The second half of the final season of How I Met Your Mother started off with a slap in the face. It did absolutely nothing to advance the plot or develop the Mother’s character, but it was easily a highlight of the season.
“Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra” reintroduces one of the most beloved plots of the show: Marshall and Barney’s Slap Bet! Marshall, thanks to a re-bet, has two slaps left and the episode details how he went to train in Shanghai for a year to learn how to best deliver the final slaps.
In a very Quentin Tarantino-esque style, the show takes place in a flashback, complete with side-flashbacks. Those sub-stories are broken up into three training sessions, each played by Robin, Lily and Ted, respectively.
It was a funny and clever way to present a story that fans have been following closely throughout the entire series. Marshall takes center stage on his quest to find the Slap of a Thousand Million Exploding Suns. The first part of his journey takes him to Shanghai, where he seeks Red Bird (Robin), who teaches him speed. She precedes to slap him with lightning fast speeds, saying she is retired. (She looks 32, but is well into her 100s.) However, she agrees to teach Marshall her ways upon hearing he wants to slap Barney Stinson. He finishes her training, but warns never to slap anyone until he completes the next two steps.
He ventures to Slap Mountain where White Flower (Lily) teaches him that the power behind every slap is to understand the anger behind those people—mostly women—who hate Barney. So, Marshall heads to meet up with the numerous women Barney has screwed over in the past and gets slapped by every single one of them. His hand begins to grow with a red fury, signifying he has completed this round of training.
The last trainer, the Calligrapher (Ted), is found in Cleveland, not Shanghai, because it is the city equivalent to being slapped in the face. Before he can train Marshall, the Calligrapher chokes on his food and Marshall is forced to slap his back to get his throat unclogged. However, Marshall’s training wasn’t complete so he slaps the heart of the Calligrapher. As he lays dying, the trainer explains the secret to the most accurate of slaps.
Finally, Marshall is back at the wedding in the current timeline and slaps Barney with the Slap of a Million Exploding Suns and then introduces Boys II Men who sing Marshall’s infamous “You Just Got Slapped Song.”
It was the goofiest episode of the final season, but it made me forget the rocky first half of this season. Hopefully, the show rides high into the remaining episodes.