5 insane “How I Met Your Mother” finale theories

The Internet thinks that either the Mother is dead, Ted is dead, or that Robin and Barney are dead

By Prachi Gupta

Published March 31, 2014 3:15PM (EDT)


The nine-season-long story that Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) began to tell his kids in 2030 about How He Met Their Mother is about to wrap up. Although we’ve met the woman known as the Mother, there are still many things we don’t know (like why does the Mother not have a name?).

Fans are buzzing with “How I Met Your Mother” theories, attempting to tie up some of the series’ unanswered questions. Here are five insane (but for all we know, likely) fan theories about how the series finale ends:

The Mother is dead

Cristin Milioti, who plays the Mother, has already called this theory bogus -- but that hasn’t stopped fans from clinging to “evidence” from an episode in March, "Vesuvius," in which Ted and the Mother are together in 2024, commenting on Robin and Barney’s wedding. Talking about Robin’s mother, the Mother says, “Is it really such a surprise? I mean, come on, of course she showed up. What mother is going to miss her daughter’s wedding?” Ted tears up, and Bob Dylan’s “If You See Her, Say Hello” plays.

This little bit of foreshadowing has led some viewers to believe that the Mother won’t be around for her and Ted’s daughters’ weddings, because she has died before the series ends. And, for what it’s worth, HIMYM actor Jason Segel had the same theory back in 2010 when he told GQ, “You want to know my theory? We’re going to find out at some point that the mother’s dead. And adult Ted has been telling them all these stories about the mother they never knew. It’ll retroactively cast the entire show in this dark-comic light.”

Ted is dead

Even the casual HIMYM fan knows that Radnor’s voice was suddenly replaced by Bob Saget’s in 2005 with no explanation. We also know that Future Ted is an unreliable narrator. Maybe this is because Future Ted isn’t Ted at all, and Ted is dead!

Everyone is dead

Just kidding, this isn’t a real theory. Except, well, it sort of is. Even if Ted and the Mother are alive, Bustle argues that Robin and Barney might be killed off, as they don’t appear in a flash-forward scene that Lily imagines. (Admittedly, this theory is a bit weak).

Ted has Alzheimer’s

This might be a more plausible explanation for our unreliable narrator, his long, meandering stories, and Ted’s tendencies to forget basic facts about his friends (like how Lily was pregnant). If Ted has Alzheimer’s, though, fans will have to rewatch all nine seasons to attempt to separate myth from fact.

We learn that Ted’s TV is broken

Everyone could still be dead (except for Ted) for this theory to work, but according to one Redditor, maybe this huge epic is just a way to pass time:

Someone on /r/HIMYM pointed out that 2030 is a "trilogy year," meaning one in which the gang watches the entire original Star Wars trilogy.
Ted will never let anything get in the way of this, and will likely force his kids to participate at all costs.

But I suggest that something comes up, namely the TV is broken, so he simply decides to tell his kids his own giant saga: how he met their mother.
Given that the mother has stated that Ted loves to lives in his stories, he's bound to embellish every little detail, and he's been shown to do so. This is why he takes so long to tell the story and goes off on so many tangents, namely the "endless parade of sluts [he's] banged." He wants it to me as epic legendary as possible.

He's also told the kids the story before. They don't even say they haven't heard it before, they simply ask "are we being punished?" They've heard it before, but as Ted wants it to be his own trilogy to share, he keeps on repeating it.

TL;DR Ted's TV is broken, so instead of watching Star Wars, he tells his kids about how he met their mother and embellishes it to be "legendary."

The two-part series finale airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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