The Season 1 finale of Hulu’s How I Met Your Father had a little bit of everything for anxious fans: surprise (re)appearances, a tuxedo cat, a wedding, two breakups, and the final piece of the puzzle connecting The Captain (Kyle MacLachlan) and Sophie’s (Hilary Duff) love life.
The episode titled “Timing Is Everything” opens with the Captain as he is negotiating the terms of his divorce from Becky (Laura Bell Bundy), and all she wants is his most prized processions—his boats. If you’re wondering what on earth their marital woes have to do with Sophie, her future self (Kim Cattrall) asks for patience as the story unravels.
Present-day Sophie is almost stood up by Jesse (Chris Lowell) at a restaurant, but he barrels in extremely late with a tepid excuse. But he has more interesting news: he met up with his ex Meredith (Leighton Meester) in his search for closure. After he assures her his past is finally behind them, the pair ends up in bed together. While Jesse is asleep, he confesses to Sophie that he loves her. She freaks out and sabotages the relationship.
Valentina (Francia Raisa) and Charlie (Tom Ainsley) have a break of their own after he learned she wants to have kids someday. The split happens right in front of Ellen (Tien Tran)—AWKWARD— who had a terrible job interview and an equally terrible date of her own. On the plus side, Ellen did find an adorable tuxedo cat in the building who both she and Valentina can’t help but fawn over.
Sophie bumps into How I Met Your Mother‘s Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) at the bar. Sophie totally fangirls and dishes about her dating woes over drinks. Robin shares some sage advice, “Do not waste your time being scared, Sophie. Fear can make you run away from things that could be good—great, even. Things that are supposed to be part of your story.”
This prompts Sophie to rush over to Jesse’s place to work things out but she finds him kissing his ex. Yeah, busted. Leaving the drama of her personal life behind for a bit, Sophie heads to her exhibition to celebrate her professional achievements with friends.
The episode ends with Ellen getting the job offer after all and a promising new date with cat girl, Rachel (Aby James). And Sid (Suraj Sharma) surprises the squad with news that he and long-distance girlfriend Hannah (Ashley Reyes) have secretly wed.
Before unveiling the huge cliffhanger, we have to revisit the Captain. He concedes his fleet of boats to his wife—save for one in Australia because, “What those marine biologists are doing down there is important. They’re trying to help coral reef procreate,” the Cap says.
This ties into the events in the pilot episode where Sophie goes on a Tinder date with a man named Ian (Daniel Augustin), a biologist who went Down Under to help coral reef procreate. In the final beats of the episode, Ian walks into the exhibition with a huge grin on his face.
“Is this a good time?” he asks her.
DEADLINE: All this back and forth with Sophie, how much fun are you guys having torturing viewers and keeping them guessing?
ELIZABETH BERGER: [Laughs] It is fun. One of the things that has been really cool— even within these first 10— is showing little glimmers of connection between Sophie and some really cool guys. So maybe you have your attention on Jesse all season and then maybe she has a loaded exchange with Sid and you think about how you’ve never seen that between them before. That sort of thing is really fun for us to keep everybody guessing.
DEADLINE: So many are cheering for Sophie and Jesse. Why’d you choose to end things where you did?
ISAAC APTAKER: I think they’re two people who have been flirting with the idea of there being something romantic between them all season. When they decide to go for it, it explodes pretty spectacularly and pretty immediately in their faces. We talk a lot in the writers’ room about Sophie being a character who, as soon as she has something that feels good, self-destructs a little bit and self sabotages. That’s exactly what happened between her and Jesse. When he says this sleepy I love you, it gets in her head. When she calls him out on it, he doubles down like would that be so crazy? I think she just gets really really freaked out at the idea that this might be the guy for her and so she pulls the self-destruct chord.
DEADLINE: Before diving into the Ian of it all, can you discuss the Captain and his role in Sophie’s life? Now that the connection has been revealed, will he disappear?
APTAKER: We were lucky to get Kyle for these couple of episodes, he’s the busiest man in the world. He was in Australia filming something else and it came down to the wire. It just barely worked out. We would love to have him back but he has like 9,000 jobs.
DEADLINE: The Captain had his way of popping in and out of How I Met Your Mother so it would be very on brand to see him pop into a different season, right?
APTAKER: Yes! He loves the character and he’s always down to do it.
DEADLINE: With Sophie really not ready for love and all it entails just yet, are we to guess she and Ian are doomed also?
BERGER: We’ll have to wait and see. We’re really excited to pick up and see what happens next for the two of them. Obviously, they had this very intense connection, but it’s a connection that mostly existed online and on their phones. It’s very different to share an easy banter relationship with someone and one great first date, but it’s a lot harder to navigate real everyday life together. So we’re very excited for them and to see what that looks like. And also, do we work when we’re actually in front of each other, or do we only work when we are being cute and texting each other late at night?
DEADLINE: It was so nice to see Cobie back as Robin. How did that come together?
BERGER: It was an idea that we kind of locked into very early on in the season. We just loved the idea of Sophie getting to talk to Robin and Robin getting to impart some wisdom to her about love and about life and about timing. Obviously, in the original, we got to see Robin go through so many chapters of her own and so many ups and downs and it felt really organic to the story we were telling to bring her back and have her speak on those things. It’s also so satisfying to How I Met Your Mother fans to see her in that role. It just felt like the perfect way to utilize her and we were so excited that we actually got to do it.
DEADLINE: Robin proposes she and Sophie reunite again in the future. Can we hope for a Kim Cattrall and Cobie Smulders cocktail date?
APTAKER: Oh, that would be awesome! We just did a finale event with Kim and she said how much she loves working on the show but laments she never gets to work with the cast. She’s stuck in the future. She asked, “How can I get a scene with Hilary?” So we’re starting to brainstorm if there’s any fantasy that could get Kim together with some of the cast.
BERGER: We adore her. Every time she’s on screen, we’re grinning as superfans. We’re going to try to find creative ways to use her as much as possible without breaking all the rules of time and space.
DEADLINE: Valentina and Sophie will be hitting Season 2 as single ladies. What can you tease about the future?
APTAKER: We’re really excited for season two for Valentina. Here’s this character who we’ve heard a lot about and her wild and crazy days as a single woman, but we’ve never actually seen it because she’s thrust into this very accelerated relationship. So Season 2 is going to be a chance for us to see what Valentina looks like outside of her relationship with Charlie and what she and Sophie look like as women out on the town meeting guys, at least on Valentina’s side.
DEADLINE: Would you ever go back in time and show how Sophie and Valentina met?
APTAKER: Yeah, we want to do a story about how they all met. That’s actually something we had on the table for Season 1 but with the 10 episodes, we didn’t have room for it. Hopefully, when we have 20, we’ll be able to fit in stories like that.
BERGER: I think everyone loves an origin story, and we love those too so hopefully there’s room next season.