by Grace Crawford

Images courtesy of Bay & Thomas Productions and 20th Century Fox.

Images courtesy of Bay & Thomas Productions and 20th Century Fox.

9×07: “No Questions Asked”

 Haven’t you ever wished you could ask someone to do something, and they would do it, no questions asked?

But that’s not the culture we live in. We have to know everything. We have to share everything. For some, it’s a compulsion. For others, it’s an obligation. But we ask, and we tell, and so there are no secrets between some people. That’s why you unfriend that girl you went to high school with when she posts another creepy photo of her baby in its altogether. That’s why people want to know the minutiae of celebrities’ lives.

We want to know. We don’t want to know. Outside of television, there’s no such thing as “no questions asked.” There will always be questions. We can just choose whether or not to answer them.

Summary: Marshall tries to hide Daphne’s text message to Lily by recruiting his friends to steal the phone and delete the message. Lily has customer service issues with the help desk and ghost issues with her crappy hotel room. Robin and Barney briefly wonder if they’re too independent to make their marriage work and promptly get over it.

There are three things I want to discuss here. One, Marshall hiding the fact that he’s going to be a judge from Lily. It did seem odd to me that he was able to hide this really huge thing when he couldn’t even hide little things from Lily. It’s a big part of their relationship that they communicate way more than normal couples do. More than is healthy, really.

But I’m letting that slide for now, because it’s nice to compare all the times that his friends have asked for “no questions asked,” and how that’s not something that Marshall has ever asked of them until now. And he’s never asked that of Lily, because he never has any reason not to tell her anything, even if it’s getting thrown in jail for assaulting Russell Brand again. So it’s really, really nice to see what an open person Marshall is, because that says a lot about his character and the kind of judge he’s going to be.

That segues into my next point: Lily’s reaction to finding out. I expected anger. I expected hurt. I expected her hanging up the phone and not wanting to speak to him. I didn’t expect the equivalent of the “you’re dead to me” reaction that’s played for humourous effect in season 5.

It’s a caricature of a strong, angry reaction, and it’s wildly inappropriate for what Marshall did. He put his own dreams instead of hers, and rather than even asking if it was all right, he said no to his wife’s plans for their family, changed it all, and didn’t bother to tell her. This is actually a big deal in the history of Marshall and Lily. They don’t keep secrets. They don’t lie. They don’t put one of them ahead of the both of them. They’re a team in all things… until now. And it’s played for laughs.

Finally, I’m seeing a rift growing between Marshall and Ted that I didn’t even realize was there. And I don’t think they realize it, either. Why would Marshall call Barney before Ted? Ted’s been his best friend since college; he met Ted even before he met Lily. And even if he did call Barney first (okay, I’ll admit that Barney is way better at shenanigans than Ted), why in the hell would he call Ted ninth?

To me, this episode is less about Mission Impossible-style antics and more about the fact that there’s the potential for some really serious dramatic and emotional issues here. And ordinarily that would be grounds for a great grade… if it were intentional on the part of the writers and not just careless writing.

There are questions being asked, and I don’t think I’m going to get the answers I want.

I’m getting discouraged, you guys.

Final Grade: C+


Items of Note:

  • Wait, I thought Lily believed in ghosts? Season 4 finale.
  • I liked all the set hands in that ghost TV show Marshall was watching and how they’re all crappy at their jobs. It was a nice touch.
  • I like how nobody even thinks to use the doors. Although, seriously, is everyone in this show an idiot?
  • knew Robin wasn’t just a PA in The Avengers. She’s a friggin’ superhero with a purple unitard and everything. Also, what? Seriously, what???
  • Lily, your taste in TV is both appalling and appropriate. I bet you’re way into Orange is the New Black, too. That is all.

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