[Editor’s Note: This post contains spoilers for the final two episodes of How I Met Your Father Season 2, “Shady Parker” and “Okay Fine, It’s a Hurricane.”]
How I Met Your Father’s central mystery has become more of a guessing game. Whereas the original series didn’t introduce the mother (Cristin Milioti) until the very end of its penultimate season, HIMYF establishes from the get-go that viewers have already met the father, narrowing the candidates down to Jesse (Chris Lowell), Sid (Suraj Sharma), Charlie (Tom Ainsley), Ian (Daniel Augustin), and Drew (Josh Peck). But after the sitcom’s two-part finale, Sid has emerged as the frontrunner for the role of Sophie’s (Hilary Duff) future husband.
For a while, Sid didn’t seem like a strong contender given his established relationship with Hannah (Ashley Reyes). He proposed to her during the pilot in a move that paralleled the relationship between HIMYM’s Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan), though Hannah has been a recurring character rather than a series regular. In Season 2, the show introduced even more obstacles to their marriage, including Sid’s brief text relationship with Taylor (Caitlin Thompson), whom he met on a plane, and his jealousy towards Hannah’s co-worker, Eli (Langston Kerman) while visiting her in Los Angeles. These issues were resolved in relatively healthy ways, with Sid cutting Taylor off and the couple working through their insecurities. Despite these efforts, their relationship ultimately crumbles at the end of Season 2.
In the finale, Hannah reveals that she shared a drunken kiss with Eli, which prompted her to flee to New York. Sid initially forgives her, citing his own past mistakes and wanting a fresh start to their marriage after so much time apart. However, when Hannah mentions that she hastily left without using her packing cubes, it raises doubts in Sid’s mind. If the incident truly meant nothing, like Hannah insisted, why was she so desperate to leave? It’s unclear whether Sid and Hannah will make it through this bump, but judging by Sid’s expression at the end of the episode, it looks like they’re heading towards a separation.
On the other hand, Sophie and Jesse’s relationship takes a significant step forward. After a season filled with anticipation, they finally admit their feelings for each other and decide to give their relationship a real chance. It’s a direct parallel to HIMYM’s Season 1 finale, which saw Ted (Josh Radnor) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) get together, while Marshall was left devastated by Lily’s decision to end their engagement.
Meanwhile, Charlie and Val’s (Francia Raisa) relationship sees its own ups and downs. The duo broke up at the end of Season 1 due to their conflicting stances about kids; Valentina wants children, while Charlie is adamantly opposed to the idea. However, the Season 2 finale confirms that at some point in the future, the couple presumably reconciles their differences and raise a child together. This revelation effectively eliminates Charlie as a potential candidate, which is ultimately a smart narrative decision. Introducing a love triangle between Charlie, Sophie, and Val would not only be frustrating, but out of place within the current storyline, given that the series hasn’t laid any groundwork for that dynamic to make sense.
Drew and Ian are still possible contenders, though it looks like their arcs may have run their course (for now, at least). Drew attempts to rekindle his relationship with Sophie, but their chemistry has fizzled out due to her lingering feelings for Jesse. And Ian, content in a new relationship, appears to have also moved on.
This leaves Sid and Jesse as the most likely options, considering their status as main characters. While Jesse may be the most obvious choice for the father, his relationship with Sophie follows too similar of a trajectory that of Ted and Robin. The constant back-and-forth in HIMYM between the two, even as Robin and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) were getting married, became increasingly tiresome over nine seasons. It would be too predictable and too exhausting to subject viewers to that same kind of treatment, even if there is chemistry between the characters.
Sid, by contrast, holds intriguing potential. Part of what makes Season 2 so much stronger than the first is the way each episode establishes a much stronger friendship dynamic between the group. Sid and Sophie share more screen time, which allows for a variety of silly shenanigans: In “Family Business,” Sid helps Sophie run a pop-up event at the bar so she can bond with her dad. In “Shady Parker,” they join forces to investigate Jesse’s girlfriend, due to their suspicions about her. Yet the most obvious clue pointing to Sid appears in “A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Valentine’s Day,” when older Sophie (Kim Cattrall) mentions that her son’s father has always loved Valentine’s Day. The episode then cuts to Jesse complaining about the holiday, whereas Sid expresses his adoration for it.
While these interactions have been predominantly platonic, HIMYF is laying the necessary foundation for a future romance to prosper. The show’s success also lies in its ability to subvert expectations. Robin and Barney were an unlikely pairing in the beginning, yet eventually emerged as one of HIMYM’s most beloved couples. Sid’s current relationship struggles create a similar opportunity for unexpected developments and a chance to explore uncharted territory between him and Sophie.
During an interview with Variety in March 2022, showrunners Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker revealed that they have a “loose plan” for the ending. “We obviously come from the This is Us world, so we’ve learned over the last almost full six seasons how important it is to have sort of the big moves of your plan mapped up out while still leaving yourself the room and the freedom to pivot or to push a little bit from what you expected,” said Berger.
The fact that the showrunners are approaching the conclusion with an open mind is encouraging, especially following HIMYM’s controversial ending, which serves as a cautionary example. That series finale disregarded so much of what the original show had meticulously built over almost a decade, only to hastily tear it apart in a 20-minute episode just to adhere to the original plan — an ending that no longer suited the show it had become. HIMYF has a rare opportunity to rectify the mistakes made by its predecessor. Luckily, the spinoff has some room to maneuver: Sophie’s son has remained offscreen, which offers much more time and flexibility to properly set up a satisfying reveal. With a Season 3 renewal still pending, it’s now up to Hulu to give Berger and Aptaker that chance.
How I Met Your Father Season 2 is now streaming in its entirety on Hulu. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.
Dianna Shen is a TV Writer at Primetimer based in New York. Her work has been featured in Paste Magazine and Decider, among other outlets.