This review contains spoilers.
12.5 The Planetaruim Collision
Of all the various relationships present on The Big Bang Theory twelve years in, there’s one that’s been there from the beginning and never really faltered. Howard and Raj have had their differences, but their friendship has managed to endure right up until the end.
Their disagreement in The Planetarium Collision is a familiar one, but its resolution shows how far the two of them have come. When it’s suggested that Howard be a key part of Raj’s lecture at the planetarium both of their insecurities flair up. Raj is worried that Howard will take over the talk and thus steal one of the things Raj has secured for himself, and Howard doesn’t want Raj’s jealousy to dampen his understandable (of often mentioned) pride from being an astronaut.
The continuity of this storyline is half of what makes it, with Raj’s job at the planetarium thankfully not a forgotten relic of last season. The gig is significant for the character in that it was a key part of his newfound confidence (and better hairstyle), and it makes total sense that he would want to keep it to himself.
Raj’s career has been the least defined on the four lads over the years, but in the end it’s nice to see him and Howard learn to share their grown-up toys. I have no idea what the rest of the lecture audience thought of their love fest, but it sure did stoke Leonard’s sentimental streak.
Over in Shamy land, the couple have had their first proper marital spat. It doesn’t feel nearly as contrived as the one in the season premiere, which simply picked from the grab bag of potential conflicts for the couple, but instead puts a real obstacle in their way that doesn’t really get resolved by the end.
When Amy tells Sheldon that she can’t work on their joint project as much as he’d like because she has her actual job to go to, he takes it upon himself to ask for a sabbatical on her behalf. She’s granted the break, but is furious when she finds a stranger standing in her lab and reading through her notes. This is a project she’s invested years in, she tells Sheldon, and she’s not willing to give it up.
The idea of Sheldon being selfish and oblivious is played out at this point, but the writers manage to draw as many laughs out of the concept as they can – even lampshading his propensity to mansplain. We know it’s going to blow up in his face, but he genuinely doesn’t know Amy will be upset. Most satisfying is her reaction, as she tells her husband that she doesn’t want to sacrifice her individuality for the relationship.
Interestingly for those on Leonard/Penny divorce watch, they don’t get a full storyline this week but they still manage to fit in some quality bickering. Just business as usual or a sign of things to come? Time will tell.
The Planetarium Collision felt like another wrap-up episode of the show, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the last significant storyline between Raj and Howard that we get. Something about their exchange felt like taking stock of The Big Bang Theory’s most enduring partnership, and I’m glad their bond got its time in the spotlight.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The Tam Turbulance, here.