While this show has been pretty damned terrible lately, this is by far best outing it's had since the last Robin Sparkles episode, strictly grading on a HIMYM curve. Still, a lot of the positivity had to do with Robin being deviously awesome (something the writers forget to do 90 percent of the time), the entire cast being together sans stupid B-plots and the brilliant casting of Ralph Macchio to play a foil to Neil Patrick Harris. Seeing these '80s teen stars play off each other was kind great. My big concern is that next week, post-Macchio, the show will be back to its regularly scheduled awfulness. Is William Zabka available to play the wedding?
My biggest issue with the episode was that again they used the same tricky gimmick that Barney used to surprise Robin with the proposal. This long game fake-out might fit with the characters personalities, but it is getting old real fast for the viewers. Here's hoping that this is the last time they use it, but I've got a sinking feeling that with an entire season more to fill that it won't be.
The gist of the episode is that it is time for Barney's long-awaited bachelor party (ignoring all his "Bro Mitzvah" nonsense), and since he regularly lives his life like a bachelor party, he dares Marshall and Ted to come up with a way to outdo his everyday debauchery. Robin offers to help plan it, and naturally Barney shoots her down… even though she was a fabulous wingman/laser tag partner for him in the past. His requirements for his dream bachelor party include the regular fare of strippers and outrageous entertainment… but also an appearance by his Karate Kid hero William Zabka. This gives him opportunity to explain how he hates that Ralph Macchio's Daniel-san took down the Cobra-Kai leader Johnny (the aforementioned Zabka) with an illegal headkick, and thinks the movie has been skewed in Daniel's favor. He may not be entirely wrong…
Anyway, Marshall and Ted kidnap Barney on a night where he's supposed to drop off a five grand cash deposit for some wedding-related nonsense, and then join Robin and his mother for dinner (oh, and it turns out that he told his mom that Robin was a virgin for some reason that never entirely makes sense). The boys take him in a limo to a room with a view of Atlantic City, and then proceed to give him the worst bachelor party of all time. It's a crappy hotel room, with a clown doing balloon animals and his ex-fiancé Quinn as the put-upon stripper who refuses to show him her goodies. And Lily shows up with Ralph Macchio (the "wrong" Karate Kid) with whom Lily is enamored, but Barney hates because they are far too similar in personality. Getting disgusted with this terrible night (and being peppered with calls from his mom and Robin about their disastrous dinner date) he decides to get in the car and drive everyone home. But before they get out of South Jersey, Macchio taunts Barney about being close to the casinos and not even gambling, so Barney goes back to his favorite complicated game, ends up losing the $5,000 and then uses Marshall as collateral for another eighty grand which he also promptly loses. He goes back to New York to get money, finds Robin all pissed off at him because she sees that Quinn is with him (she throws her ring in his face, and Quinn follows suit) and then Barney ends up a crumpled mess by the stairs to what I always thought was Ted's building, but I guess is Barney's.
Off around the corner we see Robin and Quinn laughing, and we peel back to see that Robin planned this whole thing. When Ted and Marshall realized they could never give him a mind-blowing bachelor party, they decided to give him the worst night ever… but still deliver everything on his wish list (in a weird and twisted way). We see flashbacks of Robin talking to Barney's mom, Quinn, the Asian casino employees (though Ted and Marshall stupidly fight about which one of them is most valuable), etc… and planning out every single moment. At first it seems like Barney is pissed by all of this, but naturally he's thrilled that everyone went over-and-above for the night. His only quibble is that he didn't get "his" Karate Kid, and the balloon-making clown wipes off his makeup to reveal that he's the one and only William Zabka. I'll even give the show credit for that twist, as it was very well-played. Now on to the wedding that I'm dreading… where Ted may just meet the mother, or not. Probably not.