How I Met Your Mother may be all about the laughs, but that doesn’t mean it is all smiles – these are some seriously sad episodes.
Vesuvius’ may not immediately stick out as the most memorable episode in terms of sadness. Still, hindsight is a powerful thing, and after the reveal of the finale, this episode becomes so poignant.
The episode sees Tracy and Ted at the Farhampton Inn in the future, realizing they have told most of their stories until Ted comes up with one. That story has a bit of emotion in it with Robin being reunited with her mother, but the true sadness comes after this story has finished. After that story about Robin’s mom, Tracy asks, “What mother is going to miss her daughter’s wedding?” prompting sadness from Ted, and upon rewatch, fans realize this is because Tracy will not live to see her daughter’s wedding.
2 ‘Shelter Island’
Right at the core of each season of How I Met Your Mother is Ted’s (oftentimes obsessive) quest for love. Apart from the obvious two in Robin and Tracy, the closest he got to the apple pie family life was with Stella.
‘Shelter Island’ was the day of the pair’s wedding, and on that day, Stella decided to leave Ted at the altar for her ex-husband Tony, who Ted invited to the wedding. No matter how much wrong Ted does throughout the show, it is impossible not to feel heartbroken for him.
The first truly heartbreaking episode of How I Met Your Mother comes at the very end of the first season, with ‘Come On’ bringing about Lily and Marshalls end.
The whole debacle of Lily going to San Fransisco to follow her artistic dreams was building up to this point. That moment where Ted is walking home and spots Marshall holding Lily’s engagement ring in the rain is one of the series’ saddest, with the lack of dialogue and immediate recognizing over what has happened adding to the down atmosphere.
4’Tick Tick Tick’
For fans of Barney and Robin, ‘Tick Tick Tick’ is probably the most painful to watch, except for the series finale. For all the wrong Barney does, his character is so great that he garners a huge amount of sympathy at the end of this episode.After cheating on Nora with Robin, who likewise cheated on Kevin, the two agreed to get back together and leave their partners. Barney did as such and waited in MacLarens, only for Robin to give him the most painful head shake in history. Barney’s longest second was painful, and the follow-up likewise as we see him clean up Robin’s room of all the romantic things he set up there.
5 ‘Symphony Of Illumination’
For most of How I Met Your Mother, Robin is fiercely independant, wanting to focus on herself and her career, with not much interest in kids and a husband.
However, the options for a change of heart were always there; she did marry Barney after falling in love, after all. However, in ‘Symphony Of Illumination,’ it is revealed to Robin and the audience that Robin is medically unable to carry a child, taking the option away. Seeing her process this information is Robin at her most vulnerable, and it is difficult to watch, especially with the image of her kids fading away.