How I Met Your Mother started Season 9 by giving fans the payoff they’ve been waiting for since the first episode aired in 2005 — meeting the titular mother.
The episode, titled “The Locket,” actually showed an interaction between Ted Mosby and the future mother of his children after introducing her at the tail end of the Season 8 finale. Ted is on his way to the wedding between friends Robin and Barney, and after receiving a bit of pity from the hotel clerk she finally appears behind him.
Viewers then get a glimpse of the future, showing Ted sitting down next to The Mother at a bar.
“Hey, beautiful. You look great,” he says.
“Come on. I just ate a croissant crumb that I found in my bra,” them mother replied.
Ted then explained how one year before he had promised he would return to the same table and bring her, even though at that point he didn’t even know her yet.
“Here I am,” she says.
After eight years of buildup, false leads, and cliffhangers that failed to bring payoff, it was quite a momentous scene for How I Met Your Mother fans.
The episode covered a lot of ground other than introducing Cristin Milioti as The Mother, including Lily actually meeting her on a train, Marshall getting kicked off a flight, and a typically big gesture from Ted toward Robin. But it all seemed like foreground to the big moment between Ted and The Mother.
“The Locket” ended years of speculation by fans as to who The Mother is and whether she’s been featured on the show in the past. Cristin Milioti said even her audition process was shrouded in secrecy.
After reading for the part, Milioti said CBS was incredibly guarded about what would happen next.
“I had to sign a Russian novel of confidentiality agreements,” she said.
Milioti said she ended up learning she got the highly coveted How I Met Your Mother role by accident.
“Neil Patrick Harris congratulated me by accident. I flew out to film that finale the day after I finished Once. It was in a out-of-body, white-hot excitement,” Milioti said. “I felt like I was some sort of secret assassin.”
The Season 9 premiere of How I Met Your Mother marks the beginning of the end of the series. In an interview earlier this month, star Josh Radner said that it’s “totally time to end” the series, but that the last season promises to be the most exciting one.
“There’s so much history informing the characters now that there are so many more avenues to go to, in terms of both more dramatic stuff and comedic stuff,” he said.
Fans of How I Met Your Mother now have 19 more episodes to get to know Cristin Milioti as The Mother.