Well, at the very least I can say this week’s episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ did manage to continue advancing the final season plotlines of the series in mostly satisfying ways, even if it did not deliver on the laughs the way the best episodes of the series have in the past. I blame the lack of comedy mostly on the fact that they had very little for Sheldon and Amy to do this week, with the main story actually belonging to Raj, with the B-story going to Leonard and Penny.
Jumping right in here, the recap at the beginning of the episode reminded us that Raj and Anu’s relationship is on the outs, and as I guessed, Raj is not ready to let her go just yet, though she will take some work to come around. Not even something as great as Raj doing the ‘Love Actually’ cue card bit to her door-bell camera softens her up, and she informs him that he was right and they were both getting married for the wrong reasons, and she sends him on his way. Sadly for Raj, he actually does really like her, which Bernadette instantly sees when Raj comes to her and Howard for advice, advising her husband not to say bad things about Anu because she knows they are going to get back together. Raj then gets a call from his father, usually a stern man who comes down on Raj for his lifestyle, and the man seems to sense that Raj is in turmoil and actually likes Anu, and softens toward his son, something we have not really seen before, telling him to go out and get what he wants, marriage or no marriage, which means a lot to Raj. So Raj returns to Anu’s apartment once more, and asks her if they can start their relationship again, from the beginning this time, with no promise of marriage, so they can get to know each other without that burden, and she agrees.
As for Leonard and Penny, the episode opens with the guys playing Dungeons and Dragons during game night while chiding Raj for being single and alone again, while the ladies go out to a bar, where they run into Penny’s ex-boyfriend Zack, who they learn sold his company and became rich. Zack invites Penny and Leonard onto his boat for a dinner with his new wife, and Leonard reluctantly attends, after confiding in Sheldon that he’s only going because he does not want to seem petty. However, during the dinner, Zack and his wife reveal that they cannot have children, and it is due to Zack’s infertility. They then ask Leonard to be the sperm donor, which immediately freaks out Penny, though Leonard is intrigued by the idea, especially since Penny already decided they are not going to have children themselves. Plus, Leonard is flattered that Zack thinks he is one of the best guys he knows, a fact that really annoys Sheldon when Leonard goes to him for advice on the situation, though in between his gripes Sheldon does point out that Penny might be concerned about Leonard’s feelings if he were to help Zack and then have that weight of having offspring in the world of being “his,” but not actually being his, which Leonard realizes is actually very insightful.
In the end, Penny tells Leonard she thinks he should help out Zack, especially since she gave him no choice in whether or not they have children, and even tells him Zack could not have chosen a better man, a fact which Leonard asks her to repeat to Sheldon, even going so far as to pull out his phone and call so Penny can actually say the words.
QUOTES OF THE NIGHT:
HOWARD: (as the guys see a monster while playing Dungeons & Dragons) Is it alone and unloved?
HOWARD: I opened the door and say, “Hey Raj!”
BERNIE: (explaining to Howard why he can’t badmouth Anu to Raj yet) Remember when we broke up and Penny said all those mean things about you?
AMY: Well, something can be flattering and creepy. You know, just the other night Sheldon said that my feet looked like Richard Feynman’s hands.
I actually really enjoyed the Raj storyline, especially the moments with his father, who has been so hilariously hard on Raj over the run of the series, as the man was desperate to see his son grow up and get married. It was great to see him relent and tell Raj to do what he needed to be happy, marriage or not, and that for me, will prove to be the true turning point for Raj, and the reason why he will now be able to actually settle down with Anu by the time the final season is over. As for Penny and Leonard, I am satisfied that the writers at least found some way for Leonard to kind of have a kid, even if Penny was so against it, because her refusal to have children while he wanted them always just made things kind of awkward and sad. And yeah, with all these kind of serious plot-lines happening, it is easy to see how the laughs are getting lost, but at least these things are somewhat interesting, and in keeping with a last season feeling, so not the worst episode of the season I’d say. Let’s hope next week the show returns with some lighter fare and bigger laughs, with a more Sheldon and Amy centric storyline. See you back here next week!