The Big Bang Theory The Retraction Reaction 1

Last night’s ‘Big Bang Theory’ began simply enough, with the entire cast finally reunited for the season over dinner as Sheldon dances around the fact that Bernadette is pregnant (despite her very pregnant belly) because she has not actually told him, and he has gotten in trouble in the past for making assumptions. After she officially tells him, Sheldon comments that she looks very big for only 3 months pregnant, and the gang desperately tries to search for a topic that will not infuriate Bernadette, which culminates in learning Leonard was chosen for a scientific interview, which Sheldon is also surprised about, a verbal foible which he covers up with his fiance’s help.

The Big Bang Theory The Retraction Reaction 2So the bulk of the episode revolves around the radio interview that Leonard does, during which, in a moment of self-doubt, Leonard states on the air that he worries about the field of Physics because there have not been any breakthroughs and he wonders if they are getting anywhere at all. The interview is overheard by all of his friends and the university itself, including Sheldon, who is insulted by Leonard’s words. Meanwhile, Leonard is called into the HR department and ordered to write and release a retraction statement (whether or not he believes it) because donors have been calling in asking why they are giving money to Physics if it is dying.

After speaking to Penny about his mistakes, Leonard sits down to write his retraction, going to Sheldon for help thinking that his friend still has hope for Physics, but instead discovering Sheldon despondent and agreeing with Leonard. The Big Bang Theory The Retraction Reaction 3They start to drink some Romulan ale to drown their woes, being joined soon by Penny who tries to cheer them up, even calling in Raj and Howard to help, but Raj is no use because he is still depressed to be alone and Howard is no help because he is freaking out about having another baby. Howard has the idea to visit the grave of their Physics idol Richard Feynman, and they realize while there that Physics is only dead when they stop enjoying their work, an epiphany that happens right before Sheldon vomits out most of the blue Romulan ale he imbibed earlier.

The Big Bang Theory The Retraction Reaction 4

Meanwhile, Amy feels guilty about the success of her own department, and the money and equipment she has been getting, while Sheldon and the Physics department have been struggling, even though she also feels slightly insulted that Sheldon never lets her brag about how well she and her research are doing. She finds she can commiserate with Bernadette as Bernie has the same problem with Howard and her work in pharmaceuticals, and the two women decide they can at least brag to each other. Unfortunately, this leads to a heated debate about how Bernie makes more money but Amy’s job has more integrity and the potential to change the world, leaving things hilariously tense between the two ladies.

The Big Bang Theory The Retraction Reaction 5The episode closes with Leonard visiting the HR Rep once more, having learned that he shot her an email with his retraction draft while drunk at the cemetery, which she reads to him with some amusement. Among other things, as she reads his emails we realize he mentions that he wouldn’t mind being bitten by a zombie Richard Feynman, he was once bitten by a squirrel, he loves Physics still, he’s going to put his mom in a cheap nursing home someday, and they cannot get an Uber because Sheldon is covered in blue-vomit.


The Big Bang Theory The Retraction Reaction 6SHELDON: (listening to Leonard on the radio)I told him his voice was annoying, he didn’t want to listen.
SHELDON: Oh, it’s not?
PENNY: No, just… hey.

HR REP: Dr. Hofstader, I think you’re the smartest physicist at this university.
LEONARD: Really?
HR REP: See, lies, they’re not that hard.

SHELDON: (on Leonard’s statement about Physics not going anywhere) On the bright side, after working together for 15 years, you finally get to hear me say you were right. How does it feel?
LEONARD: Given that I might be fired, kind of bittersweet.

SHELDON: (after Leonard points out Romulan ale is just blue Vodka) First Physics, then Romulan ale, what else would you like to defecate on?

LEONARD: Turns out Physics is exactly like ‘Lost.’ Started out great and turned out to be a giant waste of time.

I think this was a stronger episode than the premiere, but I still cannot help but feel something was missing, or just did not feel right. Maybe it was just the story of the night being a little depressing, because I mean, after all these years learning that the guys are failing in their scientific endeavors is really sad. Still, a lot of the comedy did hit, but two episodes into the season and I still do not feel like we’ve seen a real ‘Big Bang Theory’ episode like the olden days, and that makes me very nervous because these opening episodes are usually stronger than the ones inmid-season. Still, I’ll hold onto hope, there’s still some good comedy to be mined from the Sheldon and Amy engagement which was barely touched this episode. See you back here next week!