Not since ancient civilizations attempted to answer the question of how the sun rose and set each day, has there been an mystery so confounding as the identity of the woman who mothered Ted Mosby's children. Such is the central topic of the popular CBS sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, which is nearing the end of its eighth season, but has not yet given an answer to the lingering question implied by the title. To say that Ted likes to go off on tangents would be something of an understatement.
If you're one of the HIMYM fans who has dedicated an entire wall in their house to a complex diagram of the possible answers to this enigma, complete with headshots of all the characters and bits of string connecting them all, the deadline by which to place your final bets is closing fast.
Following on from the news that the show will return for a ninth and final season this fall, TVLine has confirmed that show creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas will finally let Ted's poor kids off the couch by revealing how he met their mother, at some point in the closing season.
Let's review what we already know. There was actually a useful round-up of the currently known facts included on the season 6 DVD, which predominantly comes across as comprehensive retrospective on the many failed relationships of Ted Mosby. While the video covers all the red herrings who appeared up until the end of season 6 - including Robin, Victoria and Stella - it also covers the glimpses and facts that have already been revealed about the mysterious mother:
It will be interesting to find out if the mother of Ted's children has actually been subtly hinted at throughout the series, and the final reveal will tie together a whole mass of clues, or whether the writers are simply going to pull a random woman out of a hat. Josh Radnor has argued in favor of the latter, saying in an interview that the answer shouldn't have to be a plot twist:
“I don’t think it should be any sort of stunt casting. I think it would be more interesting to have this fresh, exciting face that Ted has never seen before and neither have people who watch the show.”
Really, with so much of the character fleshed out already, will the reveal of a name and a face make much of a difference? We already know that Ted's destiny lies with a woman who likes bass guitar, the works of T.C. Boyle, and drawing robots playing sports; we know that she took a class in economics at Columbia University; we know that she is very good at getting free desserts, and will be sure to clean the plate when she gets them; and we know that the couple will meet at someone else's wedding.
Who knows? Maybe it will turn out that she works for the CIA, or has an ear in the middle of her forehead, or that her yellow umbrella is some kind of alien probe. Or perhaps the future-with-kids plotline will turn out to be nothing more than an elaborate dream that Ted is having after eating too late at night.
With nine seasons of set-up leading to this one pay-off, what are your theories on how the show will end, and how the question will be answered?
How I Met Your Mother airs on Mondays @8pm on CBS.