It’s finally here. The mother of all shows is approaching the moment that’s been built up since, get this, 2005 when Bob Saget first sat his kids down to tell this 8-year story. Speaking as a fan whose first viewing of this show was in 2007 on an airplane (it was the season 1 finale, which was actually the best way for me to get hooked), I’m not a diehard veteran of the series since the first day.
Still, I can’t help but feel a part of the large community of fans that have stuck with this show, and I was as excited as everyone else when the mother was revealed at the end of season 8. Well, her face anyway.
Monday night was the season premiere for what will be the show’s last season. We’ve been told for months that the last season will take place within one weekend, Robin and Barney’s wedding weekend to be exact. Yes, this is the wedding being alluded to since season 6, and many have had a strong opinion about the direction of this method for telling the last string of legendary stories.
Personally, I think it’s perfect. It allows us to be introduced to the mother slowly and still give us a reason to keep watching after Ted and (?) meet. The real story is how they fall in love, and the “24” format is perfect for capturing this.
In the hour-long premiere, “The Locket/Coming Back,” the writers proved that they just might be able to pull this off. For me, the episodes were very entertaining, and I was glued to the screen, which is something I can’t say I did at all during season 8 until the very end.
We start by watching everyone on their journey to Farhampton, the setting for the wedding and the place we’ll be getting to know for the rest of the season. Ted and Lily are initially traveling together until Ted’s affinity to cheesy road trip clichés (the glove compartment was my favorite line of the premiere) drives Lily to ditching him to ride the train. Ah, the same train that the mother is riding to the wedding.
The highlight of the premiere was watching Lily meet the mother on the train. Seriously, this is one of the most crucial moments in the history of the series, and they nailed it. The first person to meet the mother had to be Lily, and the onscreen chemistry and joking between the characters was pretty much flawless.
Elsewhere, Marshall and his son are trying desperately to get to the wedding on time, after an incident leaves him stranded at the airport with Daphne, the loud-mouth passenger played by Sherri Shepherd who got kicked out of the plane alongside him. The two then embark on a “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” adventure to get to New York.
I like this setup to a point, but it’s sad that Marshall is spending a huge part of the final season away from the rest of the gang, but I still found myself loving every moment of his exchanges and clashing with Shepherd.
We also got a sense of the anxiety Robin and Barney are facing as they get ready for their upcoming nuptials. “The Locket” displayed this a little less seriously when the two were worried that they shared a blood relative. The real moments came in “Coming Back,” when we find out (and I won’t spoil it) that Barney’s hope for marriage is based on a couple that is splitting up. I have to admit that the subsequent scene between him and Robin is probably the most authentic I’ve seen yet in their relationship.
Finally, we have Ted. Oh Ted. We all know a Ted. The premiere wasn’t especially nice to the guy, displaying him as the lonely single guy who has to watch his ex and his best friend get married. The series has been building up to a huge confrontation between Ted, Barney and Robin as we see that Ted clearly wants to win her back.
I won’t go into detail, but expect some flashbacks showing Ted going to L.A. to meet up with Stella in search for Robin’s locket from season 8. Needless to say, Ted is going to have to fall a lot before he meets his future wife.
Last, we were treated to a flashforward, showing Ted and his future wife a year after the events of this season. Watching the two onscreen was a bit jarring, but it worked. Everything has come full circle for the show, and I still can’t believe it’s actually coming to an end (even though it really needs to).
Can I just say that for the first time in a while, I am really excited to be watching “How I Met Your Mother” again. It’s been a long journey and I’m happy to see that they’re ending on a mind-bending finish reminiscent of the early seasons.
If you’ve been on the fence about getting back into the show, I highly recommend that you skim the last two seasons you probably didn’t watch and get on the bandwagon for season 9. If nothing else, we have to see how Marshall finishes the slap bet.
One more time: