I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
Sleeping At Last
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)

500 Miles: Another Essay on How I Would’ve Ended How I Met Your Mother

For me, one of the defining episodes of How I Met Your Mother was 2x17, “Arrivederci, Fiero”, in which we see a young Marshall and Ted driving home from college in Marshall’s Pontiac Fiero. Marshall’s car radio ends up being stuck on The Proclaimer’s “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, and the two guys go through a love/hate/love/detest relationship with the tune as it plays over and over again.

As I cracked up, I realized, once again, that this would one of those shows I’d cherish forever. Obviously, the scene served the show’s comedic side. But beyond that, it encapsulated exactly who Ted’s character was. Because this show, despite its endgames, despite its twists and turns, has always been about Ted’s hope. 

But I would walk five hundred miles,

And I would walk five hundred more,

Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles

To fall down at your door.

Say what you will about the dopey, dad-like architect whose jokes are cringe-worthy and red cowboy boots make your eyes bleed, but Ted…Ted, who’s always taped his heart back together and trudged through those city streets as if they were made of gold…Ted is the last true romantic in New York.

His persistence is what defines him, and we knew from the first episode that he didn’t stop until he found the one. 

And this is how I’d always pictured that happening:

[Season finale stays as is until the scene when Marshall turns around in the booth to talk to the group of twenty-year-olds sitting behind the gang.]

“Do you know what happened in this booth?” he begins as the rest of the gang roll their eyes at how old he sounds. But when he considers it, the realization dawns on him, and we see cuts of the telepathic conversations, the dates, mistakes, the beers, the laughs, etc…as Lily, Marshall, Robin, Ted, and Barney smile at each other.

Marshall turns around once more, eyes the group of five young friends behind him, and says, “Everything.”

As he says the word, Tracy takes a seat next to Ted.

You see, kids, that was when your Uncle Marshall made me realize a little something about fate. 

When I met Marshall in 1996, I unraveled the beginning of a story that led me to this very day, right here and now. Another dorm room, and I might have ended up sitting in Maclaren’s with a different set of friends.

[Shot of Ted with a different group of people, laughing at the pub.]

Heck, I might still be in Ohio. 

[Shot of Ted, with his big glasses and dorky hair, hosting that weird, pretentious radio show he ran at Wesleyan.]

But I didn’t. And I’m not. Because everything that happens to you in life is exactly what’s supposed to happen. You’re supposed to fall in love with the wrong people, you’re supposed to make a fool out of yourself and get rejected from your dream job - tell the girl you love her on the first date. Propose and then propose again, buy a house you can’t afford, believe in true love. Because if it’s nothing else, it’s the five people who belong on your front porch. 

You don’t give up.

Because who would I be if I hadn’t spent eight years chasing a yellow umbrella?

[As Ted speaks, a montage of his life with Tracy rolls: we see her at the St. Patty’s Day party, smiling at Ted from her seat in that economics classroom, their first glance, first kiss, wedding day - with Barney and Marshall as both of Ted’s best men - etc…right up until we see Ted curled up with Tracy on her hospital bed, crying against her cheek.]

[Ted’s memory flickers in and out of the scene at the Farhampton station, jagged images of himself laughing with Tracy about the initials on the umbrella.]

[The camera pans to him.]

And that, kids, is how I -

[Ted pauses, unable to speak.]

That’s how I…

[Ted gets up, excuses himself as his kids watch on.]

“We’ve heard these stories a billion times,” Luke whines once they’re alone. 

Penny rolls her eyes, “And he never gets to the part where he meets mom.” She shrugs one shoulder. “At least he quit the Bob Saget impersonation." 

Luke frowns. "Who’s Bob Saget?”

[Camera pans to Ted in the hallway of his dream house, on the walls are what seem to be mementos of his past with his friends and Tracy. There are pictures with his kids, the whole family dressed as Star Wars characters, a picture of the gang in their twenties at Maclaren’s, then all of them sitting out on Ted’s front porch with Tracy, Barney’s ducky tie, and the blue French horn, which he hesitates to pass by. As he walks, a slower, melodious version of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” - linked above - begins to play.]

When I wake up, well, I know I’m gonna be

I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next to you.

[Shot of Marshall and Lily in bed, surrounded by their kids. Her art and his first gavel are up on display as he eats an Egg Marshall and she wears the sweatshirt that says, “Lily and Marshall, Rockin’ It Since ‘96.”]

When I go out, yeah, I know I’m gonna be

I’m gonna be the man who goes along with you.

[Shot of Barney and his daughter, Ellie, as a toddler. They’re sitting on a couch in his apartment, talking animatedly, and she’s wearing a little suit to match his. When she tells him a joke, she gives him her first high five. Barney smiles again, glances back at where the TV is playing on mute - and Robin is reporting on the screen.]

And when I come home, well, I know I’m gonna be

I’m gonna be the man who’s coming home to you.

[Shot of Robin, whose international reporting spree has given her a chance to visit Canada, of all places. When she arrives, a family asks for her autograph. Robin thinks it’s another crack at Robin Sparkles until she sees an old clip of herself reporting in Canada when she was young, playing on the TV screen of her hometown bar. She smiles, reflecting on how far she’s come.]

And when I’m dreaming, yeah I know I’m gonna be

I’m gonna be dreaming about the time I had with you.

[Camera cuts back to Ted, at the end of the hall, where a yellow umbrella is the only one in its stand. Outside, it’s raining, and he grabs the umbrella, hesitating before turning the doorknob. But when he walks outside, he’s young again, the same Ted who met Tracy in Farhampton, and he walks up to her in the rain.]

But I would walk five hundred miles,

And I would walk five hundred more,

Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles

To fall down at your door.

“Hi,” she says.

“Hi,” Ted responds, finally getting to the last part.

[End scene, fade to black.]

5x15 missing scene

Kurt wakes up slowly, blinking, confused about all the white around him. For a couple of moments he wonders if Blaine has gone completely insane and messed up the color scheme of the loft by making it look like a hospi…

Then Kurt hears the steady beeping that is his heart and everything that happened comes back to him and the painkillers can’t subdue the ache that’s much deeper than the cuts and bruises. 


His name is said with a soft, tired but hopeful voice and he moves his head just a bit to see Blaine, sitting in a plastic chair with a cup of coffee in his hand. 

"You’re awake. Are you okay, should I call the doctor?" 

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