"How I Met Your Mother" finale spoilers coming up just as soon as I get my daughter a turtle...
Well, we have our mother.
Or do we?
Yes, "Miracles" opens with Future Ted talking about how the cab ride changed his life, and it ends with him proposing to Stella, but you'll note the distinct absence of Future Ted telling the kids something like, "And that's how I asked your mother to marry me." As bet-hedging goes, it's not massive, but it does give the producers an out if they want it.
From what I understand, "Scrubs" will be done filming its season by sometime in August, which is around when "HIMYM" would be starting production on season four, so if they need Sarah Chalke around for close to full time, that shouldn't be too big of an issue.
And I like Chalke quite a bit -- or, at least, I really liked her in "Ten Sessions," where she got to be funny, spar well with Josh Radnor (and, briefly, Jason Segel) and show the right amount of emotion when things got schmoopy with Ted. I think I'd be perfectly fine with her being the mother...
...except that her next two episodes were two of the weaker ones of the season. The relationship tension in both "Rebound Bro" and last night's "Miracles" felt contrived. We know from the end of the Ted/Robin affair that Ted really wants to have a lot of kids, like, immediately, and while Stella's daughter isn't his, seems to me she'd be a bonus, not a problem, for him. So we have this random, artificial break-up -- two break-ups, really -- just designed to make Ted's proposal more dramatic, but even there, it didn't quite work, because Ted's epiphany about Stella came in between the first and second break-up. The only change at the end was that Ted was cleared to leave the hospital.
Beyond that, "Miracles" was frustrating because it felt very slapdash, and because, aside from Marshall's list of lame miracles and Robin's Canadian references (Springsteen as the American Bryan Adams, Sir Sratch-awan), it wasn't a particularly funny episode. I'd be okay with minimal laughter if the dramatic parts were more interesting -- I'm thinking back to the first season finale, with Ted's rain dance and Marshall and Lily's break-up -- but as I said, the Ted/Stella stuff felt artificial.
In fact, the proposal got thoroughly upstaged by the look on Barney's face when he realized he was in love with Robin. It's no surprise that Neil Patrick Harris can play emotions in a more convincing, more interesting manner than Josh Radnor, but we've also had three years to build up to that, as opposed to three episodes of Ted and Stella (plus a handful of other episodes where they were allegedly dating but where Chalke didn't appear).
This was a very odd season of the "HIMYM." It started off very weakly, with too many episodes in a row of Ted and Robin separately dominating the action (including one of the show's worst episodes ever, "We're Not From Here"). Things started to pick up a bit right before the strike hit, and then the show came back much, much stronger post-strike (including "The Bracket," the season's only episode to belong in the "HIMYM" pantheon), only to peter out here in the last three weeks.
Now that we (presumably) have the Mother taken care of, and assuming (I hope) that there's no actors strike to disrupt things further, I'm looking forward to a season that's not disrupted by outside forces or by the producers' need to stall on finding Ted his woman.
What did everybody else think?