The last we saw of the How I Met Your Mother gang, Marshall was getting ready to deliver Barney’s second to last slap when the episode ended and went on midseason break. Finally after some holiday celebrations and welcoming of a new year, the hour has come, (Sunday at 1 am to be exact) when Marshall finally slaps Barney. Slowly and backed by a casual, O Fortuna chorus, we watch Marshall’s giant hand make a landing on Barney’s face, but before making contact, future Ted cuts in and explains a backstory to the particular slap.
A few weeks prior, Marshall told Barney he wanted this slap to be the most painful of all the slaps. Barney claims he has developed resistance to Marshall’s torture. But it turns out Marshall traveled to Shanghai to learn the “Slap of A Million Exploding Suns.” Which includes the three mighty virtues of slapestry: speed, strength and accuracy. The three together created the ultimate slap Marshall had been warning Barney about.
First Marshall met Red Bird (Robin dressed in a red kimono) for lesson one of the ultimate slap, “The Cruel Tutelage of Red Bird.” Red Bird is the master of stealthy slaps and through a series of slap lessons, Marshall also masters the art of stealthy and speedy slaps.
Next he travels to Slap Mountain to learn from White Flower, the most feared name in forty villages. From White Flower (Lily in a white kimono) Marshall learns “The Punishing Scholarship of White Flower.” He makes “love then bangs” her in the forest and goes on to get slapped by anyone that hates Barney. Each of their slaps delivers power to his hand, teaching Marshall the strength he needed for the “Slap of A Million Exploding Suns.”
Finally, he travels to Cleveland to meet, “The Some-Might-Call-It-Nitpicky-But-It’s-Really-Just-Thorough Schooling of The Calligrapher (Ted in a Green kimono.) From The Calligrapher, he learns his hand is stronger than he thought when he accidentally slapped the heart out of his master. His out of control slap hand killed him before he learned his final training of accuracy and thus in a flash-forward to present day, misses Barney’s face.
When Marshall misses, Barney runs away into the forest where Marshall catches up with him and finally delivers the slap. Then Boyz II Men comes out of the woods (literally) and sings a song about Barney’s fourth slap. So random! As always, this slap was just as entertaining as the others and the soundtrack to this episode is so dramatic it just added to the intensity of the slap. One more to go!