The How I Met Your Mother finale was ambitious and incredibly divisive, but a deleted Ted (Josh Radnor) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) scene would have saved the hated ending. After nine years of buildup, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas’ epic love story came to an end with some huge decisions that some felt undermined the sitcom’s entire premise. HIMYM even received a happier, albeit safe, alternate ending on DVD, but this cut scene would have smoothed over the finale’s main point of criticism.
How I Met Your Mother’s two-part finale, “Last Forever”, saw the group somewhat drift apart over the years, bridging the timeline up to Ted telling his kids the story in the year 2030. The ending saw the mother, Tracy (Cristin Milioti), die from an undisclosed illness in 2024, with the real reason behind Ted’s story revealed as a way for him to learn if it’s okay to finally move on. Ted’s children quickly encourage him to get back together with Robin, with the series ending just like HIMYM’s perfect pilot.
Ted and Robin’s last-second reunion was hated by many, deemed rushed and insensitive towards the mother. However, a deleted scene in which the pair meet for lunch to discuss their lives would have saved How I Met Your Mother’s ending by showing Ted wasn’t still pining for her. Robin confesses to Ted that she still has feelings for him, clearly setting up the final scene, but their exchange simultaneously reinforces Ted’s love for Tracy and how he was truly happy.
After running into Robin while out with his daughter, Ted was supposed to meet her for lunch the next day. Despite her success as a globetrotting news reporter, Robin is unable to pretend she has no regrets. Ted reminisces about the old days, asking her, “How did we end up here?” Robin mistakenly takes this as a sign he isn’t properly fulfilled either and reminds him about the pact they made in How I Met Your Mother season 4, stipulating that if they were both still single at 40, they would marry each other. She admits, “Now that I know that you feel the same way too, I don’t feel crazy anymore.” The awkward exchange highlights Robin’s character flaws but is also realistic and poignant. Her feelings for Ted were teased earlier, during the rooftop Halloween party where she was unable to watch his happiness with Tracy. However, this confession to Ted would have provided a more gradual build towards the final reveal and considerably improved Ted’s characterization.
Ted politely rebuffs her comments, making his position clear when he states, “I don’t spend a lot of time thinking ‘what if?’ I guess that’s happiness.” It provides a wonderful moment of clarity and feels utterly sincere. Ted’s exactly where he wants to be and has finally learned to live in the moment. This was emphasized later in HIMYM’s finale through his modest yet thoroughly romantic proposal and poetically simple wedding day, no longer needing grand gestures to impress anyone. This deleted scene would have helped illustrate that Ted really had moved on from Robin, with an interesting reversal of past events as he shuts down any hint of lingering romance. He makes sure Robin is okay and she responds, “No major problems”. Just as Ted prepares to leave, he stops and they give each other a delayed salute, returning to their old running gag.
Ted didn’t love Robin at the time, but that doesn’t mean their connection entirely disappeared, again foreshadowing How I Met Your Mother’s ending. Ted was undeniably happy and having him confirm this fact to the person who most impacted his previous relationships would have been a strong display of growth. Although there was supposed to be a brief funeral scene showing Ted mourning Tracy’s death, this deleted exchange with Robin would have proved Tracy and his kids were Ted’s sole focus for many years.