Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra

HIMYM episode 9x14 (198)

Slapsgiving 3 Slappointment
First aired:
January 13, 2014
Pamela Fryman
Carter Bays
Craig Thomas
Barney's Blog

Images (8)

In an attempt to deliver a devastating penultimate slap to Barney, Marshall explains how he mastered the Slap of A Million Exploding Suns.


On Sunday at 1:00 AM, 17 hours before the wedding, picking up immediately where the previous episode left off, Marshall is about to slap an impassive-faced Barney (seen in a slow-motion fashion) when Future Ted says that there is a particular back-story to this slap. The episode then flashes back to a few weeks earlier with the gang at MacLaren's Pub. After spilling mustard on his suit, Barney begins mocking Marshall by saying that his suit was a slap in the face to all suits everywhere. Remembering the Slap Bet, Marshall tells Barney that he wants the next slap from the Slap Bet to be as painful as humanly possible, to which Barney then counters that, due to all the pain and suffering Marshall has inflicted upon him over the years, he is now immune to all of Marshall's torments.

Marshall then proceeds to tell Barney (who keeps interrupting to point out the obvious inconsistencies in the story) that he went to seek "special training" for the next slap. First, he went to a martial arts learning center to ask the teacher for a class that only teaches slapping. After being rejected, a kid at the center informs Marshall about the existence of the so-called "Slap of a Million Exploding Suns", and that he needs to visit three masters to teach him the three virtues of "slapistry" - Speed, Strength, and Accuracy- needed to learn the slap. He then travels to Shanghai for a year to learn the 'speed' component from "The Cruel Tutelage of Red Bird", to the so-called Slap Mountain (a mountain in China shaped exactly like a hand, and the greatest of the Slappalachian Mountains), to learn the 'strength' component from "The Punishing Scholarship of White Flower", and to Cleveland (the city equivalent of being slapped in the face), to learn the 'accuracy' component from "The Some-Might-Call-It-Nitpicky-But-It's-Really-Just-Thorough Schooling of The Calligrapher".

Red Bird (who resembles Robin) at first refuses to teach Marshall, since she has been retired for a long time and slapping has now become part of her history. However, she agrees after Marshall reveals his purpose to slap Barney Stinson. The training includes Marshall practicing with a fabled "slapping tree", a tree that slaps back with its branches (which also apparently inspired a Chinese kids book "The Slapping Tree"). After successfully passing his final test (slapping Red Bird), Marshall moves on to Slap Mountain to learn from White Flower (who looks like Lily). Much like Red Bird, she refuses to teach slapping again but helps him when Marshall mentions Barney Stinson's name. She instructs Marshall that the real power of a slap comes from the anger behind it, touching Marshall's hand while explaining. This leads to Marshall and White Flower making love in the Gongqing Forest near the Slapping Tree (which Marshall states may or may not have come into play). White Flower informs Marshall to get slapped by several of Barney's former conquests so he can harness their anger to give him the strength for his slap. We are shown as Marshall approaches several conquests of Barney's, Crazy Meg, Shannon, Shelly, Karina, Mrs. Douglas, and Nora before his hand obtains a red glow, symbolizing his success. Finally, Marshall travels to Cleveland to learn Accuracy from The Calligrapher (who looks like Ted). The Calligrapher accepts the challenge of training Marshall under the condition of going out with his divorced cousin Janice. However, Marshall tries to save him from choking by slapping his back, but without having learned accuracy yet, he accidentally slaps The Calligrapher's heart right out of him, causing him to die. Thus, Marshall ends his story to Barney complaining that he never got to finish his training, and thus shall remain a "mere slapprentice".

Flashing forward back to the wedding weekend, we are shown the slow-motion slap from the beginning. Since Marshall never learned Accuracy, he misses the slap, allowing Barney to run into the woods in panic. He runs into four women underneath a willow tree knitting a tiger blanket, which matches Marshall's description of the place where Marshall will give Barney his next slap. The gang finally catches up to him, and Marshall tells Barney that The Calligrapher did in fact teach him the secret to accuracy while dying on the floor, since you only have 10 or 15 minutes to live when your heart is slapped out of your body, and that his training is complete. Barney then says that he is also ready, and Marshall then slaps Barney (again seen in a slow-motion fashion, while a piece of Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, op 11 plays on the background). After the slap, Barney and Marshall share a laugh about it, wondering how life passed so fast. In the end scene, Marshall announces to the audience Boyz II Men, who sing "You Just Got Slapped". Marshall then walks up to Barney, ominously reminding him that there is one slap remaining in the slap bet, wiping Barney's smile from his face.


Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • The slap will be visible on Barney's cheek in Unpause.
  • Marshall says 'One More' referencing the fact that there is one more slap remaining in the slap bet. He delivers this in The End of the Aisle.


  • The Schooling of the Calligrapher
For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra images.

Memorable Quotes

Marshall: Relax, I'm not gonna slap you right now! When I slap you, it shall be beneath a willow tree, next to four women and a tiger...
Barney: Willow tree, four women and a tiger? What are you talking about?
Marshall: Who said anything about a willow tree, four women and a tiger? Guys? (Lily, Robin and Ted deny)
Barney: But... Marshall just said that!

Barney: You banged White Flower?
Marshall: I made love to White Flower. And then I banged her.
Barney: In the forest?
Marshall: In Gongqing Forest, yes. Actually right near the Slapping Tree. Which may or may not have come into play.
Robin: Oh, my God, you had a tree-way?

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • When Marshall slaps Barney, he says "That's four!" In the context of the The Eight Slaps, it should have been "That's seven!" If the slap was part of the three extra slaps given in Disaster Averted and counted separately from the initial five slaps, he would have said "That's three"; if it was part of the original five slaps, it should have been "That's five". Saying "four" doesn't fit into any of the scenarios.
    • However, this line has been edited out in the international versions of the episode that have aired after the US air date as well as the DVD release.
    • It could be that Marshall released that there was only 1 slap left and had the five slaps in mind. In that scenario it's logic the call this slap number four.
    • It could be that Marshall start to count again from one from the slap in Disaster Averted
  • After learning the skill of strength from White Flower (Lily) Marshall's right hand is the one glowing red hot and ready to slap. However when he performs his first slap, on the choking Calligrapher (Ted), he does so with his left hand.
  • When Marshall goes out to get slaps from "gullible chicks Barney banged" they establish a pattern of Marshall introducing himself as a friend of Barney which prompts the women to slap him. Nora should not have been included as she did not fit the pattern. Because she dated Barney for some time Nora knew who Marshall was. They used to hang out together. There was no logical reason she should have kneed Marshall in the nards when he knocked on her door.
    • However, it could be that Nora, due to breaking up with Barney, developed feelings of hate towards the other gang members as well, which would explain why she kicked and slapped Marshall.
    • Marshall's entire training sequence did not actually happen. It was a story Marshall made up to get inside Barney's head. Nora's behavior does not need a logical reason. It just needs to scare Barney. Considering that Barney had a much longer relationship with Nora than with the other "gullible chicks", it would make sense to him that she would react more violently to the mention of his name.
  • When Marshall has almost completed his training by Red Bird (Robin), she tells him to slap her, so that he can complete his training. Afterwards when he says that he will go out and slap Barney, Red Bird tells him that he must not slap anyone before his training is complete or there will be consequences. Therefore it makes no sense that he could slap Red Bird without it having consequences.

Allusions and Outside References

  • The title is a reference to the story Appointment in Samarra, in which a man tries to avoid the personification of Death by fleeing to Samarra only for it to be later revealed that he was destined to die in Samarra, much like how Barney flees the slap at the beginning of the episode but finds himself in the exact situation in which Marshall had told him he would be slapped.
  • Marshall is told by the young boy what he must do to learn the "slap of a million exploding suns". This may be a reference to Sentry, a Marvel Comics superhero who's power is also described in such a way.
  • Barney makes references to Brooks Brothers, Giorgio Armani and Men's Wearhouse when insulting the store where Lily bought Marshall's new suit.
  • In Marshall's story about receiving his slap training, he references a fictional book titled The Slapping Tree, which has a very similar name to Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. The book is authored by Pai Mei, which was the name of the martial arts master in the movie Kill Bill: Volume 2.
  • The entire episode is an ode to Kill Bill:
    • Marshall's three teachers: Red Bird, White Flower, and The Caligrapher parallel The Bride's three teachers: Bill, Pai Mei, and Hattori Hanzo.
    • Red Bird and White Flower refuse to teach Marshall until he mentions that Barney is his target. This parallel's Hattori Hanzo's refusal to make a sword for The Bride until she mentions that Bill is her target.
    • The Slap of a Million Exploding Suns parallels The Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique. 
    • The division of the episode into chapters and the titles of the chapters themselves parallel the storytelling in Kill Bill.
      • "The Cruel Tutelage of Red Bird" directly parallels the third chapter of Kill Bill Vol. 2: "The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei". "The Punishing Scholarship of White Flower" and "The Some-Might-Call-It-Nitpicky-But-It's-Really-Just-Thorough School of The Calligrapher" also parallel this chapter albeit not as directly.
    • The surprisingly advanced age of Red Bird and White Flower parallels Pai Mei's advanced age of ~1,000 years old.
    • When the karate boy says the words "speed, strength, and accuracy" the words appear visually on the screen. This method is also frequently employed by master director Quentin Tarantino in Kill Bill.
    • The Calligrapher dies at the hands of his student Marshall and there is a long delay between Marshall's strike and The Calligrapher's death during which The Calligrapher shows he is at peace with his demise. This parallels Bill's death at the hands of his student The Bride where there is a long delay between The Bride's strike and Bill's death during which Bill shows he is at peace with his demise.
    • The bloody scene where The Calligrapher's heart gets ejected from his chest parallels the many gory scenes in Kill Bill (and, indeed, all of Quentin Tarantino's movies).
  • At the end of Marshall's training with Red Bird, he asks "Which mountain?" Red Bird replies with "No, not Witch Mountain. Slap Mountain." This may be a reference to the movie "Race to Witch Mountain".
  • When Marshall asks to speak to White Flower, the Old Man tells him that that name is feared in 40 villages.  Marshall then replies it's no "Voldemort" to which the Old Man says "Why don't you just say 'Candy Man' three times and be done with it?" Voldemort is the main antagonist of the "Harry Potter" series and everyone fears even speaking his name and "Candy Man" comes from an old urban legend where saying his name 3 times will summon him to kill you.
  • There is another reference to Guns N' Roses: Marshall says to White Flower he has a "slappetite for destruction", quoting the band's first album "Appetite for destruction".
  • When Marshall introduces Boyz II Men, it is similar to the host of Saturday Night Live's introduction for the musical act of that episode.


Other Notes:

  • The site is still running and now reads "One More..."
    • Strangely the site wasn't changed after the final slap was given at Barney and Robin's wedding, and remains active (as of April 4th, 2017).
  • It's the fourth time when a character talks directly to the viewers (when Marshall said "Ladies and Gentlemen..."). The other times are Barney at the end of False Positive​​, Robin in Mystery vs. History​​, and Marshall in Who Wants to Be a Godparent?.
  • Robin played the role of the slap master of speed- "Red Bird", Lilly played the role of the slap master of strength- "White Flower", and Ted played the role of the slap master of accuracy- "The Calligrapher". Red Bird references Robin's name as a Robin is a red bird. White Flower references Lilly's name as a Lilly is a white flower. The Calligrapher references Ted's well documented love of calligraphy.
  • According to a 15-second behind the scenes footage of the slaps (taken by prop assistant Chris Kurumada) that Marshall took from Barney's previous girlfriends, Jason Segel actually took every single slap that they gave him. Also, Segel claimed that the hardest slap was from Eva Amurri and that he took the nutshot from Nazanin Boniadi "like a champ."



  • This episode received some backlash, and was accused of encouraging Asian stereotypes. The hashtag #HowIMetYourRacism began to trend on Twitter. The creators later apologized to the racist claims. [5]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 6.5 out of 10 stars. "...finally, another slap!"


External Links

Previous episode
Bass Player Wanted
Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra
(all episodes)
Next episode →

Start a Discussion Discussions about Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra