How I Met Your Mother Review: “Unpause” (Season 9, Episode 15)


The pause and unpause technique of Lily and Marshall is one of my favorite relationship quirks on television. Over the years its been a a funny and sweet thing for one of TV’s greatest couples to employ. Still, with knowing that unpause was going to come in this episode of How I Met Your Mother, it wasn’t something I was looking forward to seeing, and when it finally does come, the actual fight scene is more painful to watch than I ever could have expected.

Lily and Marshall still hadn’t talked about the fact that he took a judgeship without talking to her first. They’ve been putting off that fight until they aren’t with their friends, so Marshall is trying to prolong the night in any way that he can. Ultimately, this just leads to Barney getting drunker than he’s ever been, so drunk that he’ll tell the truth about anything. That makes it a perfect opportunity for Ted and Robin to get answers to many of the things they’ve always wondered about their sharp-dressed friend.

While Barney’s being interrogated, Marshall and Lily are up in their room having sex before the fight begins. Marshall tries to make that last as long as he possibly can too, but sadly he’s only human, and the time for the fight eventually comes. Both of them are as emotional as expected, and things get said that cut deeper than anything else that’s been said on the show, leading to Lily leaving the inn in the middle of the night.

Starting with the Mother and Ted adds an interesting layer to this episode. While I’m still upset that we’ve seen them together before we’ve seen them meet, now that it’s already happened, I’m a little more willing to accept a quality scene of them together. This scene didn’t really seem to gel with the rest of the episode, but it’s still a nice look at Ted’s future family. The bookend aspect of it is enjoyable, and the chemistry between Radnor and Milioti is much better than it was. Still not my favorite aspect of what they’ve done with this season, but it could be a lot worse.

One thing that probably couldn’t have been done much worse is the interrogation of Barney. So much potential for great humor was left sitting out in the open. The technique of cutting out either the answers or the questions for the majority of the time just doesn’t work. It’s a cop-out that makes the writing easier, because it doesn’t require any writing at all. They might as well have washed out all the sound and just showed the characters laughing. I did enjoy the fact that we finally get an explanation of his job, but other than that, this aspect of the episode fell very flat.

It was obvious that Barney’s truth-telling was going to turn into an opportunity for another sappy moment about how he loves Robin, and much to my annoyance, there was no pleasant surprise to be found. It was as lame of a sweet moment as most between them have been, but at least it wasn’t the focus of the episode.