How I Met Your Mother
For a show that plays with time so frequently, there's one time-jump How I Met Your Mother hasn't employed — until now.
Check out photos from How I Met Your Mother
"This is the first time in the history of our show we're doing a finale that is not set in May. We jump ahead to September, basically to the beginning of next season," co-creator and co-executive producer Craig Thomas tells TVGuide.com. "Ted tells his kids every minute of September to May and then says, 'Oh, some stuff happened in the summer, but the next September...' so it's nice this time that we cover the summer in our season finale. Hopefully when people see the finale, they won't be super-confused."
By September, Ted (Josh Radnor) will be in a great place in his life, only to be thrown when he bumps into Zoey (Jennifer Morrison), from whom he split in last week's episode. Not doing great herself, Zoey makes a surprising proposition to Ted: "I want to get back together."
"It's that moment of weakness that everybody's had of, 'All of the sudden, I feel wildly insecure. Should I go back to this?'" Thomas says. "It's the worst idea in the world, and Barney [Neil Patrick Harris] and Robin [Cobie Smulders] have to stop Ted at all costs. There's tackling. There's chasing. There's detective-ing. It's basically a race against the clock to stop Ted from making a horrible mistake. It plays like an action movie. The episode really takes place over one afternoon."
How I Met Your Mother's Jennifer Morrison: Ted and Zoey's breakup is "very bittersweet"
That is, until the end, when the show flashes forward to the future wedding seen in the season premiere where Ted meets the titular mother. No, we still won't meet Mrs. Mosby, but we will find out the identity of one of the two people getting married. Adding to the guessing game is Nora (Nazanin Boniadi), who pops back into Barney's life in a "brief, but important" appearance.
The reveal will give fans a lot to talk about over the summer, according to Thomas, not to mention, set up a "blockbuster" seventh season.
"This future wedding is a pretty huge day for everyone in the group," he says. "I can say the ceremony hasn't taken place yet; it's just the wedding day. What happens in the last two minutes is two of my favorite minutes we've done in the series. ... It's just really beautiful and poignant and raises some great new questions. [It helps] us come out guns a-blazing on Season 7."
How much momentum do they have? Well, for one, the writers didn't break for hiatus yet and have plotted the November sweeps episodes. "I'm not even kidding!" Thomas says. "I won't say we have everything in between, but we have the premiere down and [Episodes] 7, 8, 9, 10, which have some nuclear-powered stuff that's directly connected to what happens in the finale. "
The creative glut was fueled by the show's two-year renewal, allowing Thomas and co-creator and co-executive producer Carter Bays to focus on what could likely be Mother's final two years. They already have planned the last two minutes of Season 7, which — besides dealing with the future wedding, and more baby talk from Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) — is gearing up to be a very Robin-centric year. "We're going to be looking at what her dating life is about and her future is about," Thomas says. "[Her crush played by] Michael Trucco will be back. There's some serious romantic intrigue in Robin's life in the first half of Season 7."
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But what fans should expect the most from next season is surprisingly quick answers. Except for, you know, that one.
"We'll meet [the mother] a little ways down the road!" Thomas says. "But we're opening up a new mystery in the finale and we're not going to delay a lot of the answers because Season 8's probably our last season. What's great is we have Season 7 up on our dry-erase board and we have emoticons to label the endings. ... There are hardcore smileys, there are super-sad frownies and a lot of 'holy craps.' And a few [episodes] have more than one of them, so I think we're doing our job!"
While he's open to going beyond Season 8 — "we keep shocking ourselves with how many stories we have to tell" — Thomas knows the finish line is near.
"There's a very specific structure to the last season. We're going to need some advance notice [if there's a Season 9]," he says. "If How I Met Your Mother were a plane, it has begun its initial descent with this finale. If you're a hardcore fan, don't miss it."
The Season 6 finale of How I Met Your Mother airs Monday at 8/7 on CBS.