HIMYM Episode Review: S9E19 “Vesuvius”


Okay, let’s get to it. We begin on a snowy night in 2024. Ted and The Mother are at the Farhampton Inn (because apparently that’s the only place they ever go to) sharing a quiet dinner. They discuss the snow, and Ted starts to tell her about all the most epic storms from his past: the road trip with Marshall, the night they took over the bar/Marshall had the marching band in the airport for Lily, the time in the suburbs when the neighbor kid stranded Marshall on the roof. Marshall is involved with snow debacles pretty often.

The Mother has already heard all of these stories, though. Ted concedes that maybe he’s just an old man, and they’re an old married couple who has heard every one of eachother’s stories before. It seems like it could be a sad moment, but they high five and are proud to have reached this point. This was my first inkling that something could be wrong…

It seemed like a sweet, inside joke type of thing. But then you start to wonder, why is that an accomplishment? Were they just excited to grow old together, or was there a reason that perhaps they wouldn’t get a chance to know all of one another’s stories?

Curtis stops by, because he still works there and has barely aged at all. Sure, why not. He mentions a lamp that was broken over the wedding weekend, and The Mother says she doesn’t know this story. Ted is excited to share a new adventure with her!

We jump back to the day of Robin’s wedding, where she is acting pretty un-bride-like. I just made that word up but it works, don’t you think? She’s playing an aggressive game of hockey, and her opponent is revealed to be little sister Katie! It’s nice seeing someone’s sister again, dang. I had a moment of respect for Lucy Hale in this episode; she’s honestly an amazing actress and I totally believed her in this role.

Lily gets upset because Robin isn’t freaking out about the wedding. Robin doesn’t want to girl talk or paint her nails; she wants to watch The Wedding Bride Too on TV. Shout out to the sequel! We know that The Wedding Bride 3 is in theaters when Ted first tells The Mother that he loves her, but thus far we hadn’t heard anything about the second movie. It was a nice callback that I appreciated.

One funny point – back in The Exploding Meatball Sub (S6E20), when Ted thinks Barney doesn’t have any good dirt on him, Barney proves him wrong with “the thermos”. Ted immediately caves. In tonight’s episode Robin mentions that she can’t wait to see Jed (The Wedding Bride version of Ted) “get his wiener out of that thermos”. It’s always nice when they give a nod to prior jokes, and this was a tiny mystery that is finally solved. For Jed’s sake let’s hope it’s not too tiny…

Anyway, Lily tries to shock Robin into bride mode by changing into her own wedding dress. She’s older, but damn, Lily still looks just as gorgeous all these years later. Good for her (both the actress and character)! Robin is still pretty chill, though, and Lily just gets pissed.

Meanwhile, Ted sees Barney sneaking into another room in the hotel. He is suspicious, and bribes Curtis to find out the name of the guest in that room. I got distracted a bit at this point and thought they were going to tell us the name of The Mother – did anyone else do that too? I was bummed when Curtis said “Susan Tups” because that does not sound like the right name at all.

When Ted goes to confront Barney about his cheating, though, he discovers a room full of suits. This isn’t the room of a Miss Susan Tups, it’s the room for Sue Tup. Suetup. Suit Up! Barney has hundreds of suits but can’t decide which one to wear. Tim Gunn has made him a special wedding suit, but it feels all wrong on him. There’s a really great moment where Ted encourages Barney to wear the special suit. When Barney first puts it on, the suit is comically ill-fitting. It looks like Barney is dressing up in his dad’s suit. It’s kinda sad because Barney never had that chance as a child and whoops no not going there don’t want to cry :)

Ted explains that Barney feels weird because all of this suit’s memories are ahead of it. He has Barney visualize Robin coming down the aisle, and you can see from Barney’s face that he is enchanted with his bride to be. It’s a very poignant moment that helps remind Barney that he has found The One. When we pan away from his face, the suit fits him perfectly, and he’s ready to pick from his rack of a thousand belts.

We jump back to 2024, and The Mother expresses concern. She doesn’t want Ted to be the man that always lives in the past – he needs to live for the future. This is another clue that things are not great at this point in the future, and it made me feel a little sick inside. I don’t want an unhappy ending and things seem to be shaping up in a bad way. When we flash back to the wedding morning, the whole group is in Robin’s room together, along with Katie.

Lily explains that she wants this moment to be special, because it might be the last time they’re all together. She spills about Ted moving to Chicago, but everyone already knows about that. She apparently pocket texted Marshall as Ted was telling her, so Marshall has known for a while. There wasn’t much made of Marshall’s life long best friend moving to another city with no warning, so I hope we get into that more in upcoming episodes. I would completely freak out if that happened with my best friend, and I’m sure Marshall has some real sadness buried inside.

There was another nice callback in there – it begins with Marshall’s character in The Wedding Bride. The movie version of him is named Narshall, and Ted takes to calling him that. Barney is thrilled until Ted tells him to settle down, Swarley. With that, Barney is back to being Swarles Barkley, Swarlos, and Swarlize Theron. I can’t even tell you how happy that made me!

Lily finally accepts that Robin just isn’t the type to have a wedding freak out moment. When Robin leaves to get ice, though, she sees a familiar face – her mom! I was not expecting Tracey Ullman to play this role, but I have complete faith that she will do a bang up job of it. When we go back to 2024, The Mother is not surprised by this “surprise ending” – and it’s not just because she has, in fact, already heard this story. She says of course she showed up, “what mother would miss her daughter’s wedding”?

This is when things really get rough, because Ted’s face gets really drawn and tight and you can see he is holding back tears. WHY IS HE CRYING?! This is what really drives home the point that something is not right. Theories start to criss cross at this point, and there are a couple ways that you can interpret this scene:

Ted is crying because they both know The Mother might miss Penny’s wedding someday

Ted is crying because they both know Ted might miss Penny’s wedding someday

Something more random like The Mother’s mom dying and not making it to her wedding with Ted, or Ted’s mom dying, etc.

The easy answer is that The Mother is dying. I haven’t put any weight into this theory, with the exception of a brief freak out after The Time Travelers episode. But damn, the evidence is not looking good. When Ted starts to cry, The Mother encourages him to focus on other things, and just be in the moment. She asks about another story (Barney and how he apparently stole that scuba suit) and we pan to the outside of the inn. Bob Dylan’s “If You See Her Say Hello” plays, and we see two deck chairs outside, covered in snow. Is this a bleak indicator of the “fronch porch test” gone horribly wrong?

Obviously this is a really sad and stressful scene. We have to ask if this is the big twist at the end, and if so, why is it being revealed now? Why give such obvious hints if the ending twist is, in fact, that The Mother is dead? Perhaps the twist is that Ted is dead, or dying.

Here’s my take – one of them is gravely ill as of 2024. They don’t know yet if they will survive. Later, when the danger has passed, Ted tells the kids the entire story. They wouldn’t need to know as kids what their parents struggled with, but as teenagers they are old enough to understand. They’re old enough to appreciate the story, more or less.

We have to remember that Thomas and Bays said the show would end with hope. Hope! I’m hoping that means they play up this element through the next couple episodes, and then we get a happy ending where everyone is a-ok.

Alright, let’s get to commenting. Thoughts, everyone?

10 thoughts on “HIMYM Episode Review: S9E19 “Vesuvius”

  1. Hi Corina, thanks for the review,

    I’m thinking that either Ted’s mom has just died or the mother is ill and could possibly die, but doesn’t, because that would be the worst ending ever and I don’t think Thomas and Bays would do that to the show. Its never been that dark. But then again them saying that the series would end with hope is a bit unnerving, that’s been the theme of the whole show – hope that Ted would find the right person. But once he’s found her does he need hope or is his hope fulfilled. So maybe its hope that he will find someone else he loves as much as the mother after she has died. Hopefully not though, goddammit ive been waiting 9 years for Ted’s happy ending I want him to get it!! Haha.

    1. My concern is that the hope element will come into play as some post-The Mother, post-Barney scenario that brings Ted and Robin together. I don’t want that! I think at this point the most solid theory is that she is sick but then recovers. I want Ted to get that happy ending too!

  2. Or maybe robin´s mom died before the wedding , thats why the wedding went “horribly wrong” like they always say..

    1. We know now that Ted’s tears really don’t have anything to do with Barney and Robin’s wedding, so it must relate to either his own wedding to The Mother or Penny’s future wedding. Or, it just relates to his mom/The Mother with no actual wedding connection.

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  5. Dear Ms. Writes,

    At long last, I have seen the conclusion of “How I Met Your Mother” and I can start to comment on episodes from the final season.

    Way back in the first season, we were told that “The Mother” was doomed. We learned from “Milk” that Ted wanted to name his kids Luke and Leia, after the “Star Wars” characters. We know that Carter Bays and Craig Thomas are huge “Star Wars” fans. In the “Star Wars” mythos, “The Mother” always dies early. Anakin’s mother died early, setting him on the path to becoming Darth Vader. Luke’s mother died early, setting him on the path to becoming a Jedi (cool fact: my spell-checker complained when I left “Jedi” uncapitalized).

    In some ways, “Milk” might be the most pivotal episode of the entire series. This was also the episode in which we learned that “Love in the Time of Cholera” is Ted’s favorite novel. I have already mentioned that “How I Met Your Mother” and “Love in the Time of Cholera” are in detailed correspondence. Robin was fated to marry Barney but end with Ted, just as Fermina married Urbino but went back to Florentino.

    In addition, “Milk” presents Ted with his “perfect match” — a bass player who shares his quirks and will bear his children — and yet, in the end, Ted is still in love with Robin. There you have it! Carter Bays and Craig Thomas telegraphed the whole thing, right from the get-go.

    I can’t believe that people were shocked and outraged. I can’t believe that people complained so bitterly about the finalé. It was preordained. It was, in a word, legen… dary!


    [:-)] Mark

    Mark Zajac

  6. Dear Ms. Writes,

    You did not review “Sunrise” so I will post my thoughts here.

    I have already mentioned that Jeanette Peterson and Fernanda del Carpio from “One Hundred Years of Solitude” might be doppelgängers. Throughout the novel, many of the principle characters are visited by ghosts. So, it seems fitting that “Sunrise” features ghosts and Jeanette Peterson in the same episode.

    The novel also features a character name Remedios the Beauty, who is so impossibly perfect that she simply ascends into heaven one day. It seems that Robin recreates this when she floats away at the end. The overt message is that Ted is letting Robin go but the parallel with Remedios perhaps reminds us that, even then, Ted still saw Robin as worthy of apotheosis.

    The writers were careful to lay the foundation by having Marshall collect that picture of Ted’s balloon friend when Marshall passed through Cleveland.


    [:-)] Mark

    Mark Zajac

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