If you haven’t see the final season of How I Met Your Mother, then I’mma stop you right here and tell you that I’m about to go full-on spoiler, so you might want to leave.
If you, like me, still can’t believe a show could betray you like that, please, grab some whisky and take a seat.
And if you actually liked the original ending...we'll talk later. I just can't right now.
I watched the series finale when it aired in March 2014 - I remember it vividly because I was sick and spent the whole hour sprawled across the couch. Let's just say the ending did not help my upset tummy at all.
But prior to watching the finale, I hadn't seen the season, only reading spoilers or episode recaps (because I was at least one, if not two seasons behind, and have no patience). Recently, though, I watch the full season nine start to finish and was even less impressed with the ending this time around. So I watched the alternate ending instead.
I'm sure you know what the official ending is: the Mother dies in 2024, and Ted, telling the story in 2030, is granted permission from his kids to go after the true woman of his dreams - their aunt Robin.
Side note: those kids are monsters for complaining about hearing the story of their DEAD MOTHER.
The alternate ending, however, gives us a brief recap of all the things Ted had to go through in order to meet the Mother, starting with Lily and Marshall's engagement and ending with him booking the band for Robin and Barney's (sham of a) wedding. It's cute and brings back some fond memories of earlier seasons, but they make no mention of the Mother dying.
On the one hand, it gives the series more of a traditional happily ever after, but then all the foreshadowing of the Mother's impending death during season nine stops making sense. As heartbreaking and emotional as it was to watch the Mother die after such a short time with Ted, it still felt true to life: we had followed Ted on this long journey in search of his perfect woman, and it was only right that we were by his side when he lost her too soon.
If possible, I'd combine the two endings. I liked the mini recap in the alternate endings, and keeping the Mother's death in the story makes more sense. But I'd cut to black as soon as Ted says "and that, kids, is the story of how I met your mother." No weird "nah, dad, it's cool that your relationship with our mother was disingenuous at best, go after aunt Robin even though we've spent years hearing how toxic you were together" moment (again, these kids are monsters).
I suppose we can give the writers props for going with an un-traditional ending when they knew it was going to divide fans, but they didn't have to sacrifice character development to do it.