There are 55 hours until Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) get married when “How I Met Your Mother” returns for its ninth and final season. Of course, since this is a half-hour sitcom it won’t play out in real time (besides, where would they squeeze all the flashbacks and flash-forward and one-off jokes?), but the entirety of Season 9 will play out over the weekend of the Stinson-Scherbatsky nuptials. The show returns with an hourlong premiere, combining the episodes “The Locket” and “Coming Back” starting at 8/7c on Monday, Sept. 23.
Season 9 has plenty of non-wedding-related action in store for the gang: Ted (Josh Radnor) will finally meet his bride, played by new series regular Cristin Milioti, while Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) will struggle with a major marital decisions.
Here are five more things to expect when “HIMYM” returns:
1. Meeting the mother. The first member of the gang to have the honor is Lily, who, as we can see in a promo for the premiere below, encounters Milioti’s character on the train to Farhampton, where they share baked goods and also a little bit of physical violence (though Lily seems alright after being swatted on the nose with a rolled-up magazine like a dog). According to E! Online, we’ll also learn in the premiere that the mother and Ted truly do have a ton in common, including “a love of silly road-trip detours and leather driving gloves.” Whatever that means. (Oh, Ted.)
2. Time jumps. The premiere includes a flashback to 1807 Moscow for the origins of the Stinson Curse (complete with Russian accents and a totally era-appropriate guitar solo, per the Huffington Post), and Segel tells xfinityTV that he fully expects a flash-forward in the series finale. “There’s been quite a bit of that already, so I imagine there will be,” he says. Of course, he still has no idea what the episode will entail because the cast is as in the dark as fans right now. “They’ve kept everything pretty under wraps for us as well, so I can only imagine it will be very emotional because this has been a life-changing experience for all five of us,” he says.
3. Guest stars galore. In the premiere alone, reprising their roles are Wayne Brady (Barney’s brother), John Lithgow (Barney’s dad) and Frances Conroy (Barney’s brother). But “HIMYM” is a show that has never shied away from stunt casting, so expect to see many, many more familiar faces pop up before the series ends.
4. Inside jokes. Another one of “HIMYM”‘s hallmarks is the sheer number of recurring jokes revisited on a regular basis. Don’t expect that to change just because the story is winding down — if anything, there are still a ton of loose ends to tie up. There will be a final Robin Sparkles installment, a slow-jam version of the “Bang Bang” song, and, of course, the final slap. Segel hinted that the final two slaps Marshall owes Barney will not come in the early episodes — “They’re a mystery to me as well,” he says — but expect them to come before the series finale.
5. Marshall and Lily. The final season surrounds Barney and Robin’s wedding (and Ted meeting his future wife), but that doesn’t mean our favorite married couple will be neglected. Segel jokes to xfinityTV that three episodes into filming and “already you can feel the magic, the alchemy that is Segel and Hannigan creating something that is stronger than their individual talents.” But in all seriousness, Marshall and Lily will go through some marital strife as two of their best friends prepare to tie the knot. “We come to a clash of ambition, as most relationships do at some point,” Segel says. “Do I follow my dreams, or do I sacrifice that so my wife can follow her dreams? How will they compromise? What will they decide? Find out this season on ‘How I Met Your Mother’!”
Catch-up on the Season 8 Finale of “How I Met Your Mother” Here on xfinityTV: