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'How I Met Your Mother': All about Robin, after all

From left, Cobie Smulders (Robin), Alyson Hannigan (Lily),

From left, Cobie Smulders (Robin), Alyson Hannigan (Lily), Jason Segel (Marshall), Josh Radnor (Ted) and Neil Patrick Harris (Barney) on "Last Forever," the series finale of "How I Met Your Mother. " Credit: Fox / Ron P. Jaffe

Robin Scherbatsky, take a bow: The whole darn show, "How I Met Your Mother," was really just about .?.?. you. How many saw last night's ending coming? All of you? OK, fine. Good for you.

I didn't (entirely). But all the clues were there, for all to see over nine seasons. That this ride should end with the blue French horn and Robin looking out her window (with dogs) was in one sense the perfect wrap -- tying back to the very beginning, and really what this whole story was about in the first place: How love sometimes -- if one is very, very lucky, or not named Barney Stinson --- endures.

In another sense, too, it was an elaborate con job, the ultimate TV April Fool's joke that didn't "pay off" so much as just play one more trick on viewers by now reasonably used to them. "HIMYM" was one continuous head-fake -- false turns, dead-ends, MacGuffins, red herrings .?.?. you  name it, they did it here. That was certainly the show's prerogative, just as it was fans' prerogative to complain about it. But the final "twist" also felt a bit too convenient -- a bit, well, like just another bit.

It was certainly bittersweet, too -- considering that "mother," as fans had long suspected, would not survive, and had in fact not even been alive during the telling of this. That was obvious for many seasons, by the way, and a fan suspicion for many of those seasons, too. After all, where was mom? Why didn't she come in to interrupt the tale, to tell everyone it was time for dinner, or school, or that "dad" got that detail wrong, etc.?

Plus, fans never really got a chance to emotionally connect with "The Girl in the Yellow Umbrella." They didn't even learn her name until the final seconds from last night (Tracy McDonnell). Cristin Milioti was also perfect in her brief starring role, in glimpses over the last season.  

But they had connected with Robin. The whole story, therefore, was a pretext for dad to ask the kids permission to ask out "Aunt Robin .?.?."

The finale was flawed: Too long, padded with extraneous material, bloated .?.?. Just like the final season, leading one to assume the finale/final season were an instance of money trumping the natural life of a TV series. (Happens all the time, by the way.)

Plus, Robin and Ted never aged .?.?. 15, maybe even 20 years had passed and nothing had changed -- Ted (Josh Radnor) and Robin had been cryogenically preserved, apparently.

Meanwhile, Cobie Smulders -- already a huge fanboy star, thanks to her "Avengers" movie role -- is about to get bigger, with "Captain America" and the next "Avengers." Here she is on "Late Show with David Letterman" last night.


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