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‘How I Met Your Mother’ ‘Rally’ review: A very drunk 'Weekend at Barney’s'

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'How I Met Your Mother' 'Rally'

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How I Met Your Mother” might have been originally billed as the story of how Ted (Josh Radnor) met the love of his life, but it’s also about the gang of friends… and their weekly hijinx. The episode that aired on February 24, “Rally,” celebrated that friendship, while also showing a bit of Ted’s future.

In the future on the CBS comedy, Ted and the mother (Cristin Milioti) are out on New Year’s Eve, and they’re about to celebrate the mother’s new published book. Ted is chugging champagne, which reminds him of another day his friends made a vow not to drink like he did when he was young: the wedding day for Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris).

In fact, as the entire “HIMYM” gang tried to wake Barney from his stupor, following the incredibly drunk evening of the “Sunrise” episode, everyone (but Ted) vows at some point to never get black-out drunk again. Cue a handful of flash-forwards, including Marshall (Jason Segel) unexpectedly winning the NY State Supreme Court Race, and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) getting drunk after dropping Marvin off at college. But the cruelest flash-forward of all? Barney and Robin waking up drunk in Buenos Aires -- and hearing a baby girl crying. Robin picks up the baby and then asks, “whose baby is this?” That’s just cruel “How I Met Your Mother,” cruel.

But back to the heart of “HIMYM” “Rally.” There’s two hours until the family photos, and Robin doesn’t think “Weekend at Barney’s” is an option, not with her dad around. So what does the gang do, especially when Barney’s superhero power of never taking a bad photo fails? They try to recreate his “hangover fixer elixir” of course.

The problem is that while they know almost all the ingredients -- Funions, Tantrum soda, ginger, bananas, and grease -- there’s one Stinson family secret ingredient that Barney has held dear. So the gang is back to trying to wake Barney up. Rolling him down the stairs doesn’t work, neither does dunking his head in water, watching a bear video, or even threatening to cut his tie. But what does make him gasp for breath? Robin and Lily sharing a kiss, of course.

Yet, Barney has something surprising to say. There is no secret ingredient. In fact, “Stinson’s fixer elixir is a lie.” So why did he offer the drink to his friends when they were hungover? Barney explains, “I love you, guys.” And sure enough, as the gang reflects back on their hangovers, Barney was there every time they were going through something big (or in Lily’s case, a field trip). “He lied so we’d be okay,” Robin sums it up.

That revelation is all well and good, but is it really a reveal after nine seasons of “HIMYM”? Barney has long proved he’d do anything for his friends. And really, the gang would do anything for Barney. That's why they tell him they pulled a “Weekend at Barney’s” move for the wedding photos and that Mr. Scherbatsky even gave him a high five. But that’s a lie to protect him, if only to help Barney rally, just like he helped them rally so many times before. Rather the photos were canceled, and Mr. Scherbatsky kicked him in the balls, naturally.

“How I Met Your Mother” airs on CBS Mondays at 8 p.m. EST.

© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2014

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