I’ve been remiss in keeping up with the latest and greatest HIMYM theories, but this post will fix that. After watching the first few episodes of Season 8, and factoring in the new information, I have some updates and changes to prior theories. Many readers are finding me via my posts on the mother possibly being Barney’s sister, the color theory/purple aspect of HIMYM, and the general clues as to who the mother may be. I’m going to try to review everything relevant here in this post, but as always, please let me know if I’ve missed anything…
Let’s start where we left off – my last recap was for the season 8 premier episode “Farhampton”. At the end, we actually see Ted sitting a train situation, mere feet away from the ubiquitous mother. We are shown the mother’s purple shoes, nylons, skirt, and purse – and her infamous yellow umbrella. Her face is obscured, though, so the mystery of her identity remains. She is also carrying a bass guitar case, which connects to prior hints and speculations about her.
This scene is presented to us as the immediate moment before Ted actually meets the mother. Here’s the question we need to focus on now – are we thinking of when Ted officially or unofficially meets the mother?
If we are thinking this is the very first time that Ted meets the mother, regardless of technicalities, then she likely did not attend the same wedding that Ted was just at. Chances are that he would have seen her, spoken to her briefly, or casually met her at some point. If she was, as many suspect, Barney’s sister, we would assume that Ted would have been properly, officially introduced to her already. If she was a member of the wedding band, Ted would have at least noticed her prior to this moment, correct? So by this standard she must be a complete stranger to Ted at the moment of the train station meeting. This rules out basically any prior “suspects” that we have considered in the past.
I personally take a looser approach to the whole thing. I think Ted has already had some unofficial moments of meeting the mother, but without the proper introduction and connection that brings them together for the long haul. Example – the “bump” girl from the St. Patrick’s Day episode. Ted doesn’t formally meet her, but they do bump into one another and exchange brief pleasantries/apologies. If she ended up being the mother, I wouldn’t think that Ted really met her there, but rather encountered her. So, that would still fit in the dynamic of the first official meeting not necessarily being the first encounter.
Ted also encountered the mother’s ankle – and many of her possessions – when visiting Cindy’s apartment. Again, this is not how he officially met her, but it is an interaction of sorts. If the mother is the blind date from the episode “Milk” (I’m still banking on this one, btw), then Ted has already been introduced to her in a way. It may be an electronic/superficial introduction, but it is still a connection between the two of them prior to this moment at the train station.
Now, with all that in mind, let’s consider the alternate possibilities for the mother attending the wedding. It’s important to note that you can see – and even be introduced to – someone at a wedding without really registering who they are. If the wedding was particularly hectic, Ted might not have even had time to meet any guests or members of the staff. He could have been putting out fires backstage the whole time, pulling Barney from an attempted escape and making sure Robin doesn’t totally lose it.
Let’s say Ted did get to mingle at the wedding. There’s presumably a fair amount of people that he might briefly encounter – and even be introduced to – but not feel like he has really met. Again, if he’s preoccupied with fixing wedding mishaps, he may have just smiled and nodded his way through Barney’s “haaaave you met Ted?” If we consider the possible wedding guests, we come up with:
- Barney’s mom, Loretta
- Barney’s half brother, James
- James’ father, Clarence
- Barney’s father Jerome, stepmother , half brother J.J. and half sister Carly
- His coworkers at GNB?
- Perhaps some of his Korean gambling buddies?
- Hopefully Randy the rebound bro
- Some of Ted, Lily, and Marshall’s friends – Punchy, Michelle, Ted’s sister Heather, Marshall’s brothers?
- Robin’s mom and dad (Robin Charles Scherbatsky, Senior)
- Robin’s sister, Katie
- Jessica Glitter
- Sandy Rivers?
- Simon? (God I hope so)
- Canadian friends and family.
Not many of these people count as eligible ladies for Ted to interact with. Who knows how many friends Barney has been keeping in the wings, or how many Canadians Robin plans to invite. But even with this limited number of guests it is feasible to assume that perhaps Ted did not get a chance to really meet the mother, even if she was there. When we look at other weddings on the show, there isn’t a ton of interaction between the main characters and additional guests. So it is reasonable to guess that Ted sees her but doesn’t see her, if you know what I mean.
So, if the Mother is Barney’s half-sister Carly – and/or the bass player in the wedding band – Ted may well have seen or met her, but not officially. It may be a scenario where, later on at the train station, Ted sees the yellow umbrella and says hello to the woman. When he sees her face, he may recognize her from any number of prior encounters, including but not limited to:
-She was a student in the class he (incorrectly) taught
-She was the girl he bumped into at the club
-She was the blind date from the matchmaker
-He saw her picture in Cindy’s apartment or even at Barney’s dad and stepmom’s house
-He recognized her ankle from Cindy’s apartment
-She was also at the wedding
The wedding colors still include purple (flowers and ties as evidence) but Lily’s dress is decidedly pink. Did the maid of honor dress and shoes arrive in the wrong color? Is this one of the things that goes horribly wrong at the wedding? If that is the case, then perhaps the mother’s purple attire is indicative of her being a member of the wedding party. Do wedding band members wear matching colors for the occasion? I don’t know how that works but it seems like a reasonable possibility to me.
If Lily’s dress/shoes are the correct colors, and they inexplicably don’t match the flowers and ties (maybe those were the mistake?), then the mother couldn’t have been part of the wedding party.
There has been plenty of debate regarding the logistics of the Barney/Robin wedding. Per the writers we know that things don’t go as planned, and many of us (myself included) wondered if the wedding was originally supposed to be for Barney and Quinn. The season 8 episode “Pre-Nups” revealed that the wedding is set to be Robin and Barney’s, well in advance of the actual wedding day.
Here are the prior articles with further information about each theory:
Bad Weddings = Good Marriages – a good omen for Barney and Robin?
Purple & Yellow, Color Theory – why is everyone wearing purple?
Carly Whittaker is the Mother?
Old Lady Luck – why are there so many old ladies at critical plot points in HIMYM?
Other Viable Candidates – St. Patrick’s Day “bump” girl, matchmaker blind date from “Milk”, etc
I’m going to think on all of this and update with any new info gleaned from tonight’s new episode!