Midseason Report Card: Did ‘The Big Bang Theory’ season 9 make up for its flaws?

We’re not sure that there has ever been a season of “The Big Bang Theory” where we’ve had as strong a reaction to it from start to finish. After the first few episodes, we were starting to think that this was a show that couldn’t redeem itself, only for them to pull themselves out of the dirt somewhat by giving the story of Sheldon and Amy’s relationship a happy, rather-surprising end (or at least it would have been had CBS not announced that they were sleeping together in advance).

We’re going to warn you in advance that this Midseason Report Card entry is going to be mostly about Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik’s characters, mostly because Leonard and Penny were on the back-burner following their wedding and nobody else really had anything else significant going on.

The good – The midseason finale was fantastic across the board. It was a perfect tribute to the passion of “Star Wars,” and it also handled Sheldon and Amy being together in a way that felt appropriate and honest for their characters. It also helped Sheldon recover somewhat from his depiction as a total heel in the earlier part of the season.

Also, great use of guest stars this season. Stephen Merchant was a wonderful addition as Dave, Amy’s temporary love interest and a Sheldon fanboy. Bob Newhart was great in the midseason finale, and Wil Wheaton had his best material mocking “Star Wars” fans in some time. (The show hasn’t figured out this character really ever since he and Sheldon buried the hatchet.)

The bad – We still have a very hard time figuring out why Amy would want Sheldon back given some of the hurtful things he said early in the season, not to mention when he publicly tried to humiliate her on a very-mean edition of “Fun with Flags.” We felt that Sheldon had to practically grovel to win her back, and while he did give her more of himself than he used to by the past few episodes, we don’t think it makes up fully for his past actions.

Also, we understand that Raj isn’t the star of this story, but the show is really botching his relationship with Emily. We know Laura Spencer is pretty busy, but how do you not have more of this relationship after the whole cemetery cliffhanger from the spring? We haven’t seen enough of her consistently to really formulate an opinion, other than knowing that she and Penny aren’t the best of friends and that she believes Raj really loves her.

Overall – A mixed bag of funny moments, incomprehensible actions, and meaningful storylines. It’s not the best stretch “The Big Bang Theory” has ever had, but far from the worst. Grade: B-.

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