'How I Met Your Mother': No Questions Asked (9x07)
I'd say this episode was a decent one - one of the stronger ones in a thus far mediocre season. It had a few things that I didn't like, but it stuck to a tight premise and really rolled with it, finding creative things to do with all of these characters.
Daphne has sent a text to Lily that reveals that Marshall has agreed to become a judge. Marshall is horrified, and calls his friends to ask them a favor. He calls Barney, Robin and Ted to ask them to sneak into Lily's room, get her phone, and delete the last text she received. No. Questions. Asked. They all do crazy things to try and get the message off of Lily's phone, and Ted finally succeeds in doing so. In the end, however, Marshall realizes he hate lying to Lily, and he tells her about the judgeship. Lily is, understandably, furious.
The other thing going on in this episode is that apparently Lily and Marshall's room in the inn is haunted. Marshall is really excited to get to stay in that room, but Lily is just annoyed. The hotel management keeps using "it's haunted" as an excuse not to fix up the room, resulting in Lily having to put up with all sorts of problems.
There were a lot of fantastic jokes here. The best parts of the episodes were the flashbacks. Each time Marshall asks one of the friends to do something "no questions asked," we see a flashback wherein each of them asked Marshall for the same favor. Robin is seen wearing some sort of a jumpsuit and running away from other people with weird weapons, Ted is seen caught inside of a mailbox, and so on. These scenarios were really funny, and even funnier for the fact that they were mostly unexplained.
It was also funny to see how each of the friends tried to get the phone off of Lily. Ted climbs the drain pipe and gets in through the window, terrifying Lily when she sees what she believes to be the ghost. Barney goes through the air vents, and Robin sneaks in on a room service cart. The elaborateness of their plans is contrasted to Marshall's exasperation on the phone. The lock on the door is broken, so they all could have just walked in.
I also thought the ghost stuff was hilarious, because Lily says she doesn't believe in ghosts, but she starts to get a bit freaked out as the night goes on. Not to mention the crappy back story for this supposed ghost, who apparently froze to death because he caught his hook hand in the window frame and couldn't close it on a cold winter night. What a lame yet oddly hilarious story.
There was sort of a sweet moment here too, when Marshall decides to tell Lily the truth. He realizes that in all the years they've been together, he's never needed to use a "no questions asked" with her. He's always just been honest. Even though he knows Lily will be furious, he decides to do the right thing. I'm really excited to see what happens when Marshall finally sees Lily in person, since the blowout between them will probably be epic.
Now I'll just talk about the only part of the episode I didn't really like... the Barney and Robin stuff. Basically, they discover that they've both been making elaborate plans without one another for the wedding. While scheming to retrieve Lily's phone, the same sort of thing happens, as they both follow their own plans without consulting the other. This leads to a discussion about their relationship. They determine that they are both "lone wolves" and are not used to working together. While they worry about how this will translate into a marriage, they eventually decide that even a lone wolf can learn to work with someone else.
I don't take issue to the sentiment of this plot line, exactly, it's just that I feel like we've seen it before. Barney and Robin are slightly insecure about some aspect of their relationship, but then they decide that love conquers all. I'm sort of confused at what the show is trying to tell us, here. Are we supposed to expect that maybe they don't get married? Or that the marriage doesn't work out? I'm just not sure what to think!
Ultimately, this was the strongest episode we've had in a while. I think part of that was that Marshall was heavily involved in the plot of the other four main characters. I miss him, and I hope he gets to Farhampton soon so we can really get this thing going. And, as always, I'll just reiterate my desire for the Mother to show up. We're almost a third of the way through the season already, people!