Well into its eighth season, it’s no secret that “How I Met Your Mother” has been dragging its feet through the prospect of revealing the elusive mother. While “The Time Travelers” didn’t give fans exactly what they wanted (seriously, just show us her face already), it did set the end game firmly in motion — Ted will finally meet his soulmate 45 days from now.

How I Met Your Mother

“The Time Travelers”

“HIMYM” has always told its story from the future, but “The Time Travelers” makes this future Ted more tangible. The episode spends most of its time on menial arguments between the gang, and it doesn’t amount to much other than a kind of weird hallucination of Barney and Ted’s future selves, and a really sugary drink that is sure to make your teeth rot (name To Be Determined).

The first half of the episode is mindless and humdrum — light, superficial and inconsequential. But the conclusion packs the emotional punch that this season has been lacking. “You’re all alone,” Future Barney tells Ted, and Bob-Saget-voiced-Ted laments the amount of time he spent feeling sorry for himself. The underlying message of the series has always been about waiting — but not wasting — and it’s on full display here.

The sweet episode is only made sweeter by the seriously cool end tag sextet between future and present Barneys and Teds singing Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time”; it’s one for the ages.

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