“The Big Bang Theory” to us this week was really a tale of two halves. On one side of the coin, we had a funny, creative, and engaging storyline about how Sheldon was going to keep it a secret that Penny was having second thoughts about her relationship with Leonard. Then, we had a story about Howard being bullied in space that was repetitive and kind of useless.
With that in mind, we’re going to focus instead on the polarizing nature of this episode when it comes to the Leonard / Penny relationship. After the two spend all of that time apart last week, and even had that 100th episode that pretty much guaranteed that the two would more or less struggle to make it, Penny’s emotional state made it pretty clear that she wasn’t really feeling the relationship anymore. This was a major bummer, mostly since it pretty much negated a whole half of season 5 before it in terms of momentum. If these two were going to break up, we also needed a better reason beyond Penny simply not feeling it all of a sudden. This really just felt like a case of the writers not knowing what to do with them together, so a breakup is easier.
As ho-hum as this story really was, watching Sheldon sort of sort of work his way around trying to inform Leonard of the news he heard about Penny from Amy was hilarious. We actually saw a more human side of him here than in his actual relationship, as you could tell that even beyond just homeostasis (which he loves), he really wanted to help out his friend and to see him happy. Jim Parsons continues to lift this show up by making Sheldon one of the best sitcom characters out there; even if you hate him, you have to at least recognize how distinct that he is.
What was also a nice change is that Sheldon did not completely crack, and Penny almost had to face Leonard herself with the sad news … until she decided to sleep with him instead and homeostasis lives on. Their relationship is spared for now, but we’re only starting to think that this will lead to a worse breakup later. How are you suddenly going to wake up and be happy later if you are unhappy now?
What did you think about this episode, and the way that Penny’s feelings for Leonard suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke?