‘The Big Bang Theory’ season 8, episode 15 review: What happened to Howard’s mom?

Howard -Tonight’s new episode of “The Big Bang Theory” was entitled “The Comic Book Store Regeneration,” and if this was any other episode, we imagine that the headline here would be the cameo of Nathan Fillion as himself, being harassed by Raj for a photo after initially being told that he actually wasn’t the “Firefly” star.

Obviously, the final few minutes of the episode changed that, when Howard heard from a phone call via his aunt that his mother, Debbie, passed away. This was a story that we knew was coming, given that Carol Ann Susi passed away months ago, and the show had no plans to ever cast the role with anyone else. As hard as it may be for the show to really handle both comedy and tragedy, they also couldn’t ignore it. This is a watershed moment in Howard’s life, and Simon Helberg played it perfectly. Also, kudos to Sheldon for that tender line at the very end.

While this moment at the end was emotionally devastating for so many reasons, we do have to comment on the rest of the episode, as well. The show did still attempt to make us laugh many times, and they did, especially with the big reveal that Amy and Sheldon had been testing Leonard and Penny against chimpanzees.

At the end of the day, the episode did end with a tribute of sorts to Debbie. It didn’t wash the character out and make her seem perfect, and it therefore honored Susi in probably the way she would have wanted: With humor. It seems almost awkward to judge this one critically. Grade: A-.

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