Returning for the second half of season 2, How I Met Your Father takes a break from who is the father, to who is Sophie’s father.
Back in her apartment in 2023, Sophie (Hilary Duff) is talking to her mom Lori (Paget Brewster) wanting to know everything she remembered about her father. From a picture from Lollapalooza, her mom identifies the arm of the dad, but since that is the only portion of the father in the pic, finding her dad is going to be difficult.
The search for her father continues as Sophie walks into the bar and tells her friends that there are three potential father figures. Val (Francia Raisa) has spent a lot of time helping her friend. Sid and Jesse (Suraj Sharma and Christopher Lowell) wonder how Val was able to narrow the list down to three. Val explains the long-complicated methods she took to find their likely targets, and Sophie then assigns her friends a target to pursue. Jesse and Sid are paired up, while Charlie and Ellen (Tom Ainsley and Tien Tran) get partnered up, with Val and Sophie working together.
Sid suggests that this is like ‘Mamma Mia’, but Charlie and Sophie cast doubts on how close her situation matches the acclaimed Broadway story. Everyone has their own suggestions for what Sophie’s life is like but Jesse’s suggestion that it’s like My Two Dads wins the argument and convinces her friends.
Sid and Jesse are checking out a local gym for one of the potential fathers, when he receives a text from his airplane friend Taylor (Caitlin Thompson). This gets him distracted and Jesse isn’t pleased with Sid. When their suspect Rick comes out to meet them, it’s clear that he is not Sophie’s dad.
Charlie and Ellen meet with their potential father, a strip club owner named Dick. Convincing him to strip for Ellen so they can see if he has the barbed wire tattoo that Sophie’s dad has, Dick agrees to meet them later.
Sophie, Val, Jessie, and Sid head out to Staten Island to pursue the last potential father. Asking for Nick, the founder of the hot dog chain they are at, Sophie learns that he is dead, and leaves her wondering what to do. Standing at his grave, Sophie is wondering if they should say anything to honor the man who might be her dad. As it turns out this is probably her grandfather as Nick (Clark Gregg) walks into the cemetery to pay his respects to the grave. He has a barbed wire tattoo, making everyone suspect that he is Sophie’s dad.
They follow Nick back to Manhattan where he runs another hot dog restaurant, and Charlie and Ellen wait for Dick to arrive for the strip show. Dressed as a pirate, one of the more unconventional strip shows begins, with Ellen wanting the episode to end as quickly as possible.
Back at the restaurant, Sophie is worried about approaching her potential father, but is encouraged by her friends to speak to him. Worried that he might not be a good person, the group decides to put Nick through a series of ‘Dad Tests’. He passes all the tests with flying colors. The group is very impressed by how amazing Nick is, and Sophie plans to meet with him after his shift.
Meanwhile, the most boring striptease ever continues at Charlie and Ellen’s apartment. Dick breaks down because he misses his former partner. With some encouragement Dick takes his shirt off and reveals that he doesn’t have a barbed wire tattoo.
Sophie goes in to speak to Nick, but before she can meet him, she leaves the restaurant. Back at the apartment, Sid continues his discussions with Taylor, but Jesse comes in with an assortment of items to get Sid interested in him again. This is when Jesse learns that Taylor is a woman. Jesse questions the intention of this ‘friendship’, which forces Sid to confront his own feelings for Taylor. When she invites him out for the next Saturday, Sid tells Taylor that they shouldn’t talk anymore.
At the bar, Sophie tells her friends that she couldn’t go through with meeting Nick. Learning that he was a Mets fan sets off a chain reaction of events in Sophie that has her scared about having to learn all the unknown things about her potential father. Her friends tell her that perhaps today was not the day, and that when she is ready, she can take that step.
The episode ends with Nick walking into the bar and introducing himself to Sophie.
This was a nice change of pace from the rest of the season. It was a perfect moment to inject a new narrative into the show, and the audience is rewarded with the hilarious ‘Dad Tests’ moment that is awesome. Clark Gregg being the potential father is a nice bonus, and he would be a great recurring guest star.
I am deeply concerned by Sid and Taylor’s friendship. I hope this doesn’t go the way I think it will, because I love the chemistry between Sharma and Ashley Reyes when she is on screen. I get why this could happen, and how easy it would be for Sid to fall into this line of storytelling, but it doesn’t mean that I have to like it.
Overall, this episode gets an A-.