Much like the Community episode that aired this past week, the show did a solid job of parodying all those kung fu movies that Tarantino loves, but we failed to really see the point. All it did was draw out the slap that started at the end of the previous episode and made it take up the entirety of this episode.
When we left off, Marshall was about to dole out the fourth slap to Barney, but we hit pause on that so we can hear the fictional fable about how Marshall went to Shanghai for a year to train with Red Bird (Robin in costume), White Flower (Lily in costume) and then Cleveland to see The Calligrapher (Ted in a Fu Manchu mustache) so that this can be the most epic and painful slap of all. Gee, what's he going to do for the final slap?
It's sorta cute, I guess, to see Barney trembling at MacLaren's as Marshall explains the training and the promise of four women near a willow tree with a tiger nearby when Barney gets slapped. Honestly, my ears perked up at the mention of willow, what with Alyson Hannigan was sitting right there, but that was probably the most engaged I was the entire episode.
Marshall tells the tall tale of meeting Red Bird, who doesn't want to train him until she finds out it's so he can slap Barney (same goes for White Flower). Red Bird takes him to the slapping tree for his training, and let's just say that at this point, I was rooting for the tree. Then White Flower, who lives on Slap Mountain (in the Slappalachians), works on Marshall gathering some rage (after they have sex with the tree doing some light S&M… Robin cleverly dubbed this a Treesome and I might have chuckled briefly). To demonstrate what he's learned, in a break from recalling his training, Marshall takes down the MacLaren's jukebox to intimidate Barney, and it mostly works.
After Marshall completes White Flower's task (to harness the power of the slaps of all the women Barney scorned along the road to marrying Robin), he heads to Cleveland (the city equivalent of being slapped) for some accuracy training with the Calligrapher. Before Ted can dole out his wisdom, he starts choking on noodles and Marshall's all-powerful-rage-fueled hand slaps the heart right out of The Calligrapher's chest. So we see that at the wedding, Marshall misses hitting Barney in the face by a mere inch.
Barney runs off into the woods (there are woods nearby? Is that closer than the beach?) and finds the four women, the willow tree and their embroidery circle making a tiger blanket. Marshall tells him that The Calligrapher did bestow his wisdom before his long, drawn-out death and then Marshall doles out a big old slap. They all joke about the elaborate story Marshall made up, and then Boys II Men come out to "You Just Got Slapped." That was the actual highlight of the episode, though I can't help but wonder if they were hanging around the whole time, or if they were on standby if Marshall didn't get back from Minnesota in time, and how much it costs to have them sing an original tune.
At the last moment, Marshall warns Barney there is still one more slap to come. At this point, I feel like I'm being held slaptive by this show.