Shipper on Deck: Ted's children for him and Robin in the original ending.
- So Proud of You: Lily gave one to Ted in his wedding. The Revised Ending uses this as a lead to make a more triumphant closure to the series.
- Spared by the Adaptation: The Mother's illness is omitted in the Revised Ending, thus allowing her to live a Happily Ever After with Ted.
- Split And Reunion:
- Robin finally returning to the group for Ted and The Mother's wedding.
- The fact that Robin has her dogs again implies she is done with her globe-trotting. There is no mention of her being a bullfighter.
- Theme Naming: Ted Mosby and Tracy McConnell, better known as The Mother.
- Statute of Limitations: Ted mentions to his fiancee Tracy in a scene from the future that the statute of limitations for marriage proposals was five years, so he proceeds to re-propose right there.
- Title Drop: "And that, kids, is how I met your mother."
- Umbrella of Togetherness: Ted meets Tracy the Mother at the train station when it's raining. He comes to talk to her and she encourages him to share her umbrella with him. They stand close to each other in this archetypal image of lovers.
- Unreliable Narrator: It turns out that even the title of the show is an example of Ted being this.
- The Un-Reveal: The illness that killed The Mother in the original ending was never mentioned, though Fanon universally agree that it's cancer.
- Wham Episode: In this series finale, Reality Ensues as the gang shifts apart, Tracy aka The Mother is revealed to be dead which opens the opportunity for Ted and Robin to get together after Ted mourns for six years, and Barney is blessed with the unexpected gift of a daughter.
- Wham Line:
- When Barney mentions having a perfect month:Barney: That last girl, number 31...Tracy: Oh, that's a pretty name. What is that, French?Barney: ...She's pregnant.
- From Ted concerning the fate of Tracy:Ted: ...and I carried it with me when she got sick...
- From Penny, confirming the fate of Tracy:Penny: "Mom's been gone for six years now."
- When Barney mentions having a perfect month:
- You Have Waited Long Enough: Essentially, what Penny has to say about Ted going back to Robin.Penny: C'mon, Dad. Mom's been gone for six years now. It's time.
Ted: What, I just... call her up on the phone and ask her out on a date?
Penny and Luke: YES!!!