How I Met Your Mother series finale: More twists than a (blue) French horn

Mar 31, 2014 at 9:31 p.m. ET

How I Met Your Mother went out in a legendary series of flash-forwards. Our predictions were right... but we never could have guessed what would happen at the end.

No one knows emotional roller coasters like How I Met Your Mother fans. We've cried when Lily Pad and Marshmallow fought, broke up and got back together; we laughed at all of Barney's boner jokes; and we followed all of Robin's major career twists. (*Salutes* Major Career!) All along that long, winding, hilly ride, we waited to finally meet our mother, Tracy McConnell. But nothing prepared us for the finale.

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The two-part finale began at Robin and Barney's wedding with a flashback to the moment Lily made Robin an official part of the group. We watched as Ted laid eyes on The Mother for the very first time and, shortly after, watched as their perfect match registered in Barney's mind. It was too late, though... Ted was headed to Chicago.

Enter the train station and the yellow umbrella

Leave it to Ted to tell his stories to a perfect stranger. Within seconds of meeting the old lady on the bench, he's confessed his love for the pretty girl with the bass guitar. When Tracy showed up on the platform, it was that woman's nagging that pushed him under that yellow umbrella. Everything about the "argument" over what the "T.M." on the handle stands for was absolutely perfect .

From there, everything was in time jumps. And here's what you need to know:

  • Marshall and Lily have another (third) kid.
  • Marshall finally gets to be a judge and eventually goes on to run for state supreme court.
  • Robin and Barney do eventually divorce when Robin's career takes off and she can't spend as much time focusing on Barney and their marriage as she should.
  • After nine years of boning every girl in New York, Barney's shenanigans catch up with him... and he becomes a father to the most adorable baby ever, Ellie. Subsequently, you see the most selfless and tear-jerking moment since Barney came into existence: In becoming a dad, he finally grows up. It's precious.
  • Ted and Tracy have two kids (obviously), all before they get married.

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And then...

Sadly (or maybe not), we were right about The Mother. Tracy does get sick and eventually passes away. Craig Thomas and Carter Bays (smartly) pushed through that part fast. We had time to get teary-eyed and maybe take a ragged breath or let out one blubber, but then we moved on.

In the most distant future — the time taken up as Ted tells his teen children the story of how he met their mother — the stories finally end and the Mosby kids are annoyed. Why? They're both certain it isn't a story about how he met their mother at all, but about how Ted and Robin still belong together. They know their dad's just trying to feel them out on their feelings toward Aunt Robin. As it turns out, it's been six years since their/our Mother died. They love Aunt Robin and they want their dad to be happy. They urge him to call her up and ask her out.

Enter the blue French horn

Robin's single and still livin' in the city. She's back to having a pack of dogs in a tiny apartment and she has an incredibly cute bob haircut. (The hair isn't relevant, but we still love it.) Someone's buzzing to be let into her apartment and she can't get the security screen to show her who. Finally, she opens the window and peeks out.

And there's Ted Mosby, blue French horn in hand, looking like the perfect of perfect and the world's most hopeful romantic.

Which cast mate got the blue French horn? We have the answer >>

Tell us...

How did the finale sit with you? Where will Ted, Robin and the gang live now that the show has ended. On your DVD shelf, in your head, or in your hearts?