Boy, what a mouthful of a title. Jeeze.
Okay, so it's been a little while since How I Met Your Mother ended, and I've had a fair amount of time to really contemplate it, so here's my two cents. I won't bother really delving into the plot or characters of the episode so much, just my opinion, which does have two sides, but is definitely leaning one way more than the other. I guess that's because, after 9 seasons, I really want to find something in the finale that I really liked. I really want to. It's like watching a nine year engagement go up in flames like the Hindenburg. It's over so quickly you're left wondering why you're on fire and everything you know and love isn't what you thought it was.
I really didn't like the ending. It didn't work for me, as it didn't work for a lot of people. And personally, here's why; it just plainly didn't fit. When the show was started, they went ahead and filmed bit for the ending that they had envisioned originally when the writers were pitching the show. If you go back and watch, say, the first four seasons, and then skip to the ending? It makes more sense for Robin and Ted to get together. Unfortunately for the writers, the show went on, it grew up, it talked back, and like any good parents, they rubbed its face in it until it did as it was told... I might not be parent material.
So what threw off this original ending so bad? Four extra years of the show. The stories couldn't remain static, so new things were introduced, like Barney and Robin's relationship, which they spent an entire season establishing their wedding weekend. Nearly a whole year was spent with us watching them get hitched. What the writers didn't count on, was their impromptu storylines, that would have no bearing on the ending they'd already shot, would invest their audience. Duh. They spent so much time earning Robin and Barney's relationship, we fell in love with it. We also fell in love with Cristin Milioti as the titular mother. She was wonderful, and after so much time and waiting, we were ready to see Ted happy. I was happy to see Ted happy, and I was happy to see Robin and Barney happy.
But in the final all that got thrown away (divorce and dead Mother) so the writers could keep their original ending. Bully for them. On one hand, I really respect that the writers stuck to their guns and told the ending they wanted to tell. I just think it was to the wrong story. How I Met Your Mother had grown and developed and moved on to bigger and better things. The audience deserved bigger and better things. Hell the writers had simply improved as storytellers.
After the fact, you can really see how hard they were trying to accommodate where the story was trying to go, and still stay in the safe zone that afforded the (in their opinion happy) ending where Ted and Robin got back together ... a storyline that was so played out over 9 seasons and that next to nobody was even moderately interested in seeing. If anything, we had 9 seasons to showcase why they shouldn't be together, why it won't work.
The original ending is very indicative of where the writers were in their lives when they started the show. It's a shame that 9 years later, they were still doggedly holding onto that notion that, frankly, they should have outgrown. Their show would have been more fondly remembered had they simply remembered to kill their darlings.