TV Recap: “How I Met Your Father” – Season 2, Episode 5 “Ride or Die”

Meredith and Jesse (Leighton Meester and Christopher Lowell) are being interviewed by Sandy Rivers (Alexis Denisof) to promote their upcoming tour. While Jesse barely gets a word in the conversation thanks to Meredith, we learn that Sandy Rivers has been demoted to the entertainment beat because of some unproven accusations. (Alexis Denisof is his naturally creepy hilarious Sandy, and a welcome addition to the spot.)

Back at the apartment, Valentina, Charlie, Ellen, Sid, and Sophie (Francia Raisa, Tom Ainsley, Tien Tran, Suraj Sharma, and Hilary Duff) are watching the broadcast with Ellen cheering her brother on. Charlie tells Ellen that even though it’s exciting for her, this was painful for someone else in the room. Sophie naturally chimes in that she was fine, and Charlie retorts that everyone knows that she can toggle between emotions and men, but it was Sid that he was talking about. Sid is confident that he and Jesse will get through their disagreement.

Valentina is surprised to learn through Sophie that they are going to visit her parents before Jesses concert. Apparently, Sophie is on a group chat with Valentina’s parents, and not Val. Sophie in 2050 (Kim Cattrall) explains that she loved Val’s parents because they were a great couple. Val was ambivalent about visiting them because her parents were always trying to set her up with someone, and Sophie promises that there will be no set up this time. The group leaves for the concert, and Sid is left alone at the apartment because Jesse doesn’t want him there.

Charlie and Ellen go backstage at the venue and Ellen is intrigued at what is going on, while Charlie is trying to reunite Sid and Jesse. Ellen reminds him that his last brilliant plan resulted in the death of their fish, and Charlie reminds her that Herman the fish died for science. (Tom Ainsley delivers lines like this with brilliance.)

Jesse meets up with Ellen and talks about the incredible gifts he has, from a giant wine glass filled with Sun Chips and the fedora full of chicken wings. They are interrupted by Meredith when she tells Jesse that they need to post another candid video for social media, which ends up being an awkward kissing video.

At Val’s parents (Mark Consuelos and Constance Marie), Sophie and Val are learning all about the latest sale the couple made in real estate via some chicanery, and Val takes the moment to point out how bad they lie. When the doorbell rings, Val is annoyed about being set up again, only to learn that her parents are trying to set Sophie up with Oscar (Victor Rasuk). Unlike Val, Sophie is very excited by this.

Alone and miserable at the apartment Sid calls Hannah (Ashley Reyes) who is across the country at work in the hospital. Desperate for some people interaction, Hannah tells him that she needs more sleep before her next surgery, or else things could really go wrong in the operating room. Hannah hangs up but tells him he can spend one day alone. A knock at the door brings a delivery of cookies and a note from “Jesse” inviting him to the concert. Sid knows it’s from Charlie.

Watching from the kitchen, Val can see that there is no chemistry between Sophie and Oscar, and naturally asks her parents what made them want to set up Sophie. Val’s parents tell her that they recognize she is not the serious relationship type, and that since she is thirty, with only one serious boyfriend, it was pointless to try. The parents start to wonder about the truth behind Charlie, and whether or not Val made him up. Annoyed at her parents, Val decides to talk to Oscar.

At the concert, Jesse learns that Meredith is going to release some private video of the two around her song ‘Jay Street’ which includes the infamous proposal failure. Oblivious to Jesse’s feelings Meredith approves the release, and Jesse is left silently fuming.

Back at Val’s parents place, Sophie is shocked to see her friend hit on her date, which leads to an epic confrontation, where Sophie tells Val that we do not hit on each other’s dates. It’s a rule in the ‘Ride or Die’ handbook. (I hope they publish this like they did The Bro Code.) Val plans to steal Sophie’s date to prove to her parents that she’s just as good for Oscar.

Ellen talks to Jesse about the video release and wonders how he feels about it. Jesse tells Ellen that he hasn’t talked to Meredith about his feelings because he doesn’t want to bother her. Brother and sister bond over remembering the band that they started as kids, “Sunny D and the Crazy Straw, (awesome band name by the way). Ellen reminds Jesse that he deserves someone who makes his life a silly dance, and the only way to know if Meredith is that person is tell her how he feels.

Val is trying hard to impress Oscar. Sophie is shocked by how forward her friend is being. In the kitchen while trying to process what to do, Sophie talks with Val’s parents. Gathering some courage, and wrong use of the term “Sophie’s Choice”, she enters the living room ready to fight Val. Telling her that she has two weeks to get out of the apartment, Val punches Sophie in the stomach. (What? Wow! I should not be laughing, but Francia Raisa plays this scene perfectly.)

When Val’s parents break them up and tell them that it’s their fault, because they set up Sophie with Oscar to make Val jealous and that they never meant to ruin their friendship. Val tells them that she knows, and that her and Sophie were acting, but apparently Val hit Sophie a little too hard in the stomach.  

We now learn that the earlier argument in Val’s bedroom had a few layers. It was here where both of them figured out that Val’s parents were using a real estate trick to create a competitive market, thus forcing Val to fight for Oscar. Apologizing to Oscar, we learn that he too was in on the charade. Leaving, Oscar plans to call Sophie later.

The concert is about to begin and Jesse talks to Meredith asking her not to play the video. There were images that were hurtful to him and hard to live through, and while Jesse is pouring out his feelings, Meredith is ignoring him with a response that it will resonate with ‘her’ fans. He begs her not to show the failed proposal, but Meredith insists that it stay.

Val’s parents apologize for the ruse but tell her that they were only acting out of love. They recognize life is different now, and they just want their daughter to be happy. Telling her parents that she is happy, and hopes to find the love that they did, Val also tells them she isn’t alone because she has such a great friend like Sophie.

At the concert, Ellen is looking for Jesse, but Charlie is convinced that his full proof plan to bring Sid and Jesse back together is going to work, he is disappointed to find that it’s Val and Sophie who have arrived. The concert begins but Meredith announces to the group that Jesse has walked out on her.

Outside Jesse meets up with Sid. They reconcile. (The translation from future Sophie about 2020 bro speak is yet another example of the talent the writers have on this show.)

Charlie claims responsibility for their reunion, but Charlie had little to do with it. (This scene is best watched and not described.)

Bill’s Final Thoughts:

It was bound to happen, and Jesse finally broke up with Meredith. That relationship was doomed from the beginning, and now that it’s over we can hopefully see him reconnect with Sophie. It was expected and should be funny to see play out through the rest of the season.

Tom Ainsley continues to show his comedic chops. The man can do anything with small moments, and he makes Charlie one of the funniest characters of the show.

Ellen and Jesse connecting more and giving the audience a little more history to their childhood was another bonus. Sadly, we only get a moment with Ashley Reyes, hopefully more will come.

Having Alexis Denisof return as Sandy Rivers was a perfect start to the episode and makes me think that we will have more characters from How I Met Your Mother appear soon.  

Bill Gowsell
Bill Gowsell has loved all things Disney since his first family trip to Walt Disney World in 1984. Since he began writing for Laughing Place in 2014, Bill has specialized in covering the Rick Riordan literary universe, a retrospective of the Touchstone Pictures movie library, and a variety of other Disney related topics. When he is not spending time with his family, Bill can be found at the bottom of a lake . . . scuba diving