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‘How I Met Your Mother’ Review: “Rally”

How I Met Your Mother Rally Review
CBS

How I Met Your Mother’ season 9 recalls its 18th episode of the final year in “Rally,” as the gang attempts to replicate Barney’s hangover cure in time for his wedding photos, coming to an important realization along the way.

Previous ‘How I Met Your Mother’ installment “Sunrise” saw Ted and Robin coming to grips with their relationships past and future, while a drunk Barney took two young men under his wing. So how does the latest episode keep the final season rolling down the aisle?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘How I Met Your Mother’ season 9 episode 18,  “Rally”!

On a future New Year’s Eve, Ted and the Mother sip champagne in the back of a limo, toasting to her recent book success, though Ted insists he made a vow years earlier that will keep him from drinking too much that night. Flashing back to the morning of the wedding, Ted and Robin find an unconscious Barney outside his hotel room, while none of the gang succeed in waking him up. Robin frets that they have wedding photos in two hours, paid for by her father, and even Barney’s superpower to take perfect photos seems to be failing him.

Marshall vows never to get as drunk as Barney, though Future Ted recalls how Marshall broke that vow in 2020, just barely winning his supreme court appointment over a still-hunky Brad (‘True Blood‘ star Joe Manganiello), and slurring his way through the acceptance speech. Back in the present, the gang realizes they need Barney’s patented “Stinson Hangover Fixer Elixer,” though he previously refused to divulge all the ingredients. Ted and Marshall head off to get the ingredients they do know, while Robin and Lily will attempt to wake Barney long enough to learn the final ingredient.

Robin and Lily try every trick in the book to wake Barney, dunking his head in water and threatening to cut his tie, though nothing works. Lily too vows never to drink that much, though Future Ted reveals she would the day she and Marshall sent Marvin off to college, even running into Marvin at the bar hours later.

Ted and Marshall return with every ingredient short of grease, though the Farhampton Inn’s chef insists they don’t cook with it, even as Ted points out an entire tray of bacon. Marshall reveals that Ted’s mother had been lying about his “bacon allergy,” for which Ted agrees to consume the entire tray, so that the chef might cook another batch with grease. Upstairs, Robin makes the vow of never getting that drunk, though in 2016 she and Barney drank so much in Buenos Aires that they woke up in the wrong hotel room, with a baby that wasn’t theirs.

While Ted makes up for a lifetime without bacon, Robin accepts Lily’s suggestion that their kissing might be enough to wake Barney from his slumber, which it does, briefly. In his short moments of consciousness, Barney admits that there is no secret ingredient to the beverage, as the gang realizes that Barney had only given them the drink during hangovers that followed their worst days over the years, a “placebro” effect borne from the love of his friends.

Without any other options, the gang decide to use Barney’s dream “Weekend at Bernie’s” plan to prop him up in the wedding photos, which even wins the respect of Robin’s father, Robin Sr. (Ray Wise). An hour after, Barney has successfully rallied, and can’t wait to see the photos, though the gang reveals in secret that they had to cancel the photo session, and tell the lie to rally his spirits. Ted finally makes his own vow to never drink that much again, as we see the mother waking up with a hangover on New Year’s Day 2022, for which Ted tricks her with the Stinson cure before the kids run in.

Back at the Farhampton inn, Robin nervously attempts to persuade Lily that they should kiss again, though Lily seems to have gotten over her fixation on Robin.

OUR REVIEW:

It’s hard to imagine that we’ve already gotten through eighteen episodes of the final season (perhaps not that hard, considering how forgettable certain installments have been), and begun looking toward the future with Greta Gerwig’s starring ‘How I Met Your Dad’ role, among other potential castings. Even throughout some of the worse outings of the year, we’ve always counted on showrunners Carter Bays and Craig Thomas to deliver when it came time to the more crucial installments, of which “Rally” certainly seems to be a good sign.

The brightest spots of the year to date have been the meager opportunities provided by the final season format to actually spend some time with the mother, and fill in a few blanks of the road ahead, rather than the original season 8 plan to simply drop the character into the final installment. And while Rally again relegates Cristin Milioti’s mother to a flash-forward opposite Josh Radnor, the two brief scenes provide a reasonable framework with which to recall how Barney rallied to face his big day, peppering in a few other future glimpses for the other regulars.

By this point, we’d be hard-pressed to imagine anything from the final five episodes would redeems some of the more weighty clunkers of the year (whether or not a ninth season was overall justified remains a conversation for a future date), though as far as making it to the finish line in style, “Rally” seemed to hit a much more comfortable stride. Not only did we have a nice moment for Barney to prove his dedication to his friends all along, but the episode manages to hit a number of callback gags as well, explaining Future Marshall’s thinning hair with an amusing cameo for Joe Manganiello, a glimpse at Robin and Barney’s future abroad (and bullfighting, perhaps?). Not to mention, we’ll always have an ever-GIFable kiss between Cobie Smulders and Alyson Hannigan.

Much like the story content itself, “Rally” doesn’t need to tackle any of the weightier moments of the final hours before the wedding, but firmly succeeds in snapping us back to attention with a lighter, breezier story that keeps the main characters together for once. That’s certainly all we need for now, so hopefully the remaining 5 episodes (6 technically, with the finale running an hour) will keep the same consistency of humor, even as they add a bit more substance to the final leg of the race.

Well, what say you? Did ‘How I Met Your Mother’’s latest installment, “Rally,” warm your heart to the final season? What else could stand in the way of the big wedding? Give us your thoughts in the comments, and join us again next Monday for another all-new recap of ‘How I Met Your Mother’’s latest episode, “Vesuvius” on CBS!

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