Well, to be perfectly honest, I am not 100% sure how I feel about this week’s episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ On the one hand I felt it lacked in a lot of laughs, and tried very hard to tie up some loose plot threads left hanging from the season, so hard in fact that it barely felt like it had a plot of its own, and worked more like a bridge to bring the show to where it needed to be going into the season finale. On the other hand, I liked a lot of the character moments (even if the laughs were few), and appreciated things like the symbolism of the empty apartment, having Leonard and Sheldon have a real discussion of relationships that Sheldon actually listens to (I feel like the pair has not gotten much one-on-one time lately), and I enjoyed the maturation of the Sheldon and Amy relationship.
Jumping right in, the episode opens with the gang celebrating that phase one of guys’ military project with the gyroscope is about to be finished, leading into Phase 2 where they get to build and test their invention. As they sip champagne (and apple juice for Sheldon) and dream of the movie (starring more attractive versions of themselves) that will be based on this experience, they have no idea that at that very moment the US military is cleaning out their labs. The guys realize what happened the next day when they find all their research and equipment gone, and are informed their part in the project is over, along with Phase 1. The men return home heartbroken and upset and are somewhat consoled by the good news that Raj has finally found a place to live, which makes Leonard and Penny very happy as he is moving out (though they try so hard to hide their glee).
Amy also has news, but she does not want to tell Sheldon just yet, as she has been offered a fellowship at Princeton for a few months. Ultimately he figures out she is hiding something when she makes him his favorite, plain old bland oatmeal, and he gets her to confess. He informs her she has no choice but to go, and then heads to the bathroom to be alone. Amy speaks with the ladies who tell her the choice should be easy, as Sheldon would not hesitate to take a similar opportunity, and Bernadette is slightly jealous as her own man gets really clingy after he loses a project, and this time is no exception (even as he tracks down the ladies walking in the park just to give Bernie a hug), and she would be glad to be rid of him for a few months. Meanwhile, as Leonard helps Raj move out, they pass an empty apartment on the 3rd floor and find Sheldon inside sadly playing the blues on his harmonica. After Raj suggests Sheldon could move back into his old room Leonard pushes Raj out of the apartment, and then sits with his old friend and tells him that it is time for him to be a supportive boyfriend.
At the Wolowitz house, Bernie confronts Howard on his clinginess and he reminds her that she is the same way, even citing the example of them having a child mainly because she was removed from a fungal project at work. Bernie realizes Howard is right and decides to suck it up, and they make amends. Meanwhile, Sheldon returns home with a brand new suitcase for Amy, his way of making amends, telling her she should go and they can make the long distance work for a little while. She is touched by his gesture, especially when he offers a more physical gesture (even though it is not her birthday) and Amy hastily agrees, despite Sheldon reminding her once she goes to Princeton they won’t be able to get physical long distance. She is ok with it and they get down to business, but not before first removing and neatly folding their clothes.
At Leonard and Penny’s apartment, they are saying their goodbye’s to Raj at the door, who graciously thanks them for taking him in when he needed a place to stay, a nice moment that is intermittently interrupted by the sounds of Shamy coitus from across the hall, which they are all fascinated by. Eventually, Raj admits he cannot compete with their lovemaking and heads out, and though Penny and Leonard know they should head inside and stop listening, they cannot help themselves.
QUOTES OF THE NIGHT:
SHELDON: (about Raj) I hope his character doesn’t make it into the movie, he’s kind of a bummer.
SHELDON: I thought Uncle Sam was a friendly uncle who brought you presents. Turns out, he’s the other kind.
SHELDON: (on Amy’s oatmeal) Mmm. Tasteless.
AMY: (as heard by Leonard, Penny and Raj from the hallway as she and Sheldon are intimate) My goodness that form of stimulation is highly efficient!
SHELDON: Hard to say, I’ve never lived by myself. What if I become strange and eccentric.
AMY: (beat) …I’ll love you no matter what.
Not a bad lead into the finale and I suspect if Amy is in the next episode, Sheldon still might be proposing before the episode is over because I cannot think of what other big twist they might have for a finale cliffhanger this year. I thought for a moment that Sheldon might grab for the empty apartment on the 3rd floor to regain the life he once had pre-Amy, but it seems that empty apartment was indeed just symbolic and not meant for the plot, unless they use it in the finale. And unlike rumors stated, it seems the military guy may not turn out to be Howard’s father, and they may not tackle that story this season, though they could introduce it and leave it hanging for the finale. We’ll see when the Season finale airs next week, see you back here then!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.