The final push is here folks. In five weeks and six episodes, How I Met Your Mother will enter the history books and we'll never have to give these characters another thought… unless any of them cross paths with Greta Gerwig on How I Met Your Dad, in which case we hope that she summarily quirks them to death.
But in the meantime, we've got to contend with pointless, time-stalling episodes like "Rally," where much ado is made about absolutely zilch. Following his alcohol-fueled tour through Bad Greenscreen Land, Barney is passed out drunk on the morning of his wedding, two hours before the ceremonial photos are to be snapped. The task of snapping him out of his stupor falls to his bride-to-be and supposed best friends, who hit upon the idea of using the surefire cure he's forced upon them whenever they're nursing a wicked hangover: the Stinson Hangover Fixer-Elixir, a ghastly green concoction of various ingredients, including one very special element that will temporarily go unrevealed for dramatic purposes.
While Ted and Marshall flee to gather the known items (including a banana, Funyuns, Tantrum soda and bacon grease, the latter of which requires Ted to ingest large quantities of pork product in a scene that feels more appropriate to a TeenNick show than a network sitcom supposedly aimed at grown-ups) , Lily and Robin are left to try and awaken the slumbering boozehound in the hopes of learning that top-secret ingredient. Their attempts include accidentally pushing him down a flight of stairs, not-accidentally dunking his head in ice water, forcing him to watch footage of angry bears and, when all else fails, making out with each other, because that's not a joke that the writers ran into the ground back in Season 3.
That chaste smooch proves the charm, as Barney sits bolt upright and slurringly reveals what anyone with half a brain (which obviously excludes all of these characters) guessed at the top of the episode: the magic ingredient is love -- the love that Barney displayed for them when they were at their lowest. And just like most hangover cures, that revelation kinda makes you want to vomit. Rather than try and reciprocate that love, the quartet decide to just let the guy stew in his hangover juices and take the fall for ruining the photo shoot, which earns him a kick in the balls from his father-in-law to-be. To be fair, they do eventually express their affection for Barney… by lying to him about putting his "Weekend at Barney's" dream into action. At least that's consistent with what passes for love amongst these monsters in human form.
And that's about it as far as meaningful content goes! Oh, except for the brief flash-forwards that crop up occasionally, although we'd hesitate to describe those as meaningful. All of these moments take place at a point in the future where the individual characters get well and truly plastered after having vowed in the present that they'll never do so again. So in 2016, Robin and Barney wake up in somebody else's hotel room (with somebody else's baby) in Argentina. Meanwhile, in 2020, a balding Marshall is three sheets to the wind at a party celebrating his election to New York's State Supreme Court, leading him to ramble on about Batman (who at that point, will still be played by Ben Affleck). And in 2022, Ted is escorting the Mother to her book launch party and seems on the road to getting drunk except -- surprise! -- she gets hammered instead, leading him to rouse her the following morning with a brimming glass of Stinson's Hangover Fixer-Elixir before inviting their young children into the bedroom to see what a drunk Mommy is. Lastly, in 2030, Marshall and Lily drop Marvin off at college (sure, like kids will be going to physical schools in sixteen years instead of attending YouTube University) and then sneak off to the local bar for a drink, only to see their son coming through the tavern door to celebrate his independence from his neglectful parents. So, in closing, the gang will still be drunken buffoons decades from now. At least we won't have to be their enablers anymore.