This review contains spoilers.
12.20 The Decision Reverberation
With just four episodes left of its final season, The Big Bang Theory may finally be taking baby steps towards defining its characters’ arcs (which were mostly, with the possible exception of Raj, completed a season or more ago). Leonard has been the most neglected character in this regard, so thankfully he takes centre stage here.
But first, we begin the episode with the characters discussing Avengers: Endgame without any knowledge of the film. The gang are discussing whether they eat before or after seeing the film (they’d probably be pretty hungry three-plus hours later) and lord knows how they expect to get seven people into a screening last minute.
Then Bernadette makes a crack about wanting to see Thor’s abs in 3D so as to feel like she’s in touching distance, which is pretty hilarious in retrospect though I won’t say exactly why for fear of spoilers. It’s a neat idea to include the scene in an episode that aired on the opening day of the film, but unfortunately, it doesn’t quite match the genius of The Force Awakens’ similar cameo in The Opening Night Excitation.
But we digress, because the episode itself is much more focused on real-world matters than the biggest movie of all time. After Sheldon makes a crack about Leonard being a habitual people-pleaser (seeing Endgame in 3D, which leads to him missing the end because he’s throwing up in the bathroom), he decides to take charge of his life in more ways than one.
After fretting about choosing an activity for himself and Penny (finally landing on sex and Star Trek: Discovery), he applies his new-found confidence to his work life and demands to be put in charge of an important project. The university says no to his first choice, which Sheldon already predicted in his own existential crisis, but after threatening to quit, Leonard is instead given co-lead of a different project.
It’d be a slight development for another character on a different show, but Leonard’s been so neglected in recent seasons that the storyline benefits as a result. I’m also impressed that this wasn’t used as a reason that he and Penny had to leave the state, thus triggering a ‘Rachel is moving to Paris’ goodbye tour.
The Raj subplot might be even more pointless than last week’s scooter debacle, with a throwaway line of his lecture being misinterpreted to mean he believes things like aliens and the Loch Ness Monster exist (that is after he folds in his love of Lady Gaga by saying in closing ‘that’s how a Star is Born’). Things escalate as he tries to repair the damage, and we’re reassured that Anu still exists. That’s it. That’s the plot.
The Decision Reverberation isn’t anywhere near as strong as an episode five weeks away from the end of a 12-year run should be, but it’s certainly more focused on character and actual, real development in their lives than the majority this season has been. Next week will see the return of Kripke, which I dare say might be a fun detour.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The Inspiration Deprivation, here.