Huh. That was considerably more melancholy than I’d expected. Which is good; one of the things How I Met Your Mother did well in its prime was leaven the good with the bad (just think of all the job and romantic troubles everyone went through at some point). And so, among other things, the finale shows us that Marshall giving Lily her dream meant giving up, for at least a while, his dream; they go to Italy for a year, and I guess it was glorious, but then they return to New York and Marshall spends years miserable in corporate law before he gets another chance to become a judge.
But really, more than even the mother, the finale was about Robin, and how she drifts away from the rest of the group. As someone in his thirties who’s recently left everyone he cares about behind, that got me right in the feels.
The last two scenes twist everything around a little. Ted finally finishes his story (!), and it becomes about what he’s going to do next. Which is actually kinda great; I’m not sure how I feel about the details, but there’s always hope and it’s never too late.
I think someone could actually get a pretty good feel for the series just watching the pilot episode and the finale. The rest is just details.