Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 8, Episode 22 of CBS "How I Met Your Mother" titled "The Bro Mitzvah."
"This is a story of the night Barney's life completely fell apart," narrates grown up Ted in what becomes yet another Barney-centric episode as he prepares for his and Robin's big day. (What happened to Lily and Marshall's plan to move to Rome? Why has Ted stopped looking for "the one"? Nobody knows.)
At their posh loft, Robin expresses her distress over dinner with Barney's mother and he reassures her it'll be just fine. He just has to drop off the $5,000 caterer deposit four blocks over and he'll be right back. Plans, of course, change quickly when he is "kidnapped" by Ted and Marshall for his surprise bachelor party -- a "bro mitzvah."
We learn that Barney's been talking about his dream bachelor party for months now (way back when he was engaged to Quinn), and he has prepared his best bros, but despite their best efforts, it is bound to be a disappointment. How can a guy who makes every night legendary expect his "rite of passage" night to be grand? In an attempt to help them out, he lays out some rules, Ten Commandments style: there must be booze, cigars, strippers, they should genuinely fear for their lives, and there should be some sort of mind blowing (nude) entertainment.
In the car on their way to what Barney thinks is Atlantic City, he calls up Robin to apologize for leaving her with his mother. She is furious at him, but he hangs up on her nonetheless. When they arrive at their destination, it is not quite Atlantic City -- it's a crummy hotel that overlooks AC from a distance, with the excuse that Barney can't risk being around "games of chance" (what with his past of Chinese gambling and all). As the night unfolds, each new development is worse than the next.
First, the fear factor comes in form of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," where every time they hear the word "catastrophic," they must drink. Then, for entertainment, there's a balloon contortionist clown.
Robin calls Barney again to berate him for telling his mother she's a virgin. Not only is she clearly not and is thus forced to lie, she's had to endure his mother's explanation of what sex is -- using a napkin holder and a break stick -- all night.
Next, Lily enters the rundown little hotel room. She's there to introduce none other than Barney's childhood hero: Karate Kid. Only, it's Ralph Macchio, and in Barney's version of "Karate Kid," he's the bad guy and not at all who he was hoping to see (which is William Zabka). In fact, he feels nothing but deep seeded contempt for Macchio, unlike Lily, who's had a crush on him since she was a tween.
Just when Barney thinks there's no way the night could be any less enjoyable, there's a knock on the door. It's the stripper he'd asked for and was promised, only ... it's Quinn! Equally stunned, she tells him that after they broke off their engagement, she had to move out of the city. Her car got totaled and she had to go back to stripping just to pay rent. As punishment for his newly happy life, she says she'll strip for everyone but him.
Locked in the bathroom, all depressed, Barney gets a call from Robin. She begs him to come save her since his mother is now drunk and is telling her threeway stories that involve many breadsticks. He storms out of the bathroom extremely upset and tells everyone the night is ruined and he wants to go home. In the car on the way back, Macchio taunts Barney and tells him he's a loser for not going to AC to gamble. Barney steers the car last minute and heads into the city, the $5,000 caterer deposit in hand.
To make a long story short (as they did in the episode), Barney loses the initial $5,000 and then an additional $80,000 just by picking the wrong girl's hand. As they flee back to New York, Lily notices Marshall is not with them. It turns out, Barney gave him to the mobsters as collateral and is planning to go home to get the money, but that angers Ted and the rest of the gang so much that they call it quits on the bachelor party.
Ted storms out of the car, Barney follows and finds Robin waiting outside their apartment building -- fuming. She demands explanations and just then, Quinn exists the car. The two ladies start brawling, Robin throws her ring at Barney and tells him it's over between them. She walks around the corner, calls up Ted and tells him "we're right on schedule."
It just so happens that while Barney was setting himself up for disappointment, his best friends and lovely fiancée were scheming: If they make it the worst night of his life, they decide, he won't see it coming. What a splendid surprise! And so the rotten hotel, the clown, Ralph Macchio, Quinn, even Barney's mother, all were in on it. For the grand finale, the mobsters "chop off" Marshall's hand and escort Barney back to his apartment to get the money.
Only when they get up there, Robin, Ted et al wait with champagne glasses and toast to a successful surprise. Barney is shocked at first, then seems livid. They ruined his night, made him think Marshall might die, that Robin is dumping him, that he's lost all his money and all his friends hate him just for kicks? He looooves it! And the cherry on top: The balloon contortionist clown turns out to be Barney's real hero, Karate Kid himself (only not really), William Zabka!
Some night ...
"How I Met Your Mother" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
All the fan theories and spoilers you actually WANT. Learn more