Just when you thought the one big mystery on How I Met Your Mother was completely solved, turns out that there's another one. Sure, we know who the mother is now, but we don't know why Ted is even telling this overly long and complicated story to his kids in the first place. It's been assumed that it's just because Ted is obnoxious and long-winded, but according to show co-creator Craig Thomas, there is a specific reason, and we'll find out before the series is through.
So you know what that means for empty television announcements... time to play the speculation game! And over at TVLine, they've been literally playing it, with fans voting on what they think the reason is. The most popular one? The mother is dead.
Seems sort of macabre for the ending to a light-hearted multicamera sitcom, but out of all the reasons, it's the most plausible. Seriously, just Google it and see how many theories turn up (Jesus, this show has more theories than a graduate-level philosophy course). But here's a few reasons why it could actually be true:
She's Not in Flash-Forwards
Okay, this is for obvious, identity-concealing reasons. But seriously, there's never even been a hint that she's somewhere in the vicinity, lurking just off screen. In fact, the only time she even seems to around is when an inquiry is made into her whereabouts at the 2020 class reunion in "How I Met Everyone Else."
This has been used in every "the mother is dead" theory on the Internet, and it begs the question: is it just a really emotional speech, or something deeper and darker? It's the speech Ted gives in season eight's "The Time Travelers":
Exactly 45 days from now, you and I are going to meet. We're going to fall in love and we're going to get married, and we're going to have two kids. We're going to love them and each other so much. All that is 45 days away, but I'm here now, I guess because I want those extra 45 days with you. I want each one of them…I am always going to love you. Until the end of my days and beyond.
Pretty heartbreaking, taken on its own. But if the mother's dead, it could be even more affecting.
Even Jason Segel Thinks it Could Happen
Seriously! He mentioned it in an interview with 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.[without missing a beat] I suggested that also.
The Point of the Show
This is a show that's clearly about the journey, not the destination. It's about Ted growing into the kind of person that can marry the mother, not about their eventual life together. But fans have also waited very patiently for this series finale, and while it may seem to be taking a while to get there, there's no way it will just be Ted walking off into the sunset. In fact, show co-creator Carter Bays called the series finale "heartbreaking."