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'How I Met Your Mother' theories

After nine seasons, "How I Met Your Mother" is coming to a close Monday night. Have a theory about how it will all end? You're not alone. Here are a list of some of the conspiracy theories floating out there.

1. The mother is dead

This theory has been floating around for years—in
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Frazer Harrison

This theory has been floating around for years—in fact, Jason Segel mentioned it in a 2010 interview in GQ. In the season eight episode “The Time Travelers,” Ted tells wishes he could go back and tell his future wife “I love you. I’m always gonna love you, ‘til the end of my days and beyond.” But the theory really picked up steam in the last season, when Ted and the mother are back at the Farhampton Inn for the 10th anniversary of when they met. In the year 2024 (not 2030, when our narrator is telling the kids about meeting the mother), the mother says emotionally “I love your yarns. I hope you never stop spinning them … You’re love of my life, Pooh Bear. I just worry about you. I don’t want you to be the guy who lives your life in stories. Life only moves forward.” Later she somewhat casually asks “what kind of mother misses her daughter’s wedding?” and Ted cries. Cue the tissues?

2. Marshall is dead

This theory is somewhat less fleshed out. According
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Paul Hawthorne

This theory is somewhat less fleshed out. According to an eagle-eyed poster on Reddit, there have been several references to Marshall’s death over the years and what once seemed like jokes at Marshall’s expense are actually foreshadowing his death. But given that Marshall is seen in 2029 in “We’re Not From Here,” this theory seems unlikely—unless he died really recently, making all the jokes Future Ted makes about him seem kind of mean-spirited.

3. Barney and/or Robin are no longer friends with the rest of the gang

Remember Lily’s “Front Porch Test” about Ted’s girlfriend,
Photo Credit: YouTube

Remember Lily’s “Front Porch Test” about Ted’s girlfriend, Karen (Laura Prepon)? Lily couldn’t imagine Karen sitting around the porch with them when they are old. But here’s the thing: The porch only featured Ted, Lily, and Marshall. It's a no-win situation for Lily here--either she forgets about two of her best friends, or she is subtly telling everyone she doesn't seem them playing bridge in the future.

4. Ted is really Barney

Wait for it … some have pointed out
Photo Credit: CBS / Ron P. Jaffe

Wait for it … some have pointed out the strangeness of Barney’s relationship in the group. Are Ted’s stories about Barney really about himself, and he doesn’t want his kids to know about his wild days? Further, Barney is not mentioned as a part of their lives in the future. This leaves the door open for ...

5. Ted is married to Robin in the future

If Ted is really Barney, then maybe Ted

If Ted is really Barney, then maybe Ted [narrator Ted, anyway] ends up with Robin? In all seriousness, although Ted and Robin met in the first episode and have dated on-and-off, Ted clearly said “that’s how I met your Aunt Robin” in episode one—and he has mentioned her as “Aunt Robin” since then. The Ted-and-Robin theory especially lost steam after season seven, when Robin found out she couldn’t have children. At the end of “Symphony of Illumination,” Robin is talking to her own children, except the whole thing is revealed to be in her imagination. Ted, meanwhile, tells his own children “Kids, your Aunt Robin never became a pole vaulter. But she did become a famous journalist, a successful businesswoman, a world traveler. She was even briefly a bullfighter … But there’s one thing your aunt Robin never was: She was never a mother.” But creator Carter Bays told E! Online that “this is the ending we’ve been writing since the beginning,” so could that mean that the ending is that Robin and Ted end up together?

6. Barney and Robin’s wedding wasn’t real

In the penultimate episode, Robin criticizes Barney’s need
Photo Credit: WHIO

In the penultimate episode, Robin criticizes Barney’s need to call everything “legendary,” saying, “Do you know legendary is? It isn’t real.” But later, Ted describes the wedding as “legendary.” Does this mean the wedding wasn't real? Or Barney is Ted? Or ... who even knows.

7. Ted is dead

Given that Ted is the narrator, this one
Photo Credit: Fox / Ron P. Jaffe

Given that Ted is the narrator, this one seems extremely unlikely. However, since Future Ted is Bob Saget (not Josh Radnor), is it possible that Bob Saget is someone reading a long letter Ted wrote his children? There’s precedent for posthumous letters—in the season three episode “We’re Not From Here,” Marshall and Lily both open up their “death folders.” Remember that emotional scene in “Vesuvius”? Maybe it was really what kind of parent misses his or her child’s wedding? Also in Jason Segel’s GQ interview, he said his theory is that one of his theories is that “they’re dead. The two kids and their father--they’re dead, and they’re in purgatory, and he’s telling the story for eternity." Aw, Ted.

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