I was going to post this review sooner, but I had a very busy week and I had to know what people's reactions were for this particular episode. I was surprised that after the episode aired there was no middle ground, no "it was ok", but people who claimed that the episode was either genius or atrocious. The episode even got hashtagged as #HowIMetYourRacism as it aired and became trending topic. Some people defended it some others just wanted to forget it even existed. Where do I stand on this one? Surprisingly, I'm in the middle ground.
First I have to say that the racism comments the episode got are a little bit too much in my opinion; the writers were parodying Kung-Fu movies, not making fun of Asian people. That aside, I actually think this episode is dumb, like really, really dumb, but the good kind of dumb; it's so silly that it's impossible for me to restrain chuckles there and there. It's pretty much a filler episode, stalling time from the wedding event, but I didn't care much that it stalled us because I was having a good time; I let myself go and enjoyed the ride. Something similar happened with "The Poker Game" where I argued that the show just wanted to have a good time and didn't worry about making progress at the time. Right now, we're at the same situation, and I think this is as good time as any to do so.
The cold opening starts with Marshall's hand heading towards Barney's cheek while epic music is playing in the background; then it's suddenly interrupted by the opening sequence and it briefly resumes so that Ted can say that there is some of a backstory on that slap.
From the moment we went back to McLaren's I knew that the episode would mostly take place there and not in Farhampton; at first I was a little bummed because it meant that there was not going to be any progression or emotional beats whatsoever, but as I said above, I just let myself go and I enjoyed a pretty good ride.
Marshall has decided that he wants to make his next slap special, and Barney is sure that in the past seven years he has already developed a kind of "immunity" to Marshall's trick, so Marshall decides to get back at him with one of Barney's personal artillery ammo; a fake story. We are so used to see Barney telling an over the top exaggerated story that is refreshing to have one from someone else, and this time the gang fully supports Marshall in his quest to torment Barney.
We start with Marshall going for some Kung-Fu lessons on how to slap, and though at first he is not taken seriously, a child tells him that there are three masters of slap that can teach him the three virtues of slapping, speed, strength and accuracy so he can perform the ultimate slap. So he went to Shangai (Barney: "You didn't go to Shanghai!") where he met the first master, the one to teach him speed, who is a Robin duplicate dressed in Chinese outfit. Barney interjects as he says the story is not working and so Marshall goes to slap the jukebox, totally destroying the thing (we later get to know it is a fake one).
Though Barney is pretty sure at first it is a fake jukebox the one Marshall destroyed, we can see in his face that he is somewhat doubting, hesitant, and as he sometimes seems to believe in his own fake stories is nice to see how slowly he is falling for Marshall's no matter how farfetched it is.
Back to the story, we have Red Bird (the master of speed) slapping Marshall so fast that she can serve tea and pay a check at the same time. Marshall convinces her to train him in order to slap Barney; he faces a slapping tree and he learnt the art of Chinese paint in the process (though he instead of painting a boll of fruits he ends up painting a beautiful landscape. Get it together Eriksen!), and his training went for a year, and nobody realized he was gone for a year (Barney: "I'm not even gonnajust, whatever"). His speed training is completed, but he first must meet White Flower to learn strength (and the master is, of course, a Lily duplicate) in Slap Mountain.
She teaches Marshall that true strength of a slap comes from anger and that he has to harvest it from as many people as possible; the power of their anger would go from his face to his hand. There is a priceless moment when Marshall tells the gang that he and White Flower made love that night in the forest, and it is priceless because of how Barney reacts: his face and his tone are like "I can't believe it has come to this", and it is really amusing how everyone else keeps aiding Marshall so that Barney can be indeed freaked out, including Lily stating that she was ok with the affair as "what happens in the Magical Gon Ying Forest stays in the magical Gon Ying Forest" . These moments are the episode's truest strength, as not only one laughs from the nonsensical story but also from Barney's reaction.
Long story short, Marshall gets slapped by the women who Barney slept with (and we have some nice guest appearances, even though they are only seconds long) and now Marshall has to learn accuracy in Cleveland. This last bit was dull in my opinion, the jokes and punch liners weren't as good because in this particular case they were quite expected, as they all referred way too obviously to Ted, unlike the previous two masters. But I did laugh after Marshall slapped his heart out and Barney snaps saying "Stop it, just stop! You didn't slap his heart out!". He seems very confident in that Marshall is making up the whole story, but we know deep down he believes it is true.
So he avoids the slap and runs away. Marshall catches up and he tells Barney that he actually completed his training, as supposedly after your heart is slapped out you get 15 minutes to live and the accuracy master has enough time to teach Marshall what he needs to know, which isn't much anyway. It was too obvious the joke on how the accuracy master died, but then he didn't that it wasn't really funny, and the dialogue wasn't that good either, so I wasn't really impressed.
But anyway, the time has come and we finally get a slap in slow motion and we see how it disfigures Barney's face, which is quite awesome. The last bit with Boys II Men? For some people it was really epic and funny, but they are not really my cup of tea, so it was like "meh" to me.
Summing it up, the episode is the definition of filler, if you look filler up in the dictionary it's probably going to say "The How I Met Your Mother episode Slapsgiving 3: Slappoitment in Slapmarra", but I don't think fillers are that bad in a comedy series if executed well. I thought of it as an enjoyable way to spend 30 minutes and as I rewatched the episode, I'm convinced that if you let yourself go, you are going to have a good time, if not, you are probably going to hate it.
-Marshall: "Excuse me, where can I find White Flower?"
Random guy: "How dare you speak that name?! That is the most feared name in 40 villages!"
Marshall: "Really? White Flower? I'm sorryit's not exactly Voldemort."
Random guy: "Why don't you say 'candy man' three times and be done with it?! Yesh!"
I found that bit to be very epic.
-Actual ages of slap masters: Red Bird: 84, White Flower: 106, Accuracy master: 34
Barney: "Why Cleveland?"
Marshall: "It's the city equivalent of getting slapped in the face."
Ted: "Bro "
I laughed much at this.
-Favorite exchange of the episode.
Barney is about to get slapped.
Robin: "I love you".
Barney: "Enough to take this slap for me?"
That was priceless!
About the Author - Pablo
I'm currently studying Psychology while also writing fantasy books (one already published in my home country, Chile, you can check it out on the facebook icon). I watch many different types of shows, including my favorites Revenge, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time and about 23 more. Currently writing reviews for Once Upon a Time, How I Met Your Mother and Community