How I Broke Your Aunt's Phone For No Good Reason

More wheels are spun, with hooks and ghosts, on a broad Mother-ly misadventure.

It's probably time to start worrying.

We feared that a last HIMYM season might, rather than fixing the problems of the last few seasons, instead magnify the flaws by stretching out one premise: the wedding of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders), a whole season. This episode sure seems to confirm those worries.

The episode revolves around the last one cliffhanger-lite about Daphne (Sherri Shepherd) leaving a text for Lily (Alyson Hannigan) about Marshall (Jason Segel) accepting a judgeship despite their planned move to Rome. Now, Marshall has to have a reasoned, mature conversation with his understanding wife about how he could have made such an error in judgment. Wait, that's another show where things make sense? Oh, right, sorry. I forgot that on this show, it's more likely that Marshall will call a dozen people in hopes that one of them will be able to delete the last text on Lily's phone. (Sidebar: this plan has at least one glaring flaw. What if she received another text after the one from Daphne? Deleting the "last text" doesn't mean it would delete the one Marshall doesn't want her to see. LAWYERED!) Of course, wacky chaos ensues, and another half-hour is killed as Ted (Josh Radnor), Barney and Robin try to find ways to get into Lily's room and get her phone. Ted climbs a drainpipe in the rain, Barney goes through the vents, and Robin puts on a not-at-all-stealthy purple bodysuit to shoot a vase in order to create a distraction. Yeah, it's a little broad.

The most interesting contribution to HIMYM canon is the episode title-worthy concept of "No Questions Asked," calling in a favor from a friend that they have to do, no questions asked. (Never mind that invariably there seems to always be at least one question asked before acquiescing.) It's a similar concept to the old saw, "A friend will help you move. A real friend will help you move a body." Marshall calls in all his No Questions Asked, and we flash back to how Marshall earned those favors: Ted once got stuck in a mailbox while trying to retrieve a badly written love note; Barney was once in the hospital for having eaten life-sized representations of the charms in Lucky Charms cereal (he also pooped his pants once, but that one didn't count); and Robin was chased by colorful thugs in bodysuits, only to be rescued by Marshall.

There's a subplot about a ghost who haunts the Farhampton room where Lily and Marshall are staying: Capt. Blazeby Dearduff, who froze to death when his hook-for-a-hand got stuck on a wall and a window was left open. It seems included only to remind us of Marshall's love of the supernatural; to pump out a few "hooker" jokes; and for an exchange between Lily and the night hotel clerk (a fine Rhys Darby), who blames all the problems with Lily's room on the haunting.

It takes Marshall the whole episode to figure out what we've known for years: that it's completely out of character for him to keep such a big secret from Lily. But by that point, Ted has already accomplished the No Questions Asked task by calling in his own NQA of Lily. He asks her to drop her phone and stomp on it. She does. Never mind that Lily is away from home and that her husband and infant son are on a long road trip. Surely, she won't need it. Marshall steps up and tells Lily the truth, and the payoff is Lily looking supremely pissed and saying that she doesn't believe in ghosts, but that someone's going to die in their room. Cue thunder and lightning and millions of disappointed sighs from viewers sticking this through to the end.

Well, that was unpleasant! We know our gut tells us this was a stinker, but let's look at the numbers. How Mother-ly was the ghostly "No Questions Asked"?

Mother-Y Element Present?
Ted Still Pines For Robin...Or Does He? Nope, he doesn't even raise an eyebrow at Robin in a skintight purple bodysuit.
Robin And/Or Barney Shows Signs Of Cold Feet Before The Wedding When Barney plans to release 100 doves at the wedding and Robin says her relatives plan to bring guns and will probably shoot them, they realize they don't really check in with each other before going off and doing things on their own, which could be a big problem if you're, say, getting married this weekend.
Guest Star From A Past Season Pops Up (Ex-Boyfriend, Old Boss, Ranjit The Cab Driver) No, but it was nice to see Murray from Flight Of The Conchords.
Baby Marvin Does Something Cute And/Or Disruptive Baby? What baby? I think we all just imagined Marvin.
Gay Jokes About Barney’s Brother James Stinson (Wayne Brady)? No James this week.
Ted Moves A Tiny Step Closer To Meeting The Mother (Cristin Milioti) Promos for next week's episode promise that she'll return, but this week offered up no such sighting.
Humor Involving Wacky Relatives Doing Wacky Relative Stuff At A Wedding The relatives must all be in their rooms sleeping, because we saw none this week.
Ted Is An Insufferable, Pretentious Prick About, Architecture, Wedding Etiquette, English Literature, Or Any Other Pedantic Bullshit In a flashback taking place before Ted gets stuck in a mailbox, we hear a letter he's sending to a woman he met an hour before and whose mailing address he overheard. It's florid and embarrassing. At least he realizes it after he mails the letter and tries to get it back.
Public Transportation High Jinks Some transport must have been used for all of those No Questions Asked favors, but we don't actually see any.
Flashback To Ted, Lily, And Marshall In College Not this week.
Pop Song Montage Or Episode Outro No, just a lot of cheap Halloween sound effects.
Barney Says Something Inappropriately Dirty About A Hot Woman Because, Come On, Barney No, but mulling the idea of sending a prostitute to your teen cousin's room is not classy either, Barney.
”Legend...ary!”, “Wait For It...,” Or Any Pun On The Word “Bro” Barney describes the planned release of 100 doves at the conclusion of the wedding as "Avi...wait for it...ary!"
Retro Video, Instructional Tape, Book, Or Other Multimedia Project Starring Or Created By One Of The Main Characters (Robin Sparkles, Barney As A Fake Astronaut, Etc.) Robin is involved in some sort of purple unitard street parkour club. Or something. There's an amusing Ghost Network True And Real Ghost Stories Of The Supernatural show within the show that the gang watches together, but they're not in it.
Slap Bet No. I need my slaps, people!
Unanticipated Wedding Hookup No. The "Hooker" in this episode was just a fake ghost with a hook for a hand.
4 / 16
Final Score
25%
How I Met Your Mother
75%
ghost-of-its-former-self Mother

For Scary Week we ask:

Which How I Met Your Mother-themed candy would you most like to find in your trick-or-treat bag?

  • Lily Licorice
  • Marshallmallo Cups
  • Bazooka Teds
  • Bro Pops
  • Slutty Pumpkin Spice Latte Mix
  • Mars Barney
  • Now and Laters
  • Slap Bet Stix
  • How I Met Your Moon Pies
  • Lingon...wait for it...berries!
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