Anyone who was watching How I Met Your Mother only to learn the identity of the mother ought to have given up long ago-- for eight season the show has dropped hints about her occasionally while happy to focus on other stories about the central character. But on tonight's Season 8 finale-- the last we'll have before the full series finale next year-- we finally saw the face of the mother of Ted's children. Ready to find out who she is?


It's Cristin Milioti!

OK, all of you who don't follow Broadway news are scratching your heads right now. But Milioti was the star of the hit Broadway show Once, staring as the nameless girl who falls hard for a nameless guy, though neither of them are in positions to act on it. The show is beautiful and heartbreaking and extremely romantic-- it's something Ted would be super into, believe me-- and Milioti earned a Tony Award nomination for the performance last year. Here's a video of her singing the musical's signature song, "Falling Slowly":

On the other hand, if you're a 30 Rock fan you'll remember Milioti from the episode "TGS Hates Women," in which she played Abby Flynn, the new addition to the TGS cast who drives Liz Lemon crazy with her "sexy baby" routine. Though she's playing a totally out-there character on 30 Rock, her comedy chops are better displayed here for the sake of HIMYM/ fans worked about how she'll fit into the show:

The way that tonight's episode ended, it's impossible to know just how much time we'll spend with The Mother before the show wraps up. My favorite theory spotted on Twitter is that the entire final season will take place during the promised 56 hours before Robin and Barney's wedding-- a 24-style twist that seems impossible to sustain but is super intriguing. As someone who checked out of watching How I Met Your Mother a while ago, I'm definitely planning to check in next season as they reach their endgame-- and knowing just which mother we'll be spending time with is an extra reason to check in.

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