‘The Big Bang Theory’ season 9, episode 18 review: Sheldon, Raj make key decisions

Big Bang -Who would’ve thought after an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” that Sheldon would turn out to be the most likable person? It’s not often you say that, and it’s one of many reasons why Thursday night’s new episode was so great.

Perhaps the biggest reason, though, is that this episode showed precisely why the writers of this show are so excellent at their jobs: They understand these characters (or at least the long-standing regulars) perhaps better than any show could. Take, for example, how it made total sense that lover-of-contracts Sheldon would want to give Howard his entire share of sales for a project that the two patented with Leonard. He knew that he needed the money for his unborn child, and Sheldon as a character has never cared about money. That’s why he continues to live in a tiny apartment in Pasadena. All he wants, metaphorically, is the plaque. He wants a legacy and to be remembered, and he knows that money will not buy that.

Meanwhile, for Raj it makes some sense that he could completely buy into the notion that he needed to help Emily after the breakup, and that in “helping” her, they would end up sleeping together and he would ignore Claire’s advice. Do we think that it is unlikable of Raj to lead her on in some way? Sure, but we also think it was not his intent. He is a naive-enough character to perceive that she wasn’t actually looking to reconcile the relationship. Having everyone from Penny, Bernadette, and even Amy warn him against doing this, but to have him still do it, shows both the character’s stubbornness and desire to be the good guy.

As for Emily, this remains the series’ biggest flaw. Laura Spencer is great, but for whatever reason we haven’t seen the character ever be given a consistent point of view. The whole macabre side to her personality has not really been mentioned this season, and tonight the show made a bizarre point of reminding us again and again that she was acting like every other woman out there after a breakup, taking away much of the character’s uniqueness. We want to root for her, but for the most part all we have is that other than her obsession with death, she’s probably the closest thing the show has to a normal person where she doesn’t excuse Sheldon or Penny of their behavior sometimes.

Despite our problems with this character, we still found most of the episode entertaining, and we hope that this is the beginning of a more consistent arc for Raj that lasts the remainder of the season. Grade: B.

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