With the winter hiatus of How I Met Your Mother coming to an end, the show’s final season is back and it’s back with a bang. Or perhaps it’s more appropriate to say it strikes back with a smacking episode that really packs a wallop. Or, to put it simpler: It’s back with a slap.
That’s right, after years of staring at theslapbetcountdown.com, the time for the fateful fourth slap has finally come. Marshall has teased it for years, faked it many times, but the timer doesn’t lie. Tonight was the night, and we’ve known it for weeks. So anticipation was high for this episode, and fortunately, it does not disappoint.
Barney has spent years being tormented by Marshall and he’s finally come to the realization that the slaps aren’t nearly as bad as the anticipation of the blow. To combat this, Marshall shares a story about his training in the fine art of slapping. A young martial artist tells him about the “Slap of a Million Exploding Suns,” so he heads to the far east to train. But the training isn’t as easy as he originally anticipated. Before he can deal out such a forceful blow, he has to become a master in the three mighty virtues of slapistry: speed, strength, and accuracy.
He trains for over a year beneath the three masters until he’s an expert at all three virtues. Then he’s ready to get back to New York and slap the face off of Barney, which he does in the most epic and drawn-out fashion in the woods near the hotel. That means there’s now only one more slap to go.
In case that description isn’t a give-away, the episode is shot as if it’s a Kill Bill tribute, and that’s absolutely wonderful. It’s completely over-the-top, but this is a sit-com that’s had its fair share of over-the-top episodes. Still, I don’t know that there’s any single episode that’s been as wacky as this one. It’s that wackiness though that makes it so entertaining though. It’s a kung-fu film, a psychological thriller, and a comedy all rolled up into one. That’s a genre mash-up that I would definitely head to the theater to experience, so to be able to watch it on the small screen featuring a group of great characters, well, that’s truly a treat.
While all three actors are enjoyable as their Asian-master counterparts, Cobie Smulders is easily the best in the role. Perhaps it’s the Marvel training that prepared her, but get that girl a role in Kill Bill 3. I would love to watch her do more than ten minutes as that character. That being said, Ted’s master-self is without a doubt the funniest. That’s likely because he’s the only one whose two characters draw strong parallels, but still, between his refusal to die and his insistence that Cleveland is actually a quality city, that’s definitely the part of the episode where I laughed the hardest.