Killing off the “Mother” was a bold move, and it didn’t go over well with a large portion of How I Met Your Mother viewers. The decision resulted in a controversial reception surrounding the series finale, which has tarnished the show’s legacy. When Tracy was brought on as a direct character, viewers had a chance to fall in love with the figure through Milioti’s stellar performance. After finally getting a chance to know the Mother, she was quickly killed off in a rushed series of events presented in the finale. Some avid fans thought the death took away from the series’s focus since Future Ted’s feelings for Robin were reintroduced just moments after he revealed his wife’s fate.
The death of Tracy may have felt like a last-minute decision, but it was actually planned very on during the development in How I Met Your Mother. Creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas planned the Mother’s fate with their team in season 2. To prepare for Tracy’s death, scenes with Penny and Luke were secretly filmed years in advance, so there weren’t aging issues by the time the big reveal occurred in the sitcom. In fact, the show included a handful of clues hinting at Mother’s death well before season 9. Though the series was always meant to incorporate aspects of Tracy, the title was never meant to imply that she was the sole focus of the series.
How I Met Your Mother was always meant to fully follow Ted’s journey through pain and happiness. While Tracy was presented as the love of his life, he also harbored long-term feelings for Robin. Ted was given a chance to have fulfilling years with Tracy, resulting in living out the dream of starting a family. When Tracy ultimately passed away, Ted’s love life stalled until his kids acknowledged their father’s suppressed feelings for Robin. The sitcom made an effort to prove life doesn’t always go as planned with Tracy’s untimely death. Ted did meet a woman he built a satisfying life with, but that was never meant to conclude the character’s journey with love.