Tracy, we hardly knew you! – How I Met Your Mother Season Finale (Spoilers)

As the last thirty or so minutes of How I Met Your Mother‘s hour long series finale unfolded last night, I kept looking over wide-eyed and unbelieving at my wife.  She too sat mouth agape in disbelief.  Did they really go there?

Yes, in fact they did.

Every crazy theory seemed to come true.  Barney and Robin got divorced. The Mother was dead (long dead at that). Ted and Robin got back together.

What the actual hell.

At first I was angry at what happened.  This is not at all what I had signed up for when I started watching this show.  It was a cop out and basically invalidated the whole premise.

However, the more I think about it the more I realize I’m not angry with what happened as much as the way it happened.  These things weren’t earned.  They felt like the characters being shoehorned into a story that the writers insisted on, but the characters no longer organically fit.

The writers knew where the story was going.  They filmed the scene where the kids insist Ted pursue Aunt Robin years ago!  (That must have been one hell of a non-disclosure agreement for those kids!)  So why didn’t they organically build what was coming into the story?  Sure, we had hints that the mother was going to die.  And in retrospect carrying on the Ted and Robin thing to the point of being ridiculous makes a bit more sense now.  (Plus the death of the Mother’s first love and her story about moving on now seems like a big red flag.)  But why spend the entire final season on Barney and Robin’s wedding if you are just going to break them up twenty minutes into the finale?  Why even get Barney and Robin back together if Ted and Robin were end game?

They could have easily truncated the wedding into the front 12 episodes and spent the back 12 fleshing out the fifteen years that was crammed into the hour finale.  People change from who they were in their twenties.  Friends who were inseparable grow apart when life happens and have to work to build a new different kind of friendship.  People find the love of their lives and only get to spend ten years together before they lose them.  These are all stories worth telling, but only if you take the time to actually develop them organically into the story.

I feel cheated by the writers, not because they didn’t give me what I wanted (though they didn’t), but because they didn’t take the time to make what they wanted actually make sense in the story they were telling.  With a long ago filmed final scene and an announced final season they had the time and the resources, and that is what I find most disappointing.

I think if I had been in the writers room, I would have taken a look at that final scene then taken a look at what I had built up over nine seasons, and I would left that scene on the cutting room floor (perhaps for a crazy bonus alternate ending on the Full Series Blu-Ray release).  I would have ended the series with the Mother and Ted meeting under the umbrella for the first time, because happy endings aren’t a bad thing and the truth is everything that happened to Ted over those nine seasons made him into a person ready to meet the love of his life, all of it no matter how arbitrary it seemed or slightly creepy it was that he was telling his children about all the chicks he banged.  Becoming the person you need to become before meeting your soul mate – that’s the story that I thought they were telling.  Evidently I was wrong.

Doctor Who Dat Nation

Saints vs. Falcons in the same week as the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who! What more can a New Orleans Girl ask for?

Seasons of Glee – Season 5 – Episode 3

To say that this episode has loomed over Season 5 is a bit of an understatement.  Since the news first broke that Cory Montieth had died there was incredible pressure on the Glee writers to make his character’s departure work within the context of the show.  There were early talks of mirroring Montieth’s real life over dose to make a statement about addiction, but the idea was quickly abandoned (hopefully because the writer’s realized that Season 3’s twist that Finn’s father was actually a drug addict and not a decorated war would make any drug abuse totally out of character).  They instead chose not to focus on how he died, but rather the grief of those he left behind.  Because I was out of town Thursday to Monday I wasn’t able to watch the episode live, but was unable to escape the buzz around it.  It seemed almost universally positive (unusual for Glee) and I had high expectations for the episode.  I certainly wasn’t disappointed, but as Rachel requested I’m not going to treat the show with kid gloves.  Like all episodes of Glee somethings worked and somethings didn’t.

Things That Worked

–       Limiting the newbies.

I understand that the newbies connected with Finn as a teacher, but let’s be real, the audience doesn’t care about that.  What we do care about are the original characters and how they are coping with the death of their close friend.  The writer’s innately understood that and the episode was much better because of it.  I don’t think I could have handled Ryder crying over how Finn helped him realize he was dyslexic without throwing my shoe at the TV.  Does that make me a bad person?  Probably.

Pretty much the only time you saw the newbies. As it should be.

–       Santana Dealing with Grief

Finn and Santana had a rather complicated past – she took his virginity, he forced her out of the closet – so there was no way that she could simply cry over his death and get over it.  Instead she grieved true to character, by lashing out and lobbying insults.  When she confronted Sue about her treatment of Finn, she was also projecting all the anger she had towards herself about her own treatment of Finn.  Naya Rivera did an excellent job portraying Santana’s violent meltdown (though girl needs to eat a sandwich).  I was very anti-Finn for much of Santana’s storyline (I mean he outed her to a hallway full of people, because she called him fat), but I thought they did a good job reconciling his faults with his underlying good intentions.

Santana projecting so much it hurts.

–       Sue Dealing with Grief

Similar to Santana, Sue’s relationship with Finn was rocky.  Her grief was right on character and Jane Lynch, as always played it perfectly.

–       Kurt/Burt/Carole Scene

This entire scene killed me, but extra gold stars to Mike O’Malley and Romy Rosemont.  I do wish they would stop downplaying Burt’s reaction to Finn’s initial homophobia, but otherwise the Burt monologue was spot on and O’Malley delivered it with the perfect amount of regret.  Carole’s monologue broke my heart into a thousand pieces and then broke those pieces into a million more.  I think the gif below speaks volumes.

–       A touch of Rachel Berry

I think it was probably best for Lea Michele as a person that her participation was limited, but I think it also worked best for the episode.  We know that Finn’s death will forever change Rachel.  We will likely see the effects through the end of the show.  It was much more interesting to see how Finn’s death affected the characters that he was less intertwined with.  However, the amount that she was in the episode was perfect.  I don’t know how she got through it, but it was painful to watch.  I really hope this somehow helped her grieving process.

–       Tina’s Grief Counseling Session

In an otherwise pretty serious episode, this was a lovely comedic break.  Also, Tina continues to be the writer’s favorite human punching bag.

“I’m supposed to be mourning who?  Did we date?”

Things That Didn’t Work

–       Puck’s Storyline

I’m not sure if it was the writing or the acting that was to blame here.  Puck’s storyline was the same basic idea of Santana and Sue, people grieve differently and sometimes they do destructive things, but this was just laughable.  I actually laughed out loud when he was “drunk” and screaming at Beiste in the locker room.  Also, it’s a little awkward that he decided to join the military as a result of Finn dying since Finn’s own Army attempt was a big old failure.

I started crying from laughing so hard at the bad acting in this scene.

–       Beiste

Usually I’m a fan, but, like I said with Puck, everything about this was terrible.  Bad acting.  Bad writing.  Just all around bad.

This gif makes it look much better than it actually was.

–      Introduction to Rachel not coming

I respected that they established in the first five minutes that they were not talking about the cause of Finn’s death and that Rachel was not coming to Ohio (at least for the first part), but the weird blurry lenses-ed point of view shot made it seem like Rachel was drugged or something.  They could have easily had Kurt stand outside the curtain or just shown him and not shown Rachel in bed.  Small nitpick, but it bothered me nonetheless.

She’ll come when the drugs wear off.

–       Mr. Schuster is an asshole.

I’ve always hated Mr. Schuster (he is weirdly obsessed with his students and he treats his OCD wife like crap, among many other things), but the jacket thing really takes the cake.  The fact that he stole the jacket is pretty creepy in and of itself, but two things really push it over the edge to pissing me off.  Firstly, he decides that Santana is unworthly of the jacket.  Sure he doesn’t stay it out loud, but the fact that he stole it from her then told her to back off and go home when she was putting up Reward posters speaks volumes enough.  Secondly, when everyone was accusing Puck of stealing the jacket Mr. Schuster didn’t defend him and then WHEN THEY WERE ALONE basically told Puck that he needed to give the jacket back, because it wasn’t his.  Mr. Schuster knew Puck didn’t steal the jacket, because HE HAD STOLEN THE JACKET and yet he went out of his way, when they were alone, to make Puck feel like shit.  Right after his best friend died.  Way to be a great teacher and all around upstanding guy, Mr. Schu.

Asshole

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