How I Met Your Father Finale Includes Shocking Cameo From How I Met Your Mother Star

The world of How I Met Your Father has been tied in -- even if only loosely -- with the story of How I Met Your Mother from its first episode. In the pilot, the freshly-engaged Sid (Suraj Sharma) invites the crew over to his apartment, seemingly for the first time, and it's the apartment where Ted and Marshall lived at the start of the original series. At various points during the show's run, different configurations of characters lived there, with Marshall and Lily eventually moving in and living there until the end of the series in 2016.

That was it, and it felt less like a really immersive shared universe, and more like a little Easter egg for hardcore fans. But last week, and then this week, audiences met some familiar faces that suggest How I Met Your Father is a sequel series in the truest meaning of the phrase.

Spoilers ahead for the season 1 premiere of How I Met Your Father.

Last week's episode reintroduced George Van Smoot, better known as The Captain. Played by Twin Peaks and Marvel's Agents of SHIELD star Kyle Machlachlan, the character first appeared in the sixth season of How I Met Your Mother, as the then-husband of Zoey Pierson (Jennifer Morrison), who left him to date Ted Mosby. In a twist of fate, the eccentric "Captain" became a fan-favorite, while Zoey is widely regarded as one of Ted's least popular girlfriends.

The circle drew even tighter this week, with an appearance by non other than Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), one of the five principal leads from the original series. In the finale, Sophie (Hilary Duff) wanders into McLaren's, the bar from How I Met Your Mother, to clear her head, and ends up treated to a Scotch and a bit of free advice from Robin.

"We certainly had those discussions about who we should have come back, when should that happen, all of that kind of stuff," veteran How I Met Your Mother director Pamela Fryman told TVLine. "We hope to be on for a while, and we hope to see a lot of old friends, but we didn't want to front-load anything. Cobie just fit so seamlessly into the story that we were telling."

In later seasons of How I Met Your Mother, The Captain would get his happy ending when it was revealed that he married Becky (Laura Bell Bundy), Robin's former Metro News 1 co-anchor -- but last week's episode revealed that he had been cheating on her, and she found out.