(SPOILERS AHEAD, so proceed with caution, you Mother lovers!)
Season Nine, Episode Seven: “No Questions Asked”
Written by: Stephen Lloyd, Directed by: Pamela Fryman
We may be stuck watching the longest wedding weekend ever, but the HIMYM writers have found a way to insert a Halloween-like episode into the mix. Roughly 12 hours after checking into her hotel room, Lily just realized that her room is haunted. How convenient that this coincides with Halloween week.
Friday 11:30 p.m., 42.5 hours before the wedding.
When we left off, Marshall was afraid that Lily’s call was regarding Daphne’s text about his taking the judgeship. Turns out, she was just incensed that they were stuck with the haunted room 13. One month earlier, Marshall had showed everyone an episode of “True and Real Ghost Stories of the Supernatural” that featured the Farhampton Inn. According to them, Captain Dearduff the Hooker (so named for his hook hand and its easy ability to be made into puns) froze to death in room 13 when his hook hand got stuck in the wall by the window. Lily tries to change rooms, complaining about the insufferable AC, door without a lock, and lack of wi-fi; but, thanks to the wedding, all the rooms are booked.
With Lily distracted by the ghost, which she doesn’t believe in, Marshall uses this opportunity to delete Daphne’s text from Lily’s phone. He calls in Ted who owes him a “no questions asked” favor from the time he bailed Ted out of a postbox (The episode’s tag explains that Ted got stuck in it while trying to retrieve a creepy love letter he wrote). Ted agrees to delete the text, but decides to climb into the room through the window despite the door being unlocked.
When he barges into the room, soaking wet from the thunderstorm, he frightens Lily. She allows him to sing her a lullaby to get her back to sleep. He looks for the phone while she dozes, but only stumbles upon Barney in the air duct. Turns out, Marshall also phoned in a no questions asked favor for the time he checked Barney out of the hospital after he swallowed the real Lucky Charms for a bet. Of course, Barney went the Die Hard route to break into the room despite the door being unlocked.
Lily gets even more freaked out by Barney’s appearance. As the two fumble for an excuse to be caught in her room, there is a knock on the door. Room service has arrived with a $400 meal Lily didn’t order. Furious, Lily heads down to the front desk to complain. Robin pops out from under the room service cart, ready to find Lily’s phone. Turns out, Marshall also phoned in another favor with Robin (He called both Barney and Robin before Ted) after some absurd incident with Robin in a unitard calling herself Night Falcon while fleeing other women in colorful unitards with poisoned darts. (The spy motif of the episode is amusing but increasingly nonsensical.)
The phone, however, is downstairs with Lily, not left behind in her room. Ted races down to stop her. At a loss, Barney and Robin take a moment to reflect on how they fail to tell each other what they are doing, acting like lone wolves instead of a couple. Communication and teamwork are key aspects of couples/marriage they realize, and they vow to work together more often, starting with this mission. Together, they concoct a complex plan to stop Lily from seeing the text.
As they enact it, they realize they’re too late. Ted bested them and succeeded in getting Lily to delete the text when he called in a no questions asked favor (This was actually an amusing favor, involving Ted saving Lily from rebellious kindergarteners). He gets her to stomp on the phone, but asks Marshall why he didn’t just do the same via a no questions asked favor with Lily. But Marshall has never felt like he couldn’t just tell Lily why he needed bailing out, wanting to be honest with her. With that sentiment driving him, he talks to Lily via Ted’s phone and tells her about the judgeship.
A steely-faced Lily says that while she doesn’t believe in ghosts, “someone’s going to die” in their hotel room this weekend.
Despite the sheer absurdity of much of the episode, the structure and characterizations were true to form for HIMYM. It was enjoyable to watch, and with Marshall’s confession finally out in the open, some plot progression can potentially happen. The biggest letdown was the weak explanation for the favors. They lacked the comedic punch that would have been effortless in the series’ early years.
Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…
Barney is excited about the 100 doves he got for the wedding, calling it “avi–wait for it—ary. Aviary!”
Ted peaking out of the mailbox slot was the best of the flashback gags, but I almost would have preferred if they hadn’t come back to explain it later.
Why must Barney and Robin continue to “mature” as a couple? Have they not found their groove already from their past years of dating?
Barney named one of the doves Courtney Dove.