Max Nicholson, IGN: How I Met Your Mother‘s series finale was packed from end to end with great content, offering a balanced mix of comedy, drama and — most importantly — answers.
Kate Atkinson, Entertainment Weekly: This isn’t a perfect ending; the ground covered in the finale could have filled an entire season instead of being crammed into a single hour … But a straightforward, fairytale ending for Ted and Tracy wouldn’t have served viewers, and it would have been beyond boring.
Brian Lowry, Variety: All told, the finale, like the series itself, was fine, if not, alas, legendary. But hey, unlike some of the shows that have come and gone while Ted searched for his dream girl, it certainly beat a slap to the face.
Joyce Eng, TV Guide: Bays and Thomas told the story they wanted to tell, and I can respect that.
Donna Bowman, A.V. Club: The hour finale was a strange ride, marvelous in some ways, confounding in others. Endings are difficult, and I don’t think any objective assessment would say they nailed this one.
Verne Gay, Newsday: Perfect finales are impossible, and HIMYM lived up to that fraught tradition: Those somewhat bloated 44 minutes drifted and sagged, filling up airtime with stories that most fans probably would’ve been content to have left untold. But it was sweet, sentimental, good-hearted, and gentle.
Daniel Petty, Denver Post: This ending simply was not delivered in a neatly wrapped package … And while that lesson may not be what many fans were expecting, it’s arguably a lot more realistic than happily-ever-after.
Alessandra Stanley, New York Times: The sweetness of friendships and love affairs on How I Met Your Mother was constantly undercut with ambitious comic experiments and riffs on the sitcom genre itself. The finale was too clever by half and still wholly satisfying.
Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune: It was a good finale. Not a great finale, but a good one.
John Boone, E! Online: I was genuinely surprised … And I think that’s why I liked it.
Caroline Preece, TV Equals: These characters have grown, changed and regressed through these twelve episodes and, as meandering as it sometimes seems, it’s satisfying in the end.
Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel: The kids complained the story was long, but wow, what a fine payoff. Lovely.
Michael Arbeiter, Hollywood.com: How I Met Your Mother very intentionally broke its promise in order to tell us something important: there is no one kind of true love story.
Adam Vitcavage, Paste Magazine: To be honest, I have such mixed emotions. The episode was perfect. But it was wrong. But yet it was right.
Linda Holmes, NPR: It was a beautiful ending, until it wasn’t.
Jane Gerster, Toronto Star: Not a legen – wait for it – dary end for a show that deserved one.
Todd VanDerWerff, Grantland: “Last Forever” comes so close to managing something genuinely moving and maybe even profound that it makes its ultimate inability to stick the landing all the more disappointing.
Jenna Mullins, E! Online: I not only didn’t like the finale, but I felt quite insulted by it.
Jennifer Goodman, Huffington Post: “Last Forever” confirmed our worst fears.
Margaret Lyons, Vulture: Killing the mom is bad enough, but making this a Ted-and-Robin love story is bailing on the central conceit of the show. You might even call it a slap in the face.
Mark Berman, Washington Post: It didn’t work in the end.
Neal Justin, Star Tribune: Well, that was less than legendary … At its best, “Mother” could pull at your emotional heartstrings (Marshall’s father dying, Robin finding out she couldn’t have kids) but this time around it fell somewhat short.
Ellen Gray, Philadelphia Daily News: TV writers have to be willing to move beyond their original visions to find the truth in the worlds they’ve created, which arent necessarily the worlds they set out to build.
EJ Dickson, Salon: While many on the Internet decried the finale as a “con,” a paint-by-numbers resolution of a narrative millions of devoted fans had been emotionally invested in for years, the truth is that HIMYM had thrown in the towel a long time ago.
Bill Brioux, TV Feeds My Family: What if, in the final episode of Cheers, Rebecca gets hit by a bus, freeing Sam to finally marry Diane? … I just didn’t buy the way they did it.
Roger Catlin, TV Eye: Honestly, I can’t ever remember this show ever actually making me laugh and it surely didn’t make me cry when it ended.
Neil Drumming, Salon: The events of the finale felt like a series of contrivances created to bring the main characters to an inevitable conclusion that probably should have been avoided.
Alan Sepinwall, HitFix: As I remembered that they shot the kids’ reaction to the end of Future Ted’s story way back in season 2, my anger over this terrible, misconceived, ginormous middle finger to the fanbase very, very briefly turned into sympathy for Bays and Thomas, because I realized they had become victims of their own damn cleverness.
Esther Breger, New Republic: And that, kids, is how you screw up the ending of a long-running TV show.
James Poniewozik, Time: I do not want to dwell on all the things I hated about the How I Met Your Mother finale … If the HIMYM finale ate it big, it did at least, fittingly, aim big.
Rick Porter, Zap2It: Because they were beholden to that ending and that footage of Penny and Luke shot back in Season 2, I and many others are leaving sad and very dissatisfied.
Brian Moylan, The Guardian: All the action seemed so phony and heightened because it was all so rushed.
Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times: Well, that was bad!
What did you think of the series finale of How I Met Your Mother? Fresh or rotten?