Snooty reviews HIMYM: “No Questions Asked”

Agent Maria Hill takes a break from S.H.I.E.L.D. to handle the Aldrin dilemma.

Agent Maria Hill takes a break from S.H.I.E.L.D. to handle the Aldrin dilemma.

“Nothing is more valuable than a favor.” It’s a lesson one of my sketchiest friends taught me at an early age, and it’s proved truer with each passing year. Inarguably the worst part of friendship is providing favors, which is why it feels so good to cash in on a favor when it matters the most. And I guess there’s something to be said for having a friend who will trust you and help you. If you’re into that sort of thing.

I may be too cold and dead inside to feel that way, but Marshall sure isn’t. He’s been there for his friends through thick and thin (“But mostly thin. B-Man don’t do thick crust. What up!), and now he’s calling in a host of favors “no questions asked” for one purpose: erasing the devastating text Daphne sent Lily last episode. We’re treated to a delightful romp of Ted, Barney, and Robin fumbling to comply with Marshall’s request before Lily reads the damning text, which sends Barney and Robin on a premarital crisis when they realize they never plan anything together.

Neither bride nor groom has ever been a strong team player, preferring to take the lead whenever possible. If marriage is about compromise, then their relationship is in trouble, and they both realize it. But in keeping with HIMYM’s strength, the moment isn’t completely resolved by their sentimental moment at the end. On a lesser sitcom, the couple would promise to work together from now on, but here, they realize that it’s something they’ll have to learn as they go. It’s a subtle difference, sure, but an important one.

Marshall gets a reprieve from his banishment to road trip hell, and it couldn’t be funnier. Each favor he performs for his friends is funnier and more outlandish than the last, justifying the extreme lengths they’ll go to in return. But as funny as Marshall’s favors are, his realization at the end is the true heart of the episode. He isn’t feeling guilty for pursuing his dream or for disrupting his and Lily’s impending move to Rome; he feels guilty because he made the decision behind Lily’s back. As Marshall’s flashbacks emphasize, he never hides anything from his wife, no matter how humiliating (or life-threatening, as his encounter with a raccoon proves). As Marshall realizes this, he comes clean with Lily, for better or worse, because that’s the kind of relationship he wants to have.

Too often left out of his own show, Radnor gets some great scenes in this episode, walking the fine line between downer-Ted and cartoon-Ted like a pro. He demonstrates Ted’s double-edged gift for improvisation, first through a creepy rendition of Marvin’s lullaby, and then by taking a page from Marshall’s book and calling in a “no questions asked” favor from Lily, convincing her to destroy her phone before she can read the text. When Ted thinks simple, he’s a dashing man of action; when he makes things too complicated, he becomes the bumbling, coat-hanger-wielding burglar who botches a simple B&E job.

Since I write these reviews in a less than timely fashion, I get to see reactions from other reviewers, and so far I’m seeing a lot of pushback on Lily’s reaction at the end of the episode. I don’t imagine she’ll hold onto this anger for long—probably not even long enough for Marshall to reach the wedding—but I find myself in the smaller camp of reviewers who empathize with her anger. It’s a feeling we know will pass, as anger must for a marriage to work, which leaves us looking forward to seeing how HIMYM’s consummate married couple will resolve their major tension for the season.

Next week promises the return of The Mother! Without her sum’bitches, will she be able to befriend another member of the gang? I suppose we’ll find out.

Musings…

  • “Others say Deerduff the Hooker was a popular male prostitute who murdered no one and died of syphilis in 1848.” The Ghost Network leaves its savvy viewers to decide what’s really true. The syphilis. It’s the syphilis story.
  • “I did not get to be a forty-year-old night clerk by making excuses.”
  • Does Lily know the proper technique for harvesting ectoplasm? We may never know.
  • Marshal illegally dismantles a mailbox to free Ted, signs Barney out of the hospital for swallowing real-life versions of the Lucky Charms marshmallows, and extracts Night Falcon (aka Robin) from a mysterious parkour battle, all with no questions asked. He’s a good friend.
  • Bazooka Joe’s joke editor is a comedy snob.
  • Acceptable points of entry to Lily’s crappy room: the drainpipe, the air ducts, and a room service cart. Unacceptable point of entry to Lily’s crappy room: a door.
  • “You’ve taken several items from the mini-bar.” “There is no mini-bar!” “…stolen mini-bar.”
  • Robin and Barney will have a great marriage if they can learn to “lure prey into a tight corner and snap it’s limbs with [their] powerful jaws and watch the life drain from its eyes.” Aw!
  • “Why do you have a gun? Why do you always have a gun?!”
  • Kurt Coobain was lost before his time…
  • Ted rescues Lily from feral kindergarteners, no questions asked. He’s a good friend too.
  • Marshall has tackled Russell Brand twice. Name-dropper.
  • “You know, Marshall, I don’t believe in ghosts, and I’m not sure anyone died in our room…but someone’s going to.” Looks like the ghost of Deerduff the Hooker will be getting a roommate.
  • “Forever yours, the guy you met at the drug store an hour ago. I heard you give your address to the pharmacist while I was buying foot powder.”
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In it up to their hood: Goon Review Castle “Get a Clue”

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As I have stated in the past, it is the family interactions that make Castle absolutely amazing, and that is proven quite handily in this episode.  We open with Castle and Martha on the way to Alexis and Pi’s apartment for dinner.  Castle is an ass.   There’s no ifs, ands, or buts, about it, he was a first class ass in this episode.  Granted, I can understand the reasons why, he doesn’t like Pi at all, he doesn’t like that his daughter is dating and living with him, and he obviously doesn’t take Pi seriously.  But this doesn’t in anyway justify his treatment, I honestly did not like him in the first part of this episode.  However, this did lead to one of the greatest family moments of the series so far.  When Castle tried to apologize at the end, hoping to make things better, Alexis basically told him to F off.  This was fantastic because this will actually force Castle to grow as a character, he is currently faced the prospect that he may loose his daughter for good, and if the look on his face at the end is anything to go by, this concept absolutely horrifies him.  Credit to Nathan Fillion for portraying that so well.  Now to be fair, Castle has shown that he has taken the first steps to doing this by saying that he will work on accepting Alexis’ relationship with Pi, but the fact that he thinks that just saying this is enough to patch things shows that he still has a long road ahead of him.

The biggest reveal of this episode I would have say came from Alexis talking about Castle and Beckett’s engagement.  Her statement of not being sure if Beckett was the “one” for Castle was obviously a major blow to him, and also made me realize that we haven’t ever really gotten much between Beckett and Alexis, and that made me a bit annoyed.  Its obvious that Alexis is one of the most, if not the most, important person in Castle’s life, you would think that his girlfriend/future wife would take an effort to better connect with her future step daughter.  I definitely think this is something we need to see this season, possible as an episode where you have Castle doing something with Pi as his attempts to accept him while Beckett is out with Alexis, trying to form some bonds.  Fingers crossed we see that happen.

Moving on to the meat and potatoes of this episode, we have the CoW.  I actually really loved it this week, one thing I will say for Castle so far this season, they have done a good job of having some really fun and interesting cases so far this season.  This week we see Castle and Beckett stumble into a full blown, National Treasure style mystery here.  This grabbed me right away and did not lot get go until the end.  We got to see Beckett and Castle playing to their strengths, the best moment of the episode of course was when Beckett and Castle were in the blacksmiths shop.  Castle’s admiring of the swords, his pointing out the ones he owns, needs, and wants only to lead into a full blown sword fight around the shop was just amazing.  Of course Castle came out on top, did anyone think he wouldn’t?

The the different parts of this CoW all added together to make an amazing story.  The first being a monk with a history of violence, then you had the ritualistic style to the murder, the images that are first assumed to be cultish, the reveal that it was all game only for Castle to discover the deeper meaning behind it, culminating in the hidden treasure in the monastery, the reveal of the victim being the descendent of the revolutionary that started the whole thing, all of these working as great clues and misdirects before leading to the final solving of the case.  All of these elements (eh eh, see what I did there.  Of course you did, you’re smart bunch of people) added together to make a such a compelling case for Beckett to solve and amazing story for Castle to unravel.   I will be honest though, the identity of the killer, the victim’s cousin, did not see that one coming.  I was fully expecting it to be the historian guy that Castle and Beckett first went to for information on the symbols the victim had.  Props to the writers for the great twist.

Now, this isn’t something I usually mention in my reviews, but I gotta give some credit the whoever it was that designed the tomb set.  It looked fantastic and did a great job of capturing the whole feel of a cold and dark tomb.

Overall, this was a great episode, not the best of the season, but still fantastic.  I feel that we have had a good run of the episodes so far this season, so naturally I am paranoid that something is going to come along and ruin it.  But rest assured, if that does happen, I will gleefully rip it apart.

Goon out.

Snooty and Goon: The Counselor

MY EYES!!!!

MY EYES!!!!

Many apologies, but our recording equipment crapped out on us about halfway through the episode. Here are some highlights from what could have been:

  • The Counselor is a boring, overly-philosophical mess of a movie.
  • This movie hates women.
  • Being a great novelist doesn’t make you a great screenwriter, Cormac McCarthy.
  • Too many scenes go nowhere and contribute nothing to the movie. Ridley Scott obviously went to an editing seminar hosted by George Lucas.
  • Zero thumbs. This movie receives no thumbs.

Tune in next week for Ender’s Game!

More Than One Way to Use a Wish: Goon Reviews OUaT In Wonderland “Forget Me Not”

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Sarlacc.  Yup, that is pretty much best word to start this review off.  They referenced the Sarlacc from Star Wars.  I rolled my eyes at first when I heard this, but I will admit, it was kind of amusing to hear, and the scene of Alice and Will in Underland was very reminiscent of Jabba’s Palace, I was half expecting the Caterpillar to bust out the Jabba there.  If you really think about, there is some sense there, after all the show airs on ABC, which is owned by Disney, which also owns Star Wars.  Could be they are putting in some little nods into their new show to help promote another franchise.  But that is just speculation on my part, could have just been something the writers threw in for fun.  Moving on

We got a lot of Will in this episode and had a decent look into his past.  I will say I was very surprised to see that the Knave of Hearts was in fact Will Scarlett.  This was an unexpected twist, but it was interesting and did a good job of helping to tie this show in with its parent show.  Will’s time with Robin and the Merry Men (playing at venue near you soon, check the tour dates) was brief but interesting.  Throughout the episode we had Alice constantly referring to Will as thief, and we Robin saying that Will, like him and his men, aren’t.  This all boils down to motive.  Robin claims that by not stealing for themselves they are not in fact thieves, but rather acting with the best interests of humanity in mind.  I found this to be an interesting concept because it boils down to the question, what makes someone a hero or a villain?  At the end, when Will cuts ties with Robin over his stealing of a magic item from Maleficent’s palace (another nice little tie in to the parent show) and their argument about the definition of thief.  It was a nice look into the character of Will, he is a man that has is own code, and will follow it because he believes that is what is right, and he sticks to this code despite the price that he will have to pay for the magic he stole.  Like I said in my review of the first episode.  Will is still the most interesting character thus far, and his ties to Robin, the Enchanted Forest, and the Red Queen are only serving to make him that much more interesting.

Through these flashbacks we also saw that the woman he loved, Anastasia, was none other than the Red Queen.  Did not see that coming, honestly did not.  Right outta left field for me.  But I liked it.  I earlier commented that the Red Queen seemed to be nothing more than a stock villain, and while my opinion on that hasn’t changed to much since then, we are at the very least seeing that there is more to her just waiting to be revealed, and I eagerly wait to see what that will be.

For being the title character, Alice did shockingly little in this episode, she just seemed to be around because the story is about her quest.  I didn’t mind this too much.  It was nice to see the main character take a step out of the spot light so that her little known companion had a chance to shine.  What we did get of her was good.  She showcased her smarts and ingenuity in using her wishes to cut the ropes and tricking the Bandersnatch with the magic rope, and how her relationship with Cyrus is strong enough that they are able to help each other despite being separated and having no contact with each other.

However there is one thing about this episode that I flat out hated, and that was Grendal.  I love the story of Beowulf, and seeing the monster from that so drastically changed was infuriating for me.  I am fully aware that when something is being adapted from one form of media to another there will be changes, but this was a flat out butchering of a fantastic fantasy monster.  They could have just referred to him as a monster, or giving him a random name.  It would have provided mystery to the villain, what is this monster we have to deal with for the Caterpillar, and could have opened up the chance to use the REAL Grendal at a later time in either this show or Once Upon a Time.  Honestly, seeing what they did here was almost enough to make me turn of the TV in disgust.

The CGI used for the scenery in this episode continue to be unimpressive and downright painful at some points.  But that is pretty much what I have come to expect from this show thus far, so constantly complaining about it will just be a waste of time.

We started to see the development of the villains plot in this episode.  Throw a situation at Alice to make her use a wish.  Overall not a bad plan given that they need Alice to burn through those fancy little wishes of hers, but at same time very underwhelming.  I would expect something more nefarious from these two instead of just throwing out names of monsters and basing there choices on a captures genies reactions.  C’mon, these guys are supposed to be the big baddies! The bad guys are supposed to be the most interesting part of a show and they are letting me down.  They have a lot of potential here to be great villains, and it is only the third episode so I am willing to cut them some slack so far, but they better get their acts together soon and break out some hardcore villainy soon.

The biggest part of this episode in my mind was Alice and Will discovering that the Rabbit is working for the Queen.  I fully expected that to be a bigger reveal later in the season, possible serving as the mid season finale.  I don’t think the early reveal is bad, as it could very well lead into a subplot of saving the Rabbits family so that he is fully on their side.  Guess we’ll have to see.

Overall, underwhelming episode.  Learning more about Will was nice and his background with the Red Queen, but I honestly found myself bored  through most of the show.  I hope this won’t become the normal for the series.

Goon out.

Bird is the Word: Goon Reviews Arrow “Broken Dolls”

Broken Dolls

Alright, lot happening with our favorite Emerald Archer, so lets jump right in.

For the sake of simplicity, we’re gonna kick off this week with our island flashbacks.  Island time this week was pretty limited, not a whole lot happened.  I would say that the most prominent parts of this was the discussion between Oliver and Slade over Oliver’s “attachments” and his growing relationship with Shado.  Slade clearly does not approve of the developing relationship, to him it is an obvious weakness that can be exploited, as we saw in previous episodes where Oliver goes crazy and bashes a guy’s skull in.  Oliver of course argues this, and after saving Slade from an untimely fall basically throws his words back into his face.  All this leads up to the discovery of the boat and the bombardment on their plane home.  I will honestly admit that I think the scene of Oliver running through the explosions, his sole purpose to save Shado, Slade running after him to stop him, was fantastic to watch.  The Slade getting caught in a blast and the shot of him burning while Oliver is thrown for loop, laying dazed on the ground, had me on edge.  I think we’re finally seeing Slade starting down the road to becoming Deathstroke.  The flashbacks wrap up with Oliver waking up in a cage on the boat, surrounded by other cages with prisoners.  Who are these new villains? What do they want on the island? Where are Slade and Shado? Why am I asking questions that currently have no answer?  No one knows!

Jumping back to the present, we pick up with Oliver surrounded by cops, having had a trap sprung on him by Laurel, and being saved by the mysterious, ever so badass, and as of yet not officially named, Black Canary.  So lets talk about her for a moment.  What do we know about her?  She is blonde, has thing for black leather, (which is a very flattering look on her) and seems to be targeting perpetrators of misogynistic crimes.  This is an interesting choice for the character, combine that with her willingness to kill and I am thinking that we will see some interesting confrontations between her and Oliver down the line.  And of course, lets not forget her ties to Ra’s al Ghul and his League of Shadows that are adding more mystery into the mix.  Overall, we have quite an enigma wrapped up in that aforementioned flattering black leather.  I look forward to seeing how she will develop over the coming episodes.  Final note on her, I thought they chose a clever way of bringing her Canary Cry into Arrow via the use of a device that emits the sonic blast, smart way of letting her keep her iconic power without actually introducing super powers into the show.

What was best about this week’s episode was the team up between Officer Lance and The Arrow to bring down a serial killer that Lance had put away in the past.  This was great because we got to see some major character development for Lance.  Throughout season one he had his firmly held belief that you should not go outside the law to seek justice, and this led to him being almost blinded to the good that Oliver was doing as a vigilante.  But now, after everything that has happened with the Glades and the police department, we are seeing Lance realize that the law has it’s shortcomings, and that sometimes to catch the bad guy and save the innocents you have no choice but to work outside the law.  There was great moments between the two as Lance, while accepting that the Arrow (a new name he gave to Oliver’s vigilante identity)  was needed, they butt heads over methods.  Shown most prominently in their confrontation with the lawyer.  Oliver has no problem putting an arrow into the guy’s shoulder, Lance isn’t happy with this.  He still sees it as wrong despite the fact that it was needed and again later when Felicity is playing bait to try and catch Mathis.  Throughout the episode we saw Lance dealing with the evolution of his own beliefs and the realization that just maybe he has been wrong.

We also were treated to some touching scenes between Lance and Laurel. As I stated before, we are seeing in this season a trade between the two.  Laurel now being out for the Arrow’s head and Lance defending him because he realizes that he the city needs the Arrow.  This comes to a close at the end when, after being saved by the Arrow, Laurel realizes that she was just transferring her own guilty feelings over Tommy’s death to the Arrow, realizing that is wasn’t his fault and instead blaming herself.  I’m glad they decided not to drag out for too long Laurel’s personal crusade against the Arrow, but I think they wrapped it up a bit too quick.  This realization she came to would have been better if it had been built up over a couple episodes, her seeing that he was doing good, and the change to his methods, could have led to her questioning her motives behind her desire to catch him, and the eventual realization of why she hated him.  The way that they handled it wasn’t bad, but more of a wasted chance for story telling and character development.

Interesting to note, the villain for this week, Barton Mathis, is a villain from the comics and the third man to have the title Dollmaker.  Funny enough, none of them in the comics have actually been villains of Green Arrow as far as know.  Barton Mathis first appeared in the New 52 as a Batman villain.

Outside of hunting the baddie, we had some the further development of Moira’s trial and time in prison.  These scenes were short and were basically just setting up for future plot points.  The biggest things to note here is that possibility of Moira receiving the death sentence and her acceptance of whatever will happen.  I did really like this.  Moira is well aware that she has done something that is horrible and unforgivable, and while its pretty obvious she doesn’t exactly want to die, she seems willing to accept whatever fate is handed down to her.  That, and she is still keeping secrets from her family, if I had to venture a guess I would say that it is her knowledge of the sabotage of The Queen’s Gambit, because she doesn’t want to lose them now that they are all back together.

Our other subplot of the episode ties back into Black Canary, we see Roy tasked with the job of trying to track her down.  Which doesn’t do much apart from introduce the character of Cindy, aka Sin, and her unknown ties to Black Canary.  Apart from showcasing Roy’s new role as an informant for Oliver, and a fairly average chase scene, this didn’t to much apart from being a tie into the whole “who is this mysterious new ass kicker” subplot.

Overall, this wasn’t the greatest episode of the series but it was far from bad.  There was a lot happening which seemed to mainly be there to seed future story lines but what we got from the main characters and villain of the week was solid and a lot of fun to watch.

Goon out.

Snooty reviews Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Girl in the Flower Dress”

I doubt his HMO covers repeated immolation.

I doubt his HMO covers repeated immolation.

Last week I said betrayal is a fact of life in the kind of spy world Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is crafting. And I stand by that. But it makes trust and loyalty into treasured commodities. And that’s what makes losing them hit so hard; when it’s your job to not trust anyone, being betrayed by the people you do trust doesn’t just hurt, it makes you start to doubt all your other decisions.

Skye winds up on both ends of betrayal in the latest episode of Agents, and it hurts coming and going. When the mysterious Project: Centipede sets its sights on a Chinese street-performing pyrokineticist (“human flamethrower” for those of you uninitiated in ridiculous comic book science), they have Skye’s former paramour and hacktivist mentor, Miles, to thank for the insider information stolen from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s database. Though Skye is technically innocent in the crime, she aids and abets Miles all the way to his bed for some illicit nookie, only to be caught post-coitus and red-handed by May.

I’ve had my doubts about Chloe Bennet as our quasi-protagonist, but this episode made me break out the condiments, because I think I’m going to have to eat those words. A lot of credit goes to the writing team in accelerating the revelation of Skye’s impending “betrayal,” which on another show could easily have been dragged out until Sweeps. Instead, Coulson forces her to come clean, and it jumps her character forward leaps and bounds: she’s chasing her past, the only link to which she’s found being an old form from her orphanage that’s been redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D. But Bennet performs admirably, bouncing between passion and heartache, outrage and betrayal, as her illusions about Rising Tide’s altruism is shattered when she finds out Miles sold S.H.I.E.L.D. secrets for a cool million. She wants to stay on the Bus, but Bennet’s quiet desperation at being chewed out by Coulson lets us know that she’s not just after information anymore; in spilling her guts, she places a new, deeper trust with her team even as she loses their trust.

And that Coulson lecture was a doozy! Slowly but surely Clark Gregg is getting the chance to fill in the gaps of the mystery that is Phil Coulson. He knows the ins and outs of superhuman containment, sure, but we’ve seen that before. More interesting is how he builds relationships inside his own eclectic team. When he goes to bat for Skye, it means something to him, and only her newfound honesty saves her from being booted off the Bus. Even still, she’s been neutered, the same as her (ex)boyfriend: Miles and Skye are given ill-defined technobabble bracelets that will, among other things, prohibit them from operating complex electronics. Miles is left in Hong Kong to fend for himself, but he may be the lucky one. He doesn’t have to deal with the stony, disappointed looks of a bunch of betrayed secret agents.

On the darker side of things, we see much deeper into one of Agents’  running plot threads, the mysterious Project: Centipede from the pilot. Not satisfied with super-strength, the project is looking to branch out its superpowers and, more importantly, improve on an existing formula. Earlier the mention of Extremis felt like a simple callout to tie the show to its larger cinematic universe, but here we see the fiery macguffin from Iron Man 3 become a major plot development. I’m glad to see the writers using movie fodder as more than just fun references for fans to spot, and I’m excited to see where the Project’s super-soldier efforts take them. Judging by the titular Lady’s conversation with her equally-mysterious prison contact at the end of the episode, the Project is in the business of selling “gifteds.” It’s a lucrative and insanely dangerous business, as Scorch demonstrates when he murders the scientist who stole his platelets to stabilize their Extremis. They’ll need to start turning a profit before they lose too many other test subjects.

Scorch, despite possessing a name that falls flat with everyone he pitches it to, had a great story arc here. Nobody’s hungrier for the spotlight than creative types—magicians, performers, TV/movie internet critics—and when Chan Ho Yin talks about his gift being stifled, Louis Ozawa Changchien lays a deep sense of longing beneath his lines. When Project: Centipede twists his hunger for fame to secure his cooperation, it doesn’t feel like a stupid decision on his behalf, like the decisions of so many victims of mad scientists have before him. Instead, we see a man who can actually do something amazing and just wants the world to know him for it. Betrayal takes its toll on him as well, forcing Coulson to make another hard choice, forcibly detonating him with an overdose of Extremis rather than let him continue rampaging.

With this return to the pilot’s plot, Agents is beginning to feel like the serialized dynamo I hope it becomes. Its characterization is coming along more slowly than the obvious Whedon comparison, Firefly, but it’s unfair to compare the two shows, which have different aims entirely. Agents should take its time to develop itself. After seeing this episode, I’m willing to wait.

Musings…

  • Never trust a beautiful foreigner who agrees to go home with you to your crappy apartment. It may not always be a trick, but it is always a bad idea.
  • Skye sank Ward’s battleship. Truly her treachery knows no bounds!
  • “I come as a friend.” “English isn’t my first language, but that word means something different than you think!”
  • Magic phones: for all your vehicular escape needs.
  • How long was May waiting behind that door? Did she stand there the whole time Miles and Skye were banging?
  • “So are you guys just gonna destroy all my stuff?” “Yes.” Classic May.
  • Scorch’s fire effects are excellent. I love the lighting on his face as he cradles the flames.
  • “Runs a mob” on Minecraft? No, Agents. Computer game reference fail. Try again.
  • They’re removing his blood platelets? Doesn’t he need those to live? Like, if they remove enough to de-fireproof him, would his blood still be able to carry oxygen?
  • The lockpick bomb makes its first return since Iron Man! Coulson really is a sentimentalist.
  • Agent Kwan, no! You were the forgettable background agent we deserved, but not the one we needed.
  • “His file say anything about him being homicidal?”  “Just said he was kind of a tool.”
  • “Oh, crap, They gave him a name.” Coulson’s seen this before.
  • For a show on a network owned by Disney, the doctor’s fiery death is pretty goddamn gruesome.
  • Extremis: the cause of, and solution to, all of Marvel’s fire-based villains. At least thus far.
  • “You’ve changed. I mean, you’re not who you used to be.” That’s what changed means, idiot.
  • “Make it a double.” “Is there any other kind?”

Snooty reviews HIMYM: “Knight Vision”

Now accepting applications for wedding officiants. No fat chicks.

Now accepting applications for wedding officiants. No fat chicks.

No other sitcom reveres history as much as HIMYM (at least until Downton Abby receives a confusing distaff American remake). Without Future Ted’s obsession about his own history, we never would have gotten nine seasons’ worth of stories that too often end with him telling his kids about another sexual conquest. The show is built around the idea of the meet-cute story, unwrapping the innocuous details that only in retrospect become important. But what happens when that story doesn’t live up to the expectations of others?

The solution, according to Barney and Robin, is of course to steal a better story and make it their own. As Lily discovers in this episode, the happy couple has appropriated her and Marshall’s meet-cute story to placate a curmudgeonly minister—who, unthinkably, turns down most weddings because I guess he’s tired of money.  Seeing Barney and Robin reenact Marshall and Lily’s first meeting shot-for-shot was a huge treat for longtime fans, who are all too familiar with the flashback. But even funnier was Lily’s revenge, which brought us all the way back to the first episode to see Lily and Marshall reimagine the night Ted and Barney met Robin. HIMYM is never better than when it plays inside its own canon, and as the actors have gotten older, it only makes the college flashbacks funnier.

But as awesome as their lie is, Barney and Robin are forced to admit the truth to their minister, and in doing so they accept all of the messy history they’re bringing into the marriage. As far as they’re concerned, their story is perfect because it ends with them getting together. Too bad their minister doesn’t agree; the sordidness of their past—the lies, false starts, and the premarital sex that took place in his chambers—kills him. Now they have less than two days to find someone to marry them. And Wedding At Bernie’s is vetoed immediately.

The A-plot, however, belongs to Ted: after a pep talk from Barney centered around Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Ted sets out on his own quest to find the right weekend hookup. There are good choices aplenty, including a former gymnast with a career-endingly large rack and a girl who makes 90s-car-alarm noises during sex, but Ted can’t seem to stop himself from making bad choices as he hitches his star to Cassie, a nice young lady who then proceeds to have the worst day humanly possible. The Last Crusade knight reappears each time Ted chooses to stick with Cassie to inform him that he “chose poorly,” but it’s not really a choice for Ted. He’s a Nice Guy, with all of the baggage that capitalization suggests; he’s too invested in his white knight persona to do the selfish (and frankly, smart) thing and leave. The need to be there for Cassie is part of who Ted is, and he can’t choose to abandon her anymore than he could choose to excise his feelings for Robin. He can, and should, however, choose to be a better tipper. C’mon, Ted. You’re going to be there all weekend, and servers have long memories.

On the road, Marshall and Daphne fill in the spaces between the A- and B-plots with some hilarious roleplaying to coach Marshall through his confession to Lily that he is going to be a judge. Though we’ve been given hints, we now know Marshall accepted the appointment. He wants to break the news gently, laying the groundwork for the sensible discussion that has to happen now. Too bad Daphne texts Lily the news in a fit of rage after Marshall calls her the devil for being a big oil lobbyist. With no time left to prepare, and no proximity to help soothe the sting of his unilateral decision, Marshall has his work cut out for him.

Musings…

  • There are two kinds of self-fives. Barney does the cool kind.
  • In Barney’s Indiana Jones fantasy, Ted is the Nazi. Maybe Barney just thinks Ted is industrious and persistent? No.
  • “Looks can be deceiving, Lily. But not in this case; he’s a mean old tool.”
  • Hooking up with the depressed girl at a weekend wedding is like stepping on a land mine; you never see it coming until you know you’re screwed, and there’s no good way out of it.
  • The prayer-five is awesome.
  • Robin steals Lily’s college Beatles haircut to go along with her stolen story. She and Barney also steal Marshall and Lily’s nicknames, but can’t do much with them: Barn-mallow and Rob-pad sound terrible.
  • “I am tough!” “No, you’re not.” “You make some good points.”
  • Honestly, Daphne probably downplays Lily’s libido during the roleplay.
  • Hesitation experienced by Barney and Robin before they throw Lily under the bus with their minister: 0.
  • “Nope. Start over.”
  • Hitting on Sophia while crying Cassie holds his hand: Ted is bold. Not bright, but bold.
  • “You’re killing me.” A humorous exclamation that turns into a dark portent
  • Sex with a crying girl: maybe not as sexy as Barney Stinson attests.
  • “She chose….Wesley. I’ve been dying to say that one all night.”