How I Met Your Father season 1, episode 5 recap – the good mom 

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: February 8, 2022 (Last updated: January 26, 2024)
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Hulu How I Met Your Father season 1, episode 5


Sophie’s Mom comes into town with a new boyfriend that Sophie suspects is bad news, while Charlie tries to heal the boy’s problems.

This recap of Hulu’s How I Met Your Father season 1, episode 5 contains spoilers. 

Read the season 1 review.

‘Deadbeat parent rolling into town’ is such a mainstay of the network sitcom that it makes total sense How I Met Your Father would use it five episodes into its run. Yet Sophie’s choice (sorry) at the end is much bolder than you would expect to be, although it’s slightly undercut by not pushing against what we already know about Sophie. The first episode revealed her childhood as a minefield, and her mother as a mess, so putting her foot down isn’t the boldest thing that can happen, it’s still nice to see the show refuse easy answers.

Granted, most of the reason “The Good Mom” works better than every episode so far is thanks to Paget Brewster’s solid turn as Lori. Brewster’s a naturally energetic and funny presence that has the unfortunate effect of making the other cast members seem like they’re waiting on cue cards in comparison.

How I Met Your Father season 1, episode 5 recap

Lori’s arrival throws the group off balance, delaying Sophie’s introduction to Drew’s friends, and bringing up traumatic memories for both Sid and Jesse. As she likes to remind people, Lori was a bikini model and is in town for her musician boyfriend’s show. Sophie wants to go to scope out this new boyfriend — her mom has a history with bad men, but the show happens to take place at the bar where Jesse’s proposal fail happened, so the boys decide to spend the night in.

Sid has been acting weird around Lori, which is revealed to be a response to an incident where he killed a hamster (via a lava lamp) while masturbating to Lori’s famous bikini poster (apparently this was a very popular poster?). This comes out when Charlie announces his new calling, to “help those suffering from trauma.” Charlie has no life skills, he states, but endured a lot of therapy (he had a thing with wigs which the therapist realized was due to lack of affection from his mother). He decides to “heal” Jesse by making him relive the most traumatic moment of his life, first by watching the proposal fail video which… unsurprisingly doesn’t make him feel that great.

Ellen meanwhile has decided to spend the night in when a rotten tomato incident results in her stealing food from a shiva happening across the hall. She ends up talking to the deceased’s granddaughter, Rachel, pretending to have been a close friend, and they decide to get out of there.

This ends up with everyone showing up at the bar, where Sophie has been grilling her mother’s twenty-seven-year-old boyfriend Ash (he’s a “mature twenty-seven,” having had a colonoscopy). In the episode’s most tired sitcom cliché she refuses to believe that he actually likes her mother and must have an ulterior motive. But when Valentina catches Lori kissing Ash’s Jeff Bridges-looking tour manager and tells Sophie, Sophie realizes that maybe it’s not.

The boys decide to confront their fears; Jesse goes up on stage again (but quits when he sees that things won’t go well), and Sid buys Lori a beer. I don’t buy that either of these acts could be healing (Sid’s story in particular reeks of “oh s**t we need something for this character to do” writing) but ah well, it’s How I Met Your Father. Considering the night a success, he declares his desire to be a psychologist, but learning of the years of education needed settles to be a bartender at Sid’s place.

Meanwhile, Ellen’s flirtation with Rachel is going well (although still weird to pick up someone at a Shiva) until she tells Charlie, who informs her that the neighbor who died had no children. Ellen goes to confront the fraud granddaughter but Charlie realizes that there were two old Jewish ladies in the building. But the damage is already done and Rachel storms off (although she will inherit the apartment, so it’s likely we’ll see more of her.)

When Sophie goes to confront her mother, she blames her inability to maintain a relationship as “wanderlust,” but Sophie is not satisfied. She rips into the difficulty constantly moving as a child was, mad that the only thing they kept was that damn bikini poster. In an attempt to win her child over, Lori reveals that the poster was shot the day she learned she was pregnant with Sophie, but it’s not enough. Sophie puts her foot down, refusing to let her mother get away with this any longer. She puts her own relationship first. Parents aren’t perfect, and they don’t always deserve your forgiveness. 

Additional posts

  • Why on earth are people mocking cosmos? Have the writers ever been to Brooklyn?
  • Ash is played by Mason Gooding, son of Cuba Gooding Jr.

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