Well, while not one of the highlights of the series, or even the season, this week’s ‘Big Bang Theory’ was definitely a step up from the disappointing episodes that preceded it. Which is most likely the result of having an episode that focused more heavily on Sheldon and Amy and included a few emotional beats between the two of them as well as some good comedic moments, which are really the only elements the show still has left. Gone are the days where ‘The Big Bang Theory’ was capable of more than one solid story-line at the same time or having any story-line involving Bernadette and Howard that did not dissolve into some sitcom trope trying way too hard to make you remember how funny these characters used to be.
The main story-line this week revolves around the fall-out from Amy’s blow-up at the Nobel Prize dinner at the end of the previous episode, starting with a trip to HR (an office we have not seen on the series for a while, and was nice to revisit in the final season), and learning that the University is not happy with Sheldon or Amy and how they have been handling the Nobel Prize competition, and wants them to sit back and stay out of the public eye while they do damage control. Amy is also told how important it is for her as she would be only the 4th woman to ever win the prize, which immediately dials up her nerves. Sheldon is also stressing out about the situation, and since he normally reverts to science to calm down, and science only reminds him of the award, he is at a loss as to what to do.
Luckily for him, Penny suggests sensory deprivation, which he and Amy decide to try, and while Sheldon loves the experience and spends his hour hallucinating mathematical equations and geometric shapes within his mind, Amy instead only sees images of all the women she will be disappointing if she fails to win. This leaves her even more upset than before. Sheldon is helpless to comfort her and goes to Penny and Leonard for advice, and they tell him sometimes there is nothing you can do but be there for a person, which is something Sheldon has never dealt with before since Amy is usually the one who takes care of him.
In the end, Sheldon tries his own plan of faking a freak-out so Amy will need to take care of him (what he sees as her comfort zone), and when that fails, he instead holds her, and sings her Soft-Kitty, a sweet moment to end the episode on, and a moment which actually does make Amy feel better.
In the B-story, Howard and Raj come across a scooter for sale, which gets them reminiscing about Howard’s old scooter and the fact that Bernie made him sell it (and of course gets the audience remembering when the show had actual story-lines for the other characters). So, of course, Howard buys the scooter and tries to keep it hidden from Bernie, which fails miserably when he lets Raj ride it and then waits at home for Raj to come pick him up for no logical reason since he is trying to hide the whole thing from his wife. Shockingly, Bernadette happens to come home and finds Howard waiting with a helmet and immediately pieces the whole thing together, which leads to the inevitable sitcom fight, and the discussion about the danger of Howard’s “bike” and how Bernie does not want to raise the kids alone if Howard were to get injured.
So in the end, Howard sells the scooter to Bert and gives the money to Bernadette and tells her the whole thing has a happy ending as the bike led to Bert meeting a woman and if Bert actually did get into an accident, the woman he met was an EMT.
QUOTES OF THE NIGHT:
HR: We are not here to point fingers. So Dr. Cooper, please stop that. (cut to Sheldon blatantly pointing to Amy)
RAJ: Hey I forget, why did you sell your scooter?
HOWARD: I finally got my woman…And she made me sell it.
BERNADETTE: Emasculating? You were about to ride bitch on a moped with another man!
SHELDON: Of course! And by calming down, I’ve taken away the one thing that’s given her comfort, taking care of me!
AMY: (as Sheldon is holding her and singing “Soft Kitty”) That helps.
SHELDON: Shhhh! I’m singing.
With any luck, this episode was the beginning of an upward trend for the final few episodes of the series, but I don’t know about getting my hopes up. I’m still in the camp of the rest of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ just being a long slog until it finally ends, and we can all just try to remember the former glory of the long-running series. At the moment the whole Nobel Prize story-line feels like they are dragging it out way too long, as though they just don’t have any other stories to tell, which may actually be the case considering the fact that the other characters this season really have not been doing much of anything in the past few episodes. One almost wishes CBS had not done a full season order for the final season as clearly the show-runners are just making a bunch of filler episodes waiting for the end. Perhaps CBS was obsessed with getting the final season ratings and they did not seem to care too much about the poor quality they would be getting by demanding all these episodes. Had the final season been, say, 13 episodes, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ might actually have had a solid final outing. Instead, we get this.
Here’s hoping next week, as we get another week closer to the finale, things start to pick up.