Season Nine, Episode Twelve
Episodes on How I Met Your Mother can range from many things, depending on which character it’s focused on. Barney’s episodes usually have a gimmick to them, whether it’s a bracket of which girl he slept with that’s spreading bad mojo, or him going through great lengths to accomplish one of his many challenges. “The Rehearsal Dinner” is a Barney-centric episode, so it’s expected that there will be some surprises.
Yet knowing that, I was still surprised at the end, and that’s what makes it a classic HIMYM episode. There are only 22 hours left until the wedding, and like the best episode of this season (“Platonish”) there are a lot of flashbacks. In the present, Barney is handcuffed to a pole in the laser tag security office and Robin is fuming because at this time they’re supposed to be at their rehearsal dinner. In the flashback, we relive the prank that Robin pulled on Barney for his perfect bachelor party, but learn that this started a dangerous game between the two. Barney pranks Robin back by pretending to break up with her, but at the last second reveals puppies!
Even though Robin insists they stop pulling pranks on each other, Barney suspects that Robin will get him back soon, and he tries to stay one step ahead of her by expecting their rehearsal dinner to be laser-tag themed. Despite constant reminders that his dream rehearsal dinner isn’t going to happen, Barney is still incredibly giddy. Why, you ask? At this point I couldn’t figure out who was playing a prank on the other.
During a flashback, Robin explains to Barney that marriage is about compromising, like when she wanted the wedding in Canada, but opted to have it in the United States. So even though Barney wanted a laser-tag rehearsal dinner, he should compromise by doing it her way. But the magician at work had something up his sleeve that provided the most heart-warming scene of the final season. Since they’re not having the wedding in Canada, he was going to bring Canada to her. The walls of the laser-tag office lifts up and they find themselves in the middle of an ice skating rink. Oh that Barney.
For me, this episode simply worked. It’s not a coincidence that this episode worked because the whole gang were seen together during the flashback-heavy episode, but I guess that just makes it more exciting that Marshall will finally be reunited with everyone soon during the wedding weekend.