How I Met Your Father might’ve dangled a Neil Patrick Harris cameo in front of our eyes this week, but Barney Stinson’s return was far from the biggest development in the Hulu comedy’s midseason finale.
In addition to setting Sophie on a journey to find her estranged father (more on that here), Tuesday’s back-to-back episodes featured a pair of reunions for series creators Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger: First came the introduction of Michael Cimino, who the EPs previously worked with on fellow Hulu series Love, Victor. His debut as Val’s college-aged fiancé (!) Swish was followed by the arrival of Caitlin Thompson, who the EPs knew from their stint as showrunners on NBC’s This Is Us. Her debut as Sid’s new Instagram friend Taylor promises to throw a wrench in his marriage to Hannah, who continues to live roughly 3,000 miles west of Pemberton’s.
Lastly, Jesse swore to Val that he was done pining for Sophie… but does anyone really believe him?
In Part 2 of our conversation with Aptaker and Berger, the duo breaks it all down and tease what’s to come when Season 2 resumes on Tuesday, May 23.
TVLINE | Sid’s clearly struggling with long distance. What sort of impact is that going to have on his marriage to Hannah?
BERGER | I think Hannah and Sid are a very strong couple, so it’s not like we’re going to come back [in May] and they’re going to be in shambles. But we’re definitely going to see them work through the reality of the toll this kind of distance can take on a couple.
TVLINE | Can you confirm that we’ll see more of Caitlin Thompson as Sid’s plane pal-turned-Instagram friend Taylor?
BERGER | I think that we can confirm that it’s recurring. So yes, we love Caitlin and we’re very excited to have her. She has some cool stuff in the second half of the season that we’re excited for people to see.
TVLINE | This isn’t so much a question as it is an observation, though maybe I’ll find my question along the way! You’ve gone and introduced Taylor as a potential obstacle for Sid and Hannah, and Taylor’s got the whole wavy blonde thing going on, just like Sophie. And there’s a very vocal segment of the HIMYF fandom that wants Sid with Sophie. So it seems, on a totally superficial level, if Sid were attracted to Taylor, he might also be attracted to Sophie. Do you see where I’m going with this…?
APTAKER | I mean, nothing makes the show more fun than having people getting behind different guys and reading into things. Whenever we make a choice, we’re always thinking about that, you know? We’ve said these guys are all on the table, and nothing isn’t thought about [ahead of time], so read into it as much as you want. Maybe it’s meaningful, maybe it’s not.
BERGER | I will say, I know there has been some fan ire, I guess directed at us, that there haven’t been too many Sophie/Sid interactions in some people’s mind just yet. We have some really fun stories for them in the back half of the season that I think people are really, really going to love and that will, hopefully, satisfy that itch for a while.
TVLINE | Jesse still has feelings for Sophie, but he’s convinced himself that he’s better off moving on. Is he really moving on, though?
BERGER | Jesse is trying to transition into friend mode at this point. I think he feels like they’ve tried it, it didn’t work, it’s time to move on. But he still has such a fondness for Sophie and cares about her so deeply that when he hears that this is an important thing to her, he instinctively, immediately wants to be there for her, but I think that’s coming more from a place of a loving friend than anything else.
TVLINE | Val leaves the receipt with the love song Jesse wrote for Sophie in the lost-and-found box. Is she doing this in hopes that Sophie will find it?
APTAKER | I think so. I think there’s a part of her that doesn’t think that Sophie is better off with anyone but Jesse, and there’s a little bit of a “let’s see what happens,” agent of chaos vibe there. Val’s not ready to let this go, but she also doesn’t want to directly rock the boat too much.
TVLINE | Val ends Season 2A engaged to Michael Cimino’s Swish! How much will we see of Swish in 2B, and how long can this engagement possibly drag on before Val realizes Swish is for real?
APTAKER | It’s definitely an arc in the back half of the season. You know, Michael Cimino was the star of another Hulu show we did, Love, Victor, and we just think he’s the most delightful person in the world. It was so much fun to bring him on to something totally different, and he just vibed with our cast right away. So, there’s quite a bit more to tell of the Valentina/Swish saga.
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