I don't think there are many people who would argue with the assertion that How I Met Your Mother has been on the air too long. Its nine seasons have stretched once-funny bits into gratingly overwrought irritations, and the show's weaker elements (Barney Stinson's abject misogyny, Ted Moseby as a character) have rendered it all but unwatchable. Still, it says a lot about how good the good times were that so many viewers, some of whom have quit along the way, are willing to come back to find out how it all ends. I count myself among them.
The big reveal actually happened in the eighth season finale when, after countless fakeouts we finally met the future Mrs. Moseby. Of course it will take the rest of this season for Ted to meet her, but the premiere has her and Lily sitting on a train together eating cookies that she's named Sumbitches. They're on their way to Farhampton where Lily and the gang will be attending Barney and Robin's wedding, Lily having ditched a road trip with Ted when his quirks got (understandably, I think) too irritating. Lily and the as-yet-unnamed mother figure out that Ted getting Lily out of the car is some kind of plot involving a locket Robin's been searching for and his still-burning flame of love for her, which: ENOUGH ALREADY, my god. Ted's been in and out of love with Robin for eight seasons. She's about to marry his best friend. The fact that he's still thinking about sabotaging the wedding makes him not just unlikeable but nearly unbearable.
Elsewhere we have the first of many attempts to make us believe that Robin and Barney's wedding might get called off: oh no, they might be cousins! This seems... unlikely, and proves untrue. In the second episode that aired last night there was another try, when Barney's brother, who Barney believes broke an old gypsy curse that doomed his family to promiscuity, announced that he was divorcing his husband. Barney was unruffled; he believes in Robin, and he believes in love. Let's guess that when the meltdown comes, it's not going to be on his side. Meanwhile Marshall is trying to get from Wisconsin to New York on a stormy holiday weekend without being a jerk, and also trying to keep his mother from accidentally revealing to Lily via social media that he's accepted a job as a judge in his hometown, which would be bad enough on its own, but the couple are already planning to move to Rome so that Lily can take her dream job. I have trouble buying this whole plotline-- I would seriously consider divorcing Marshall, if I were Lily-- but I guess we'll see where it ends up?
All in all I'm not hopeful about any of this, to be honest: I hate Ted, I'm not on board with what Marshall is doing, and I have no interest in getting jerked around all season on the Robin and Barney front. Probably the best strategy to adopt is Lily's Kennedy plan-- a G&T always in hand-- and the hope that whatever comes will at least do so gracefully enough that I can still enjoy the early seasons, the good old days.