Episode 7 of How I Met Your Father takes a break from Sophie’s love life and focuses instead on development with the core cast. Considering the two previous episodes were easily the best of the season, and were heavily involved with her love life, it is interesting going into an episode not fully knowing if it is going to land on the same level as those which directly preceded it.
The episode follows each character as they try to develop in problem areas. Sophie and Valentina are tasked with performing a photoshoot for the head photographer of Sophie’s dream job. Meanwhile, Charlie and Ellen take on adjustment to living in New York, as well as Sid and Jesse spending the time dealing with procrastination. The duo pairings are already starting to seem like patterns. So far the cast is really falling into a weird place where each person has a best friend of the group and the cast all get together every few episodes to establish that they are a cohesive group. This has been ongoing, but I didn’t really catch onto it until this episode.
Every episode pairs up Valentina and Sophie, Charlie and Ellen, and Sid and Jesse. Sure, we see them all interact, but when it comes to the personal moments where only two characters are there, it gets a bit underwhelming. This is largely because those types of relationships are being developed continuously while there is still no big development in other areas. Valentina and Charlie are a couple, but only two episodes have involved their relationship for example. Jesse is obviously in love with Sophie at this point, but we don’t see him actually do much about it, whether it is jealousy, chasing her, or any other type of emotion. This weird disconnect is my new big complaint about the show, not that there are many complaints, but I do hope we see this corrected in the final three episodes, or if not, in season 2.
While the pairings have me critical, the actual development between the characters did progress well. Jesse is starting to move on from the tragic ending to his last relationship. Sid is getting closer to marrying Hannah, with them agreeing on more and more. Sophie is finding herself and taking leaps for what she wants. Valentina is admitting to her true feelings about where she is in life. And Ellen and Charlie are getting more comfortable with each other. I do like how the characters are progressing. Sophie is obviously the most interesting due to her being the main character, but Valentina and Jesse are early standouts. Valentina is quickly breaking away from the free-willed and confident character we were introduced to and becoming a very interesting character with lots of real-world problems and reactions, such as lying about how glamorous her life is to not worry her friends. Jesse is also great because of his struggle moving on from his ex, especially since it left him a semi-famous internet sensation. The struggles are very 21st century, relating to the target audience as much as it can, but it feels real all the same, especially as a twenty-something like myself.
While we have talked about my major complaint about this episode, I do have a second. As I have stated before, the show really has no time to waste in its short 10 episode season, especially now as we near the end. However, this episode seemed like a disconnect from the really big momentum they had coming into it. Due to this, the episode felt like filler, even if it did help develop some of the main cast. I think this largely stems from my first complaint of the pairings being more of the same, since it is starting to be smaller and smaller jumps in development, we as viewers don’t perceive the new changes as well, and therefore the episode falls into this weird place that it feels like a filler episode despite being a normal episode for a traditional sitcom. Filler is usually an episode that does little to progress the plot, such as the rhyming episode in How I Met Your Mother‘s final season. While they can be fun, they have to be used in appropriate places. This episode doesn’t fit the filler category because it did develop the plot, but it just didn’t land as well as the last two episodes since there were no real standout moments.
How I Met Your Father has definitely improved a lot since its premiere just a short few weeks ago. While almost every episode has gotten progressively better, there have been two small dips so far, and sadly, episode 7 feels like one of them. With only three episodes left, I feel like there could have been a better balance of time in this one, but hopefully, this means a killer winddown. I wouldn’t be surprised to see next week’s episode as another one like this, but that should hint at an amazing final two-episode performance. Let’s just hope I’m right and we don’t see a significant slide.