Season 9, Episode 14
Slapsgiving No. 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra
And we are back mid-slap. This was probably the second-longest ‘wait for it it’ moment after season two finale’s “this is going to be legen—.” While tonight’s slap left quite a mark on Barney, what it really marked was the final home stretch of episodes. The series finale has officially been scheduled for March 31, which means we will be plowing through this last set of episodes.
I feel for the writers, with such pressure to deliver increasingly amazing slaps. It is like trying to top the original Robin Sparkles video…you really can’t. So tonight we got a silly filler episode spanning space and time…and slapprenticing. While Marshall’s fanciful story and subsequent slap set-up was predictable, the surprise guest appearance was the only thing that gave this slap a strong mark.
As Marshall is in slow-motion slap mode, Ted backs the story up to a few weeks earlier at the bar [Hi! Miss you, MacLarens!]. While sitting in their favorite booth, Marshall brought up the subject of the remaining slaps (that would be two) and how the next one would happen under a willow tree with four women and a tiger. He then proceeded to tell them all of his expert training to prepare. Of course the rest of the gang is more than happy to play along and toy with an annoyed and rightly skeptical Barney. You see, Marshall claimed to go all the way to Shanghai [and later, Cleveland] for the ultimate training in the virtues of slapistry: speed, strength, and accuracy.
This is the part of the story where the HIMYM costume and make-up team decided to go all-out in stereotyped fantasy and dress up Robin, Lily and Ted in Chinese garb. Marshall regales the group with his encounters and training under the tutelage of Red Bird [i.e. Robin], White Flower [i.e. Lily], and The Calligrapher in Cleveland [i.e. Ted]. Personally, I enjoyed the running gag of Marshall guessing the real ages of Robin and Lily—only to be told by their Chinese dopplegangers that they are actually ancient—and then hurting the “Calligrapher’s” feelings by guessing older than his actual age. It was also a nice touch to see slaprentice Marshall visit some of Barney’s exes [remember Nora? and hot bartender Stacy Keibler?] to get slapped by them—and absorb their rage at Barney within his own palm.
Just when Marshall would have Barney think that he never quite completed the final stage of his accuracy training, we return to the Farhampton Inn…where Marshall misses the slap. Alas this is all part of Marshall’s elaborate plan. Barney runs away before Marshall can re-try, but he runs straight into the nighttime glow of a willow tree…with four women…knitting a tapestry with a tiger on it. Barney knows his number is up. Marshall and the gang appear so that he may receive his next-to-last slap. It leaves quite a mark. But the real gift is when Marshall introduces Boyz II Men to sing a slow-jam version of Marshall’s original Slapsgiving tune, “You Just Got Slapped,” complete with a loving montage of earlier slaps.
And just like that, Boyz II Men pretty much saved this slap, and this episode.