For 183 episodes, we’ve been Ted Mosby’s captive audience as he recounted every excruciating detail that would result in him meeting his wife. Like his kids on that couch, we haven't always beenpatient. We've often complained about the story taking too long. More recently, some of us tried to hide our frustration by declaring, “You know what? I don’t even care about Ted’s story anymore!” But if we didn’t care about Ted’s story anymore, we would have never made it through the last 183 episodes.
“Something New” was the show’s 184th episode, and it was a monumental one. In “Something New,” we finally met The Mother.
But first, let’s talk about Lily’s story. No, no, no—I’m totally kidding. You’ve all come here to talk about The Mother, so let’s do exactly that. As the multiple plotlines of “Something New” converged while Ted, Lily, Marshall, Barney and Robin all made their way to Farhampton for Barney and Robin’s wedding, a pair of legs, fashionably decked out in boots and belonging to a woman carrying a bass case, walked across our screens. As we cut back and forth between the faces of the characters we’ve known for eight years, those legs approached a ticket window. The camera shifted up, and after nearly a decade of stories being told, engagements being broken, skyscrapers being built, slaps being doled out, and drinks being drunk at MacLaren’s, HIMYM unveiled The Mother.
Let that sink in for a second. HIMYM finally unveiled The Mother.
A cute brunette with brown eyes, She set her yellow umbrella on the counter and ordered one ticket to Farhampton, not even realizing she was now on a collision course with Ted, her future husband.
After years of setting Ted up with women played by actresses like Mandy Moore, Katie Holmes, and Sarah Chalke, HIMYM pulled off possibly its biggest surprise yet in casting a relatively unknown actress to play The Mother. While the internet was busy trying to figure out which TV vet would be the one to win Ted’s heart (Sarah Michelle Gellar! Keri Russell! Casey Wilson!), HIMYM went with Cristin Milioti, an actress who so far has worked mostly in theater, with only a few small roles in TV, including one on 30 Rock where she was almost unrecognizable as a ditzy blonde. She was also nominated for a Tony Award for her work in Once.
While my friends who love theater recognized the actress, Milioti is a blank canvas to many of us, giving her the freedom to create a HIMYM character that's free of the burden of being compared to her past work. We’re going to get to fall in love with Milioti right along side of Ted.
It’s way too soon to weigh in on whether or not this character is the right woman for Ted, and it’s actually kind of bizarre to be this excited over meeting her. At this point, Ted hasn’t even met her, and there’s still so much we don’t know about The Mother. She has the bass and yellow umbrella. We know that she was once Cindy’s roommate, attended the same St. Patrick’s Day party as Ted, and loves Pablo Neruda. Beyond that, though, she’s a stranger to us. Will Ted and The Mother hit it off right away? Will they immediately fall in love? Does she love Star Wars? These are all questions we’re going to have to wait for Season 9 to start answering.
But we don’t have to wait for Season 9 to discuss our reactions to the big reveal. Was it everything we'd expected? HIMYM spent eight seasons setting Ted up with women who could've maybe been his future wife. We watched him fall for them, even propose to them, only to have things not work out. Honestly, I no longer knew what to expect the reveal to be like. Based on the scene from earlier this season where Ted saw The Mother playing bass at Barney and Robin’s wedding, I guess I assumed that would be the big moment. Ted would see her, the camera would swivel around, and we’d see the face Ted had locked eyes with. In classic HIMYM style, we’ll have to hold on for a few more months to get to that scene.
Knowing that The Mother has arrived, or at least that, to quote what Stella once told Ted, “She’s on her way—and she’s getting here as fast as she can,” it’s a bit easier to see Ted the way he was this episode. “Something New” didn’t show us the resolution to Ted and Robin’s rainy rendezvous in Central Park, instead jumping ahead a few days. With Marshall and Marvin in Minnesota visiting Marshall’s mom before the big move to Rome, Lily didn’t have much to do and agreed to accompany Ted to check out his house in Westchester. Years after buying the house, Ted had turned the condemned dump into a cozy-looking home, with a living room that we’ve repeatedly seen two certain kids sitting in as their father told them a lengthy tale about how he met their mother.
It was here that Ted revealed to Lily that he was selling the house and moving to Chicago. After some digging, Lily realized that Ted was moving not because he thought The One might be in Chicago, but because Ted believed that The One was in New York and marrying his best friend. After rushing to Robin’s rescue last episode, Ted knew that he had to move on from Robin. He couldn’t stay in New York City and pine for the wife of his best friend. Planning on secretly slipping away after the wedding, Ted asked Lily to not tell anyone about his plans.
If it wasn’t for our knowledge that Ted would meet his future wife at the wedding, this scene would have been awfully heartbreaking. While we saw a version of Ted who had moved past the idea of looking for signs from the Universe last episode, “Something New” gave us a Ted who was broken and believed leaving everything was the only way to fix what was broken inside him. For all my frustration with Lily this season, she has always been good for a heart-to-heart talk with Ted. In moments like this one, the HIMYM writers remember that these are characters with emotions and histories, not just caricatures. I wish Lily had done more to stop Ted from deciding to leave his life in New York, but I’m pretty sure something else is going to keep him around.
So where does Season 9 go? Ted’s opening narration said that the gang was busy tying up loose ends, but HIMYM seemed pretty interested in creating new loose ends in "Something New.' The showrunners have promised that next season will be very different from what we’ve previously seen from the series. “Something New” did a fantastic job of keeping the future of HIMYM under wraps. Odds are that Season 9 will pick up right where we left off, with the gang arriving in Farhampton for Barney and Robin’s nuptials. Barney and Robin seemed to be perfectly in love this episode, something I imagine the writers had to throw in to wash away the doubts sowed by “The Bro Mitzvah” and “Something Old.” The wedding is going to happen, and Ted will meet The Mother.
The way I see it, Season 9 can go one of two ways:
1) It play out in linear fashion, starting at the wedding. Ted will overstep his bounds, give Robin her precious locket as a gift, upset Barney, cause a fight, and wind up with his hand bandaged just like we saw in “Farhampton,” the Season 8 premiere. Ted and The Mother (whose name we'll hopefully learn when we next see her) will see each other at the train station, Ted won’t go to Chicago, and they’ll start dating. We’ll get to spend a season falling in love with The Mother as Ted does the same, HIMYM will find a way to trump Barney’s proposal to Robin, and the entire series will end with Ted’s wedding. Marshall and Lily will go to Italy, because if they don’t, Lily will always resent Marshall. Yeah, Marshall won’t become a judge now, but we know he will in the future. They’ll be back for the big wedding.
OR or or or 2.) What about that different type storytelling the HIMYM showrunners mentioned? If the “How I Met Your Father” theory is true, HIMYM will turn back the clock in Season 9, and we’ll get to watch Milioti play a woman in New York as her life brings her ever closer to Ted. We’ll see how many times she almost met Ted—at that St. Patrick’s Day party, in the classroom Ted went to by mistake, ducking into her room as Ted talked to Cindy—and we'll see just how close these two always were. Toward the end of the season, The Mother’s band will book a gig playing a wedding in Farhampton, and she’ll pack up her bass and her yellow umbrella. In the middle of a song, her eyes will lock with those of a man at the bar, and she’ll realize he's the person she had been searching for. He’ll sneak away from the wedding before she gets a chance to talk to him, but then—as if the Universe had always intended for it to happen — she’ll see him sitting on a bench at the train station. Ted. And with that, HIMYM will be done.
According to a TVLine report, CBS has confirmed that HIMYM’s ninth and final season will “span the wedding weekend and just the wedding weekend.” Yes, we may have finally been introduced to Cristin Milioti as The Mother, but there’s still a good chunk of the journey left to go.
Apparently Season 9 will focus on “how each character, before Ted, meets the mother. So, they each meet her indepently before he does.” HIMYM has never had trouble delivering episodes full of multi-layered storytelling, so this plan for Season 9 really shouldn’t be too hard for the showrunners to pull off.
But are we really going to devote an entire season to Ted not actually meeting The Mother, you ask? Couldn’t that time be better spent having the two meet and then focusing on their courtship, engagement and eventual marriage, you suggest? Well, after years of watching Ted date (and even almost marry) women who weren’t The Mother, it would be awesome to see Ted in the relationship that finally worked. In fairness to the show’s braintrust, the title of the series has always been How I Met Your Mother, not How I Dated Your Mother, How I Proposed to Your Mother or even How I Married Your Mother. Ted’s story has always been taking us to moment he meets his future wife. As long as HIMYM delivers that, the show has kept its promise to its fans.
Make Season 9 mean something, HIMYM.
NOTES & QUOTES
– Sorry I didn’t touch on Barney and Robin’s storyline already, but I really feel it was just the show’s way of convincing us they were okay. Between Robin’s sham bachelor party for Barney and Barney’s choice to play laser tag instead of spending time with his bride-to-be, HIMYM had to do something to make it clear these kids were going to make it. Trying to break up a couple was that something, apparently.
– Lily called Ted “Teddy Westside.” Things haven’t been going well for Ted, but this was a small victory.
– Casey Wilson’s HIMYM character is totally someone Casey Wilson’s Happy Endings character would be archenemies with.
– Ted describing the work he'd done on his house to Lily: “Just like Ryan Gosling in The Notebook. It was pretty manly until I mentioned Ryan Gosling in The Notebook, huh?” Lily: “Even I haven’t seen it, Ted.”
– Barney looking for flaws in Keegan Michael Key’s character: “A guy who’s happily in a relationship sees a girl like that, he’ll check her out 14, maybe 15 times tops.” Barney checks out the hostess. “Sixteen times tops.”
– Ted protesting Lily’s belief that his future wife was in New York City: “Is she really? Because I’ve looked. I’ve looked high and low for someone I can love and adore and cook waffles for. The closest I’ve come is Marshall.”
– Lily revealed that back in 2008, Ted’s looming marriage to Stella really threw Robin for a loop. Wondering why Ted wasn’t marrying her, Robin got drunk one night and took Lily to Central Park where she dug up the locket she buried as a kid. “This locket was my grandma’s. She kept it hidden in her butt all during World War II,” Robin kiddingly told Lily. Lily convinced Robin to put the locket in the very racecar pencil box that Ted would someday have on his desk at home.
– The song playing at the end of “Something New” was “Simple Song” by The Shins.
What'd you think of "Something New"?