HIMYM season 9, episode 16 “How Your Mother Met Me” just aired and How I Met Your Mother celebrates its 200th episode with nods to some of the most classic episodes.
The importance of this episode is twofold: it was the aforementioned 200th episode of the series, a feat not to be diminished by the fact it was our first, and perhaps only, Mother-centric episode. The brief mentions of the Mother throughout the previous eight seasons were all called back tonight as we saw the stories from the Mother’s perspective.
Though we don’t know her name, we do know a lot about the Mother. Particularly that she has spent most of her 20s mourning the loss of her boyfriend and supposed true love, Max. After turning 21 in 2005, she spends the next nine years only tepidly testing the waters, and when Max gives his “permission” to move on, she declines her boyfriend’s proposal.
But then it’s St. Patrick’s Day 2008, and her friend Kelly, whom we consider her Barney, convinces her to go out to the bars with her. The Mother obliges, but grabs her yellow umbrella in case of rain. After running into an old friend who is in need of some instruments, she rushes out of the bar to give him her cello. This friend, Mitch, mistakes her act of generosity as an invitation to take a page out of Barney’s playbook and run the Naked Man on her. It doesn’t work and she’s grossed out.
Before he leaves though, they have a heart to heart and we see the Mother go through the kind of existential crisis we’ve seen Ted go through practically once a season. She declares she wants to end poverty and Mitch drops this advice on her: “Every decision you make from here on out should be in service of that.” Which brings us to…
Fall 2009: The Mother is going for her degree in economics and retelling her sordid tale to another classmate, Cindy. The Mother evidently also likes long-winded stories as much as Ted.
Ted and the Mother really were made for each other, which to the viewer could seem as a trite move by the show. We don’t want to see the two hate each other and then fall in love, of course; we want love at first sight, but the clues that Ted and the Mother are perfect-with-a-capital-P for each other feel too blatant.
The closest they ever got to each other was in January 2010, when Ted went back to Cindy’s apartment. After they break up, Cindy bemoans that Ted was in love with the Mother. But she doesn’t see how that could be possible – after all, she has a coin collection and calligraphy set – nerdy stuff!
When Cindy realizes she’s a lesbian, she moves in with her girlfriend and the Mother is on the hunt for a new roommate. Enter Darren. The last time we saw him, he was throwing a fit and nearly ruining Barney and Robin’s wedding.
There was a time, though, when Darren was merely egotistical and taking credit for the band the Mother originally helmed. While she’s luging the band’s instruments in April 2012, she meets Lewis – her Robin, so to speak, it would seem. During this scene, there’s a wall of posters explaining “Save the Arcadian.” This subtle nod to the season 6 arc of Ted designing his own building was almost better than learning everything else about the Mother.
Side note: While the Mother and Darren were talking, we realized that Cristin Milioti and Andrew Rannells are two Tony Award nominated Broadway performers and we would really love to hear a song or two from their band, Super Freakonomics. If Barney could find a way to jump on stage too, that’d be great – Neil Patrick Harris has hosted the Tonys four times.
Through a sequence of events, the Mother ends up in Farhamton to preform for the wedding when she walks in on Lewis, her then-ex, down on one knee proposing to her.
Now it’s important to realize How I Met Your Mother has been about fate just as much for her as it was for Ted. If she’d said yes to Lewis, if she hadn’t gone to school to help end poverty, she probably wouldn’t be where she is today.
After leaving Lewis and checking into the Farhmanton Inn – taking Robin’s mom’s room – she strums her ukulele on the patio, and brings us back to today, the wedding weekend as we see the various states the gang is in. And friends, it’s not good. Lily and Marshall are fighting, and Barney is drunk and sleeping on Ted’s floor.
Or, at least, he was. Ted comes in from the patio and begins to explain the Mother’s incredible voice and ukelele performance to Barney, only to learn the groom has run away!
This isn’t too big of a shock, is it? Cristin Milioti has knocked this pivotal role out of the park as she mixes her sense of sarcasm and sincerity together to create the woman that Ted has been looking for. We hope to see her featured more in these last seven episodes, now that we’ve crossed this threshold that’s taken us eight and three-quarters of a season to get to.
What did you think of “How Your Mother Met Me”?