Long time fans of the show finally get a glimpse to what the mother has been up to all these years, and how many near misses that she and Ted has had for so long.
Since September 2005, the day that Ted met Robin and this whole adventure started, we’ve followed Ted on his meandering story of how he met the mother. It turns out, their paths have been much closer than we could ever imagine.
The entire episode skims though the last 8 years as to what the mother has been doing, highlighting all the instances where she (and her friends) just barely missed out on meeting Ted and the gang. I did feel that the episode itself contained a huge amount of fan service by forcing down all these different references to other episodes the entire night. If you have been a long time fan, you would either be thankful at all the fond memories that the episode brings back up, or totally annoyed at the whole idea. Personally, I’m not quite sure where I lie on that line just yet.
If you look at it from a higher level though, there are a few good takeaways.
One takeaway is that the mother’s journey to find Ted was far more tragic than Ted. Loosing her first love on her 21st birthday, and then having to spend the next 8 years in New York essentially alone is both tragic and heart breaking. It was very obvious that Max had the same type of heart as Ted, showering her with gifts that only she’d adore, enjoying her silly singing at breakfast, and being her best friend. To spend all your time scared of falling in love again as to mean you’ve let go of someone like that is one of the hardest things a person can overcome.
In the end, the mother, after a nice offer by Lewis, finally realizes that she has to let go of Max. Lewis is sweet, but he was just filling in an emptiness that she’s been holding for Max, and he can’t possibly fill it.
The other takeaway is the idea that fate and chance are incredibly intertwined in the universe. One of the central motifs of the series was how chance plays a big role in who we meet, especially in the huge city that is New York. The show follows the idea that every single event, while individually random, is meant to lead to a greater ending for Ted and the mother.
There were multiple instances where Ted could have met one of her friends, or run into the mother herself. In either case, what would have happened? Ted, in his typical headstrong ways, likely would have burned bridges in a way that the mother would have never been interested in him. In fact, she wasn’t even ready to commit to anyone till just now. Likewise, had she or any of her friends run into some of the gang at the wrong time (primarily Barney), Ted’s group as a whole may have been marked as undesirable, or “Ted, the friend of the jerk Barney.”
It’s through this isolation of the group from the mother that provides her with a clear perspective on Ted. At the same time, it’s through her roommate Cindy that the mother gets her first glimpse into the soul of Ted. Without Ted dating Cindy, and seeing all of the mother’s stuff in her room and recognizing it, the mother may never have gotten a heads up on Ted beforehand, and just dismiss him as some other guy.
“How Your Mother Met Me” is a great reinforcement to the idea of the central theme of the series, how fate brings people together at the right time and the right place.
- The opening scene Barney doesn’t use an 2005 version of NPH
- MacLaren’s Pub is apparently a chain
- The Mother is 21 in 2005, so she’s 29 when she meets Ted.
- The Mother also pronounces it as Ren-NAY-sance.
- When the Mother meets Lewis, she is standing in front of a wall with “Save the Arcadia” posters.
- We see the Mother laugh at the “That would be shell-fish” joke that Ted references.
- “I think room number 6 is the room for you” – It’s likely the most important of the random events to happen between Ted and the Mother.
- “La Vie en Rose” – Song that the Mother sings.
- Why would Ted be telling this story if the Mother were still alive?