How I Met Your Father’s season 1 finale features an incredible cameo by Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), which fixes a major problem about her character from HIMYM’s ending. HIMYM is notable for having one of the most controversial TV finales of all time, namely because it ends with the title mother dying while Robin and Ted ultimately end up together. While the idea that HIMYM killed off Tracy for Ted and Robin to end up together didn’t sit right with many viewers, part of the problem was that the original show’s finale had written off Robin’s character as more aloof toward the gang in the future timeline.
The series of flash-forwards in HIMYM’s finale reveals that after her divorce from Barney in 2016, Robin grew extremely distant from the group. While Lily is particularly hurt by this, the entire group feels the pain of her drifting away. When the gang gets together for the birth of Barney’s daughter, Ellie, in 2020, Ted mentions that he bumped into Robin on the street, to which Lily replies that a “genuine Scherbatsky sighting” is about as rare as Sasquatch. Marshall then cuts in by saying Sasquatch is a “warm and affectionate creature,” making Robin more like a “Yeti – cold and aloof.” It’s later suggested that Robin drifts away from the group because she has feelings for Ted again, but How I Met Your Father’s cameo reveals that she wasn’t quite as detached as HIMYM’s characters assumed.
While Lily and the gang were hurt that Robin stopped hanging out with them, How I Met Your Father reveals that she was actually just as sentimental about their time together as the rest of the characters. Although the rest of the gang in 2020 laments about Robin pulling away, in 2022 she reveals that she often visits MacLaren’s just to reminisce about the good old days. Robin tells Sophie that whenever she’s in the neighborhood, she stops into the old pub and gets nostalgic for all of the years she and her friends spent sitting at the booth talking about their love lives. Not only that, but she’s genuinely interested in Sophie and Jesse’s story because it takes her back to the days she loved wasting away with Ted, Lily, Marshall, and Barney.
HIMYM’s ending made it appear that Robin just stopped caring about this time with the gang–even belittling it when talking to Lily by saying, “There’s so much wonderful stuff happening… but the five of us hanging out, being young and stupid in MacLaren’s… just isn’t one of those things.” How I Met Your Father’s season 1 finale proves that she was always around and truly cared, the rest of the gang just didn’t know about it. The assumption that Robin distanced herself from the gang partially contributed to the controversy over her and Ted getting back together in HIMYM’s finale, as her perceived aloofness gave slightly less sympathy to her character. How I Met Your Father’s cameo now makes Robin's story after HIMYM's ending slightly more tragic, revealing that she was coming back to MacLaren's alone in 2022, in her brief hours away from World Wide News, while the rest of the characters were all raising their children.
HIMYM’s season 1 finale implied that Robin was fairly unhappy with how things turned out in the future timeline, which made it worse that she stopped hanging out with her best friends–even Lily. How I Met Your Father fixes this problem by suggesting that she never actually wanted to stop seeing HIMYM’s characters, but just needed time. HIMYM’s mistake was trying to make Robin seem increasingly cold in the future timeline, but How I Met Your Father amends this ending problem by making her happily nostalgic for her years spent in MacLaren’s and proving that she truly savors these friendships; she just did so secretly with Carl. By fixing this problem, How I Met Your Father’s cameo makes Robin’s character more sympathetic in the future timeline, which consequently works to make the HIMYM finale better as well.