How I Met Your Mother returned from its winter hiatus with an episode that returned one of the hit sitcoms most enduring tropes – Slapsgiving.

'How I Met Your Mother' Recap

With just 10 episodes remaining in How I Met Your Mother’s final season, Marshall (Jason Segel) has just two free slaps left for Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). Leading up to the penultimate slap, Marshall takes his wife and friends on a mystical journey of his imagination in which he encountered a trio of sage masters who teach him “The Slap of a Thousand Exploding Suns.”

Red Bird & White Flower

The first stop on his yearlong enlightenment trek is for The Cruel Tutelage of Red Bird (aka an Asian costumed Cobie Smulders). Red Bird’s task is to teach Marshall speed, which he practices on a quick-limbed tree. Though the tree initially gets the better of him, Marshall prevails and passes Red Bird’s test.

The Punishing Scholarship of White Flower (Alyson Hannigan) builds Marshall’s strength. White Flower arranges for Marshall to suffer through the slaps of the hundreds of women Barney wronged – including Stacy Keibler, Eva Amurri and Nazanin Boniadi. The exercise, according to White Flower, will fill Marshall with both anger and strength to deliver the ultimate slap.

The Calligrapher

Marshall’s final stop is in Cleveland to see The Calligrapher (Josh Radnor). The Calligrapher shares with Marshall his own lifelong quest – to find the woman of his dreams. When The Calligrapher begins to choke, Marshall, who has yet to master accuracy, incapacitates his teacher. Before he expires, The Calligrapher gives him some insiders’ tips on Cleveland tourism.

The Slap of a Thousand Exploding Suns

Back to reality at Robin and Barney’s wedding weekend, Barney runs outside into the woods behind the Farhampton Inn and finds a willow tree, four women and a tiger, signaling to him that his time has come. Marshall then gives Barney a swift and strong palm to the face, benefiting from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon-like slow motion effects.

As a prideful Marshall gloats, Boyz II Men performs a remix of “You Just Got Slapped.”

How I Met Your Mother airs Monday on CBS at 8/7c.

– Chelsea Regan

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