by Grace Crawford

Images courtesy of Bay & Thomas Productions and 20th Century Fox.

Images courtesy of Bay & Thomas Productions and 20th Century Fox.

9×18: “Rally”

So the mid-season/Winter Olympics break is over, and we’re in the home stretch now. Buckle up; it’s about to get crazy.

It’s the morning of Barney and Robin’s wedding, and Barney is lying comatose in front of their hotel room door, unable to move or even wake up. This, friends, is about to be a cautionary tale on the dangers of drinking… sort of.

Over the years, Barney’s given everyone a miracle hangover remedy that somehow manages to make their symptoms clear up immediately. Only problem is, he’s the only one who knows the complete recipe (although they know that there are Funions and Tantrum in it–remember Tantrum? Good times), and he and Robin are taking family pictures in front of the lighthouse in two hours.

The gang tries everything to wake him, from throwing him down the stairs to dunking him in ice water to threatening to cut his tie in half with scissors. Robin and Lily even make out (even though Lily thinks it’s stupiiiiid), which works long enough for Barney to wake up and say that the remedy doesn’t actually work: it’s a placebo (placebro?).

Turns out he’s been lying to them this whole time, but not for the usual reasons. Whenever Barney’s friends were hungover, they always had a pretty good reason for drinking the night before, or they had some important thing they had to get to that day. Because he loved them, Barney lied and gave them a cure they would believe in so they could rally and move forward with their day.

This felt like an episode from something like season 4: back when everybody was young, optimistic, and able to drink their body weight in alcohol without drowning. Of course, that’s more or less where the flashbacks are set. See, Marshall was worried that he failed the second day of his bar exam; Robin hadn’t been on the air for awhile and had to go to work; Lily had to go to a siren factory for some reason; and Ted had just been left at the altar, which we’ve been hearing about for five freaking years nowWe get it. And that’s when Barney comes through for his friends, not with a magical hangover cure, but with his friendship and support.

And that’s what his friends do for him when he’s too hungover to wake up: rather than telling Barney that they had to cancel pictures and that Robin’s dad kicked him in the crotch, they tell him that they used his limp body to re-enact Weekend at Bernie’s, just like he’s always wanted. ’cause sometimes, that’s what friendship is about: telling your friends what they need to hear, even if it’s not always the truth.


This is the face of friendship and support. Also, madness.

That’s the main storyline here, although there’s also some future stuff, like Ted and The Mother going to her book launch and getting faced, Marshall running for Supreme Court Justice and getting faced, li’l Marvin going off to college and Marshall and Lily getting faced, and Robin and Barney going to Argentina and getting faced. Of course there are consequences for each one, ranging from a declaration to the media that Batman needs to be more involved in the city’s day-to-day crime management all the way to what looks like the kidnapping of a South American child.

But Ted gets off easy, as he always does, and he brings the hungover Mother a glass of Barney’s magic elixir the next morning as their young kids come in to say hi. And overall that’s pretty adorable, given that he was the only one out of the whole group to actually take the real lesson to heart: this wasn’t about not getting wasted. It was about taking care of people when they needed you.

It’s not one of the more emotionally poignant episodes of the season, but it was a cute way to spend twenty minutes on a Tuesday night, and next week promises to pack a little more drama anyway. We’ll see how that goes.

Final Grade: B

Items of Note:

  • So Marshall once ate an eight-pound block of chocolate in twelve minutes, and that’s why he’s called Big Fudge. Only thing: I didn’t actually need to know that. Not every gag needs to be explained.
  • And now Robin’s the one with the lesbian fantasies. It got old after a while with Lily, and it’s just plain creepy with Robin.
  • Grown men throwing a Tantrum. Heh.
  • Right at the end in the Argentinian hotel, I heard the baby crying, and I’m like, “Aww, they finally had kids. How sweet.” Then I remember they can’t. And then there’s a horrible sinking feeling, because Robin’s clearly holding a baby that isn’t hers. That scene could’ve gone so many ways, but luckily it was just the wrong hotel room. Classic hijinks. That is all.

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