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Worldly Distractions: How I Met Your Mother 9.14 - Slapsgiving 3, Slappointment in Slapmarra


crazyforkate

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blog-slapsgiving.jpg 

slapsgiving

Just typing that title made me feel dumber. Well, we're into the home stretch of HIMYM's final season. Stay strong, everybody.

It's Sunday at 1 AM, with 17 hours left to go. Wait, aren't most weddings held on Saturdays? I know Jewish weddings are generally held on Sundays, but I don't think Robin and Barney are of that faith. Maybe it was just the only time they could get the cozy inn.

We get the dumbest opening ever. Before Christmas, the show left off with Marshall preparing to deliver Barney's final slap. Now, we get a scary choir singing as Marshall continues the slap. In extremely slow motion. From about fifty different angles. And then we get the opening credits. Jesus Christ, this is going to take all episode, isn't it? And why is it Slapsgiving when it's supposed to be May?

The boring neo-Constructivist slap scene continues, but we get slapblocked again, as Ted tells us there's a backstory. This must be how they work Thanksgiving in. Well, except it's only a few weeks back. Barney insults Marshall's suit, calling it "a slap in the face to all suits everywhere." Hearing the word "slap", Marshall reminds him that the last slap's coming up, and he's going to make it as painful and memorable as he can. (Also, it's been seven years since the slap bet started. Holy crap, I don't think I've even had my current friends for that long.)

Barney points out the flaw here - he's been subjected to so many horrible Marshall slaps (what, five?) that he's become desensitized. Marshall can bring all the power he wants - it's not going to make a difference. However, Marshall has a few tricks up his sleeve. For starters, he's been taking lessons from a five-year-old Kung Fu student (and three associated masters) in "The Slap of a Thousand Exploding Suns". In fact, he went to Shanghai to do it, though Barney doesn't believe this.

Marshall undergoes the Cruel Tutelage of the Redbird, who I'm pretty sure is played by Cobie Smulders. Back in the present, he demonstrates the slap on a malfunctioning jukebox. It is terrifying. Barney recoils every time Marshall comes near him, but Marshall tells him to relax - the slap's not happening today. But it is coming. Soon. In the meantime, Barney should just think of it as a high-five for his face.

Anyway, Marshall recounts his tale of Robin Redbird, who is super speedy and can teach him to slap before the victim knows it's coming. Wait, Robin? Redbird? I can't believe it took so long to get that joke. First, Marshall has to coax her out of retirement, which is pretty easy once she learns the slap is meant for Barney Stinson. She takes him to a tree which hits back, a blatant Harry Potter rip-off. Barney remains skeptical, but Ted, Lily and Robin back Marshall up. God, Jason Segel is phoning it in these days. Redbird won't let Marshall graduate until he slaps her - and he can't work up the courage until she insults his beloved Vikings. She sends him on to White Flower, who teaches strength and is...wait for it...Lily. What on earth is Ted's nickname going to be?  Bet they just stick with Schmosby.

So Marshall treks to Slap Mountain, which is shaped like a hand. White Flower is so feared in the villages that no one dares speak her name. Marshall compares her to Voldemort, which is accidentally hilarious when you consider the recent China-Japan debacle. Nonetheless, she is in the bar, sending a fly across the room with one little flick. We are introduced to "The Punishing Scholarship of White Flower", which sounds like the title of Lily and Marshall's infamous sex tape. Anyway, we go through the same routine of "White Flower is retired but comes out after hearing it's Stinson", and the training begins.

This, of course, involves copious amounts of sex. Barney is incredulous that they banged, to which Marshall counters that they didn't bang, they made love. Well, okay, they banged after. And then had sex with the tree. Lily is surprisingly cool with it. Magic forests don't count, apparently.

White Flower tells Marshall that for full power, he needs to channel the anger of others towards his victim, so he must hunt down those who hate Barney. Luckily, that's a pretty big selection. He visits a whole bunch of Barney's exes, including the real love interest Norah, and gets slapped by each of them. From that, he gains great strength. His hand freakin' glows. White Flower declares his training done and sends him to The Calligrapher to learn accuracy.

So he heads to the "far-off mystical land of Cleveland". He goes to - another Chinese restaurant for some reason, which is exactly like the ones in China - and mistakes The Calligrapher for a woman. Thus begins the "Some-Might-Call-It-Nitpicky-But-It's-Really-Just-Thorough Schooling of the Calligrapher". This involves a lot of grammar, and another come-out-of-retirement talk. He also gives Ted/The Calligrapher crap for being single, and offers up his cousin as a bride in a desperate attempt to get him to teach. Just then, The Calligrapher starts to choke for no apparent reason. Marshall tries to slap his back, but not having learned accuracy, the slap goes wrong. The Calligrapher's heart bursts out of his chest.  No, I did not make that up.

At this point, Barney calls bullshit and brings the story to a halt. Marshall doesn't care, overcome with emotion at The Calligrapher's death and his incomplete training. We abruptly go back to the wedding, where the scary choir continues - and Marshall misses Barney's face. Barney gasps with delight and runs away. Since he didn't actually connect, though, doesn't he get a do-over? Unfamiliar with the rules of Slap Bet here.

Apparently he does, because Barney runs into the woods screaming about the crazy guy who wants to slap him. The gang catches up with him in a grove of willow trees. Barney protests that Marshall never finished his training, but it's revealed that The Calligrapher managed to share his wisdom in the precious seconds before he expired. Mostly it was "look where you slap".

Robin carries on like she's about to become a widow, while Barney grimly faces his fate. Slow motion, sad music, Marshall draws his hand back. The slap connects, squishing Barney's face in a way that makes even the glorious NPH look ugly - and then we go back to real-time speed as Barney falls to the side. He recovers surprisingly fast. Because it's Hollywood, he won't have a bruise in the wedding pictures. And apparently, it's not the final slap. That's right, Marshall still has one more. At this point I'd honestly lost count. Or stopped caring. They giggle like a bunch of squares over Marshall's stupid story and walk off.

We cut to a new scene in the same spot. Jason Segel breaks the fourth wall, which is really jarring, and introduces Boyz II Men. He then walks off, not even bothering to stay in the same frame as his famous song. Yeah, they perform a fancy version of "You Just Got Slapped", which would have been way better had Marshall actually bothered to stick around for it. Barney doesn't even harmonize. Instead, he sits there fondling his red face while the rest of the cast dances awkwardly. A montage of the previous slaps plays. The arrangement's actually pretty good, but still, lazy lazy lazy. Marshall reminds Barney that there's one more.

Next week on the show: Barney is unable to lie for some reason, so the gang presses him for all the juicy stuff he's never told them. Just a guess here - more ridiculous attempts to get a full season out of nothing?

I appreciate their attempt to leave Farhampton for an episode, but come on, this was filler in the extreme. There was barely a chuckle to be found. Even Segel looked half-asleep. The ending was just the idiotic icing on the world's blandest cake. Boring and pointless, I think this is a week we can easily forget.

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