So while Ted mulls it over in the rain at the train station, we’re treated to multiple flash-forwards of the gang through the years:
The day after Robin and Barney’s wedding: Lily and Marshall are still grieving over the fact that Ted is moving to Chicago – until they see him sitting at the bar, in his regular booth. What the heck? Why didn’t he leave? “I met a girl,” Ted tells them, smiling. ” but Ted swears this girl is different. And Lily, always a cynic, sees Ted’s smile when he calls the Mother on the phone – and she believes him.
2015: The gang meets at the bar, where Ted and the Mother are now engaged. Uh-oh! Not gonna happen because the Mother arrives in the bar and announces that she’s pregnant. Also slipped in there: Robin and Barney are still married, traveling the world because Robin’s career as a TV anchor is soaring.
May 2o16: The gang meets at Ted and the Mother’s house, where everyone meets their new baby daughter, Penny. A few life updates: Lily is pregnant with her and Marshall’s third baby; Marshall is back at a corporate law job that he hates, but he’s trying to find the silver linings. (“My chair is reasonably comfortable for short periods of time.”) Oh, and Robin and Barney? They’re divorced! How wonderful, given that 22 episodes in the last season led up to their wedding. Thanks to Robin’s travel for work and Barney’s general selfishness, those crazy kids just couldn’t make it work. “Okay, this isn’t a failed marriage,” Barney reminds everyone. “It’s a very successful marriage that happened to only last three years.”
: Halloween time, the gang is at a party on Marshall and Lily’s roof: The happy couple is moving out to a bigger place with a new baby on the way. Robin, newly divorced, sees Barney hitting on girls half his age; she tries to peace out of there, and Lily tries to stop her, and says the gang needs to stick together. But Robin lays down some harsh adulthood truths: In reality, the group is now a married couple with three kids, her ex-husband and her probable soul mate (Ted) about to settle down with the beautiful mother of his child. “Who in their right mind would call that group of people ‘the gang’?” Robin accuses. Lily can’t believe it. “Our whole friendship is just over?” she asks tearfully. “Of course not,” Robin says sadly, echoing the fears of 20-somethings everywhere: “It’s just never going to be how it was.”
Ted is planning his dream wedding at a 17th-century castle in France
2018: Gang meets at the bar. They haven’t seen Robin in months. Barney is back to scamming on barely legal ladies. Marshall gets a call that he’s being offered a position as a judge.
Meanwhile, Barney shows up with devastating news: After sleeping with 31 women in one month, the last one he had sex with got pregnant
2019: Gang meets at Robots vs. Wrestlers (another inside joke). Ted and the Mother have two kids now, but still haven’t married. Yep, Barney’s going to be a dad.
2020: Ted and his young dous news anchor now, and her face is on the side of a bus. “I like you, bus lady,” Penny says shyly. Foreshadowing! Meanwhile, Barney’s nameless one-night stand gives birth to a little girl named Ellie. Barney bursts into tears at the sight of his daughter – in a good way. His life is changed forever. No more trying to bed barely legal women. Progress!