The Big Bang Theory season 11 episode 9 review: The Bitcoin Entanglement

The Big Bang Theory squanders the potential of a flashback episode in The Bitcoin Entanglement...

This review contains spoilers.

11.9 The Bitcoin Entanglement

Ladies and gents, we’ve reached a new low. Not satisfied with harping on decade-old jokes to coast to a season twelve no one really asked for, The Big Bang Theory has served us up a flashback episode that allows them to re-make outdated jokes from the halcyon days of season four.

Raj is spoilt by his father, Penny might leave Leonard for another guy at any second, Howard lives with his mother and Sheldon, well Sheldon is what he’s always been.

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I knew this was going to be a dodgy one when the episode began with an incorrect Avatar joke. First, it’s an Avatar joke. Second, one nerd says to another that he went as ‘Avatar’ for Halloween. Pretty sure Avatar isn’t a character, it’s a film title, and I can’t believe I’m spending this many words talking about a seven-year old movie everyone’s forgotten about.

Ironically, an episode which gets most of its humour from very old jokes is also one that takes its concept from a rather newsworthy source. The gang, remembering that they mined some bitcoin back in 2010, attempt to track down the laptop they used in order to cash in on the unprecedented payday.

First they believe that Howard’s porn-riddled (mostly Asian, some oldies) computer is the winner, but soon recall using Leonard’s laptop. The trouble is that he lent it to Penny before one of their big break-ups, and she in turn gave it to Zach. Once they track it down we get a pretty delightful look at old commitment-phobe Penny recording a drunken apology video – a highlight of the episode along with Raj’s admission that his mature, adult use of the money would be to buy a tiger.

But even after they get the laptop home and open the file, we already know that the group aren’t going to get rich off the scheme. Sitcom characters don’t suddenly win the lottery, especially on one that’s nine episodes into its eleventh year.

Sheldon reveals that, in revenge for being left out of the original get-together, he downloaded the bitcoin to a flash drive just to watch them sweat seven years later. In his mind, Leonard’s been carrying a goldmine around for all that time and he was just waiting to reveal the joke. However, Leonard’s Batman keychain went the way that all keychains do – lost somewhere never to be retrieved.

The kicker is the end, which shows Stuart discovering the flash drive in his comic-book store. I think we’d all like to see the poor downtrodden sod get his reward and become a millionaire, but then The Big Bang Theory would no longer be able to make jokes about how pathetic he is and we can’t have that. Instead, Stuart thinks to himself that he could make $10 off a wiped Batman flash drive, and the rest is history.

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As usual, the most fun to be had from The Bitcoin Entanglement is brief glimpses of the girls, whether that’s Penny talking to Sheldon through the door or Amy on one of her pre-Sheldon, mother-approved dates. Now that would be a fun time – seeing what Amy was up to before she got sucked into the Sheldon vortex.

As it stands, this was a potentially fun episode about a legitimately nerdy topic that was executed poorly. For those who say that plot and character development doesn’t matter on a sitcom, this is what we’d get if Leonard, Howard, Sheldon and Raj had never progressed.

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The Tesla Recoil, here.