This review contains spoilers.
10.16 The Allowance Evaporation
After a few weeks of underwhelming episodes, The Allowance Evaporation served up a substantial Raj storyline that promises some change for the character moving forward, and Sheldon learns once again that some things are best kept to himself.
We start with the guys betting whether Raj can hold his breath for longer than a Euler’s Disk can spin, and get a nice balance between Penny not giving a damn and Amy caring just long enough to learn about the wager they’ve made (because it’s nice when the show remembers Amy and Bernadette are scientists).
And because the world is askew in a thousand ways right now, we’re getting yet another Raj-centric episode almost immediately after the last one. And while I wasn’t much of a fan of the focus on his various failed relationships last time, here we’re dealing with his relationship with his privilege. After learning that his father has more or less given up on his chances of finding a wife, he wonders whether he should become more self-sufficient.
This, again, is another part of Raj as a character the show has had a lot of mileage out of, but it’s infinitely more interesting than why women don’t find him attractive. Raj has never had to mature because he’s always had money to fall back on, with his father paying for his rent, his car and his credit cards.
The scenes at Leonard and Penny’s place strike a nice balance between actually promising some character growth for Raj (though I’m not, as ever, holding my breath) and peppering in humour about his absolute cluelessness about his finances. Penny’s also great in these scenes, making me wish once again for her to have more to do than sit on the sidelines and make snarky comments.
I will say I’m kind of sad we don’t get to see Raj living in Sheldon’s old room – it would have freshened up the dynamic beyond Howard and Bernadette having a line of dialogue about Halley when they enter a room, or Sheldon and Amy living across the hall rather than Penny. It seems like an obvious source of laughs that wouldn’t be that hard to reverse when the time came.
Meanwhile, because apparently we can’t go a week without the focus being on Sheldon and Amy, a chance encounter with a stood-up Bert on date night reveals to Amy that details of their sex life are common knowledge at the university. Sheldon doesn’t know how – he only told Leonard, Howard, Raj, Kripke, Professor Wu, Professor Klein and a lunch lady in the cafeteria.
From here we go through the motions of Amy being mad, Sheldon being confused about why, and then an emotional breakthrough that’s undercut at the last second by Sheldon not quite getting the details of his epiphany. As much as I always enjoy Sheldon being considerate of other people, or vulnerable about his shortcomings, the song’s getting awfully familiar.
It’s also worth mentioning that the context of The Allowance Evaporation is completely different than every other episode in the season, with a two-year renewal seemingly close to being announced officially. That makes this just another episode of another season, rather than one of the final half-hours we’ll spend with the characters.
That obviously doesn’t make this instalment better or worse, but makes me wonder how many stories these characters really have in them.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The Locomotion Reverberation, here.