For nine seasons, Barney Stinson has been legendary. First as a pickup artist, then as a partner, and always as a friend. Pressures were high for How I Met Your Mother to give its arguably most popular character the sendoff he deserves, especially since there have been worrisome theories that Barney wouldn't live to hear future-Ted tell his kids the story. Apparently, we were worried about the wrong thing, because though Barney lives, he and Robin got divorced and he has a baby with a stranger. Go figure.
Before the finale could even let us start to worry about his mortality, Barney and Robin's marriage fell apart. In the same episode that showed their wedding reception, we saw their divorce. Yes, just three years after their wedding, Barney and Robin got divorced because of the strain from Robin's constant traveling for work. That's why they drank so much in the "Rally" flash-forward — to avoid their emotions just before making the decision.
And a few years after that, Barney changed forever. That stranger, forever unnamed, gave birth to his daughter and we watched him fall absolutely love with her. Finally, Barney has a solid reason to respect women for the rest of his life. At this point, we pretty much stopped caring that he never got back together with Robin. Barney with a daughter is a good enough ending for him.
But before the divorce and baby surprises, why was everyone so sure that our favorite reformed jackass would die? Sharp-sighted fans have been picking up clues (or so they thought) for years, proving that by the time Ted turned into Bob Saget, Barney would have already died. Some signs were more logical than others, like the way Ted talks about Barney from the future. Is it really possible for someone to do all of the things Ted says Barney did? Maybe he was just remembering his friend fondly and embellished his stories. Now we know, Barney was actually just that awesome.
Another oft-cited hint that Barney was doomed was his absence from Lily's front porch test. Whenever Ted dates someone, she imagines the two of them joining her and Marshall on a front porch when they're old but curiously, Barney and Robin are never there. Well, now we know that it's because Robin ended up being the one to take the seat next to Ted.
We were worried about the wrong character. After an apparently perfect relationship with Ted, the mother died and just as we suspected, it was a way for Robin and Ted to end up together. We called it a long time ago, down to the blue french horn, with the only mistake being killing off Barney. No, instead we spent an entire season in the three days leading up to his wedding, only for him to get divorced three years later.
But at least Barney's happy. Farewell, Barney. It was a good nine years. Thank you for making us laugh during those dark days when none of your friends could, teaching us the Bro Code and letting us get a look inside that envied Playbook. We'll never forget everything you taught us, you truly were legen— wait for it— well, you know how it ends.