The episode opens with Sheldon and Penny using their breakfast time to “expand their respective knowledge base,” with Sheldon holding up flash cards for basic math and science concepts and terms, while Penny holds up flash cards with essential pop culture items for Sheldon to learn. After they discuss the ways they have both learned some of the more obscure cards they are being quizzed on, Leonard enters to find them at work, and after Sheldon explains the exercise, Leonard shows off his knowledge on both subjects and then drops the mic, proud that he is the happy medium between his wife and his best friend. We then watch as Leonard convinces Penny to pick up his mother at the airport for him, as does not want to deal with a 40 minute car ride where she points out everything wrong with him (Sheldon comments that he could do 40 minutes on Leonard’s posture alone). Penny agrees because she wants a relationship with her mother-in-law and Leonard is stoked.
Later at the comic book shop, Raj tells the guys about an ‘Avengers’ screening where Josh Whedon will be screening some deleted scenes and answering questions, but since it is first come first serve, they will need to stand in line starting at 3pm. Sheldon laments that he is supposed to go shopping with Amy, and decrees that none of them can go. So of course, the guys explain to him that they are allowed to have fun without him (Howard pointing out that is the only way they can have fun), and are still going. The guys then discuss Sheldon just cutting in line with them, which opens a discussion about line etiquette, which leads to the idea of hiring someone to stand in line for you, which perks Stuart’s interest, especially when he learns some of these people can make up to $20 an hour.
Cut to Amy picking up Sheldon for shopping, and instead Stuart gets into the car, ready to build a bear or walk the mall with Amy, who is incensed that Sheldon would rather wait in line than spend time with her. She then pays Stuart to find Sheldon in line and yell at him, which he does spectacularly, and much to the chagrin of Sheldon. Meanwhile, Penny picks up Beverly at the airport and is immediately uncomfortable when Beverly starts asking private questions about Leonard’s performance in the bedroom. They decide to try not to make things uncomfortable, and Penny invites her to dinner with the girls, hoping the group setting will make Beverly less intimidating.
At Penny’s apartment, she still struggles to make a connection to Beverly, even though Bernadette and Amy are able to connect with the woman due to their shared scientific interests. Stuart arrives with flowers for Amy, having been paid by Sheldon to apologize, and Amy pays Bernadette $5 to slam the door in his face. Stuart returns to the guys in line with the bad news, and Sheldon realizes he has to go apologize, so he pays Stuart to stand in line for him (Stuart is also paid by Howard to insult Raj’s stick chair, which truly, looks ridiculous). Sheldon arrives at Penny’s apartment completely out of breath, with an uber waiting downstairs, and walks Amy through his apology, which is based on the 3 steps of apology he most likely read on the internet for just such an occasion. Amy accepts the apology and Sheldon hurries back to the line, leaving Beverly impressed at the maturity Sheldon is exhibiting in his relationship with Amy. She asks if she can interview Amy and Sheldon for her book on powerful couples, and then asks the same of Bernadette as Howard was an astronaut, and both ladies agree and are flattered by the request.
Penny feels insulted she was not asked, and makes her feelings known to Beverly, saying even if they cannot make a connection she would at the very least like to not be insulted, and asks if Beverly even knows what an insult is. Beverly replies that it was an insult that Penny married Leonard and she was not even invited to the wedding (or offered the chance to see it online as Bernie pointed out), which Penny has no response too, not having realized Beverly took offense at their last minute nuptials. And even while Beverly admits that she would not have gone, Beverly does say it would have been nice to be invited, and Penny realizes the woman has a point, and offers to do another, smaller ceremony now that Beverly is in town (sounds like perfect/typical season finale of a TV series fodder).
Meanwhile, Sheldon returns to the line and sends Stuart on his way (really guys? Stuart couldn’t stay for the screening?), and is incensed when he sees someone cut in front of him. Sheldon of course accuses the man of being a cutter (having broken Sheldon’s cardinal rule of “no cuts, not butts, no coconuts”), and Sheldon and the man argue for a bit, with Sheldon trying to get the line behind him (no pun intended), but no one else really seems to care, not even when he cites Rosa Parks as an inspiration for standing up for what is right. In fact, one woman (potentially insulted by his comparing himself to Rosa Parks) points out that Sheldon also cut in the line, to which Sheldon replies he had paid someone to wait for him, so there were not cut-sies, just swap-sies. Just then the theater opens, and they are let inside, and Leonard has to console Sheldon that he may not have won the fight, but he did manage to insult a civil rights hero in the process.
QUOTES OF THE NIGHT:
STUART: Sheldon hired me to go shopping with you.
AMY: He paid you to go out with me?
STUART: No, it’s not like that. There’s a long line he’d rather stand in.
AMY: (On Sheldon) I called him “babe” once and he asked me to get a drug test.
BERNDATTE: (Answering the knock on the door) Maybe it’s Sheldon saying he’s sorry.
STUART: (Standing in the doorway with flowers) Sheldon says he’s sorry.
AMY: Bernadette I’ll give you $5 to slam the door.
STUART: (as the door slams) I would have done it for $3!
PENNY: (after Sheldon points out spinach in her teeth) How long have I had spinach in my teeth!?
BEVERLY: Since the airport dear.
Definitely a good penultimate episode for the season, though I wish the finale was something more exciting than Leonard and Penny saying their vows again so everyone can be there, but I do like the seasonal bookends of their wedding. I’m still holding out hope that Penny might be pregnant by the end of the season, or that Sheldon will propose to Amy, as those would definitely shake things up for the group (and I am dying to see Penny pregnant so we can see what she is like when dealing with life without alcohol). See you back here next week for the season 9 finale!
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.