The scene then segues to the same spot a year later, where Ted recounts his state of mind at the time to his soon-to-be wife (Cristin Milioti). “Wait a second,” she says. “One year ago today you hadn’t even met me.”
“I know. But I knew I would,” Ted replies.
It’s a sweet moment for the couple — but it also got us thinking: Could Ted already be anticipating meeting the Mother in more than just some abstract way?
Consider how the mother even ends up in Farhampton at Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin’s (Cobie Smulders) wedding. Last season’s episode “Band or DJ” first established the wedding date as May 25, 2013. It also laid out the circumstances by which the Mother ends up playing the wedding reception with her band: A week before the wedding, Ted runs into his ex Cindy (Rachel Bilson) on the subway and tells her the band he booked for the reception backed out. She suggests her ex-roommate’s band, and the rest is not history yet, but it is fodder for the remainder of the show’s final season.
When Ted briefly dated Cindy in Season 5, he saw a number of signs that seemed to point to her as someone special — except all of them turned out to be things attributable to her roommate, aka the Mother. It’s not at all unreasonable to think Ted would recall that after booking the Mother’s band. Even if at the moment he’s still kind of obsessed with Robin and her locket, it seems possible that in the back of his mind, he knows the woman who shares all these interests with him is coming to the reception.
“HIMYM” co-creator Carter Bays won’t confirm the idea, but he doesn’t exactly deny it: “Without giving anything away, I’ll say that Ted is definitely not unaware of her existence at the wedding before he meets her,” Bays tells Zap2it.
The Mother has already had a positive encounter with Lily (Alyson Hannigan), and it’s expected she’ll meet some of Ted’s other friends before he sets eyes on her. It’s also easy to see one of them figuring out she’s in the band and encouraging Ted to meet her.
A show as continuity- and callback-obsessed as “HIMYM” is probably won’t let something like that slide. And it makes Ted’s “I’m coming back” comment that much more interesting.