HIMYM returned to tell the legendary story of Barney’s bachelor party.  The day began with Robin asking Barney to drop off a payment with the wedding planner while she goes to have dinner with Barney’s mother.  Robin had been apprehensive about the dinner, and makes Barney promise not to leave her alone with her for too long.  However, when Barney goes off to make the payment, he is kidnapped.

Barney shouts out, “I swear I never talked to the North Koreans!”  Ted and Marshall laugh, for it is they who have kidnapped Barney to take him to his surprise bachelor party.  Barney calls Robin to tell her that he won’t be showing up for the dinner, and she is obviously displeased.  Ted and Marshall take Barney to a cheap hotel room outside of Atlantic City.  Barney had always feared that Ted and Marshall would not be able to put together a great party, and they were not off to a great start.  The first entertainment to show up is a clown.  Then they say they have a surprise visitor: The Karate Kid!  Ralph Machio, who starred in the original 1984 film, enters the room.  Of couse, Barney had always rooted for Johnny Lawrence in The Karate Kid, and really wanted to meet William Zabka instead.  Finally the stripper arrives… and it turns out to be Quinn. 

Barney finally decides that this whole thing is a disaster and puts an end to it, and they begin to head back home.  Then Ralph says, “What kind of legendary guy goes to Atlantic City and doesn’t gamble?”  They turn around and head to the casino where Barney played the confusing Asian in the episode named “Atlantic City.”  Not only does Barney wind up losing the payment he was supposed to deliver, he ends up losing Marshall to some mobsters when he uses him as collateral. 

They all hurry back to New York City so Barney can get ahold of the funds he needs to pay off the yakuza and get back Marshall.  When Robin hears about this whole story, she is furious.  When she sees Quinn get out of the car in a stripper outfit, she goes nuts.  “What the hell is she doing here?”  Barney says nothing happened and the whole thing was a misunderstanding.  Robin throws her ring at Barney and storms off, saying this is unforgivable.

Just when your brain is trying to piece it all together, the classic HIMYM twist comes.  Robin turns the corner and pulls out her cell phone.  “Ted, everything is going according to plan,” says Robin.  The gang had decided to pull an enormous hoax on Barney.  They knew Barney would have ridiculously high expectations for the party, so they decide to give him the worst, scariest day of his life.  Everyone was in on it from the get-go, including Mrs. Stinson, Quinn, the Asian businessmen, and Ralph Machio.  For the final reveal, the mobsters come back and capture Barney and take him up to his apartment, where everyone is waiting to surprise him.  Barney is admittedly impressed.  In one final surprise, the clown takes off his makeup and reveals himself to be William Zabka, the “true Karate Kid.”

The HIMYM writers did it again with another carefully weaved tale.  Somehow, no matter how many times they have thrown us a curveball, they still can fool us.  Veteran staff writer Chris Harris took this story the perfect amount of time in where your mind began to race before finally revealing the twist.  I loved the callbacks to the playbook and the Atlantic City episode from all the way back in season two.  That one is still one of my favorites. 

Just two episodes left in season 8.  The legend continues next week Mon 8/7c on CBS with, “Something Old.”  The storylines are getting very close to Barney and Robin’s wedding, which we all know is where Ted meets his future wife.  I am still confused as to how there is going to be a whole another season of this show, but I’m sure Craig and Carter will make it pay off.