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‘How I Met Your Mother’ ‘Rehearsal Dinner’ review: Barney bamboozles Robin again

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'How I Met Your Mother' 'Rehearsal Dinner'

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Throughout the epic wedding weekend of “How I Met Your Mother” season nine, Robin (Cobie Smulders) has gotten mad at Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) on a number of occasions. But on “Rehearsal Dinner,” which aired on December 2, he may have finally taken it a step too far. After all, Robin yells at him that a wedding is supposed to be about honesty and trust. But does Robin really know what Barney is up to?

The CBS comedy has become known for its hijinx and changing things up at the last minute. Not all is what it appears to be, especially when it comes to Robin and Barney. After all, just remember how he proposed to her -- by making her think that he was dating Patrice -- or how she staged his whole bachelor party.

But a few months ago, Robin laid down the law on “How I Met Your Mother.” After Barney cruelly “pranked” her by saying he no longer wanted to get married and then gave her a suitcase of puppies, she demanded, “No more surprises.”

Except this is Barney she’s talking about, and he doesn’t seem to listen to “rules” like that. That’s why he’s so determined to believe that their rehearsal dinner is actually laser tag. What ensues is awkward and frustrating to watch. Robin is clearly mad at Barney for getting handcuffed in a laser tag place while the security office waits for the police; she even shows Barney her “pretty-mad” face. Barney, time and time again, doesn’t seem to mind all her yelling at him. And this is what their marriage is going to be like, isn’t it?

Through all this on “HIMYM” “Rehearsal Dinner,” Lily (Alyson Hannigan) is trying to prove that she can keep a secret… nevermind the fact that she hasn’t told anyone about Ted (Josh Radnor) moving to Chicago. Even so, this storyline gives a bit of lighthearted comic relief, what with Lily’s flashback to revealing all sorts of juicy gossip. But even this story turns serious when she breaks the news to her friends: they’re no longer going to Italy because of Marshall (Jason Segel).

Ted, amazingly enough, was the comic part of “How I Met Your Mother.” He was going to give the gift of his piano playing to Barney and Robin. But even better? He was going to dress as Liberace too.

Yet the heart of this episode really is Barney and Robin, and in the end, it does have some heart, despite the yelling and lying. Clues of this “deception” are peppered throughout too, like the fake “laser tag” banner hanging over the building’s sign. Because would Barney really be so clueless as to Robin’s wishes?

Apparently not. He knew she wanted a Canadian wedding, and because he didn’t give her that, he gave her the next best thing: a Canadian rehearsal dinner on an ice rink. Canadian personalities, most notably Alan Thicke, are even in attendance.

Does this make up for how angry Robin got at Barney? In Robin’s world, apparently yes. But it doesn’t change the fact that Barney was, once again, downright cruel to her in ways, even if he was just “bamboozling” her.

Despite the happy ending on the ice, is this just another sign that things won’t end well for Barney and Robin? There’s still half a season to go to find out.

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

© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2013

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