Review: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ – ‘How Your Mother Met Me’

A review of tonight’s “How I Met Your Mother” 200th episode coming up just as soon as we’re the best economics-themed band in the city…

Well, that was lovely.

And also frustrating.

As an episode, “How Your Mother Met Me” was pretty terrific. I can quibble with a couple of things here and there – they were stuck with Darren, for instance, even though I’d have been fine never seeing him again – but overall it did about as good a job as possible as a single episode could at both telling a story of the Mother’s last seven years, while weaving her into the larger continuity of the series.

But as I watched Cristin Milioti be so vulnerable, and charming, and funny, and as I saw the Mother blossom into something more than just a collection of tics that Ted Mosby is destined to find adorable, all I could think was A)Why did we have to wait so long for this? and B)Why did they have to squeeze it all into one episode?

Over the weekend, Zap2It’s Rick Porter put together a list of Mother moments from the run of the series that this episode could potentially touch on, and we hit most of them here. (Apparently, the Mother was not the woman from Ted’s dating service in “Milk,” since she wouldn’t have been looking for love at that point.) And while the episode did its best to dwell on the things that mattered – say, the pep talk The Naked Man gave her to pull her out of her grief-stricken rut, or the Mother asking her late boyfriend Max for permission to move on, or the Mother singing “La Vie En Rose”  – but at other times it felt like it was racing to check items off a list in the time allotted.

And Milioti is too good for that, and the Mother is too important a character for that. I’m glad this final season exists so we got to know her at all, rather than the original plan to just end the show with Ted meeting a woman who’ll forever be a stranger to us. But I think back on some of the dumber episodes from earlier in the season and wonder how on earth the creative team thought those were a better idea than, say, doing a structure that interspersed the Mother’s timeline with events in Farhampton.

There’s the old showbiz adage to “Leave ’em wanting more.” But for a show that’s run as long as “HIMYM” has, that’s very clearly marking time at this point before we get to the finish line, that adage shouldn’t apply. They should be giving us as much of this lady as they can for as long as they have left.

But that’s an issue more about the season than about “How Your Mother Met Me.” Some other thoughts:

* I had hoped Milioti – or an older actress (Lori Loughlin, maybe?) – would narrate the episode from the future, to once and for all put to rest the fan theory that the Mother is dead in 2030 (and, related to that, that Ted and Robin are somehow a couple in 2030). Nope. Saget all the way, and the speculation gets to continue.

* St. Patrick’s Day is in March, yet the chyrons show the events of “No Tomorrow” (which aired on the actual date of St. Patrick’s Day that year) as being in April. Also, if the Mother meets Louis in the spring of 2012, and the wedding is in the spring of 2013, how do they have “a couple of years” together? Did I misread/mishear something?

* Always happy to see a new version of the title sequence.

* One avenue that could have potentially been explored more: why the Mother doesn’t at least try to meet Professor Mosby once Cindy explains about Ted’s attraction to her. Yes, she’s still in mourning for Max, blah blah blah, but it’s been a while at this point, and that’s something that could have been dealt with in more time.

* They did get the continuity right on when Barney and Ted opened Puzzles versus when Ted wears the green dress.

* It is obvious and yet bears another mention: Milioti can sing. Now I really wish I’d seen her in “Once.”

What did everybody else think? Did “How Your Mother Met Me” fill you with joy? With frustration? Both?