This review contains spoilers.
9.9 The Platonic Permutation
We’re nearing the half-way point of The Big Bang Theory season nine, demonstrated by the Thanksgiving theme of this episode, and it’s about time for the writers to figure out what the heck they’re doing with Sheldon and Amy. Both characters are as big a part of the show as they ever were, and many episodes have been expressly about exploring the fallout from their breakup but, prior to The Platonic Permutation, we were seemingly no closer to a resolution.
As said, this has now changed, and we’ve witnessed an almost 360-degree turnaround on the dynamic between the two. They’re now friends, but Amy is the pursuer rather than the pursued. It appears as if something broke in Sheldon when he saw her with Stephen Merchant’s suitor two weeks ago, and he can now no longer foresee a future in which he puts his heart on the line in the same way ever again.
That’s pretty sad, but it’s also very interesting and very human. If nothing else, that’s what this storyline has brought to the show in season nine – Sheldon has become more human, and not just in fleeting moments cherry-picked for maximum effect. During his and Amy’s date, we could see why they’d make a good, albeit slightly strange, couple, and why Amy would reconsider her decision to end the relationship.
I’ll be annoyed if the blame is placed solely at Amy’s feet just because she’s had a realisation, because she was due a little wobble after putting up with Sheldon for half a decade, but if this shift is used more to add growth to both characters and bring the group back together in a more cohesive way, that can only be a positive thing.
The rest of the episode, as has often been the case this year, was weaker filler to make up the necessary 21-minutes, with Penny and Leonard preparing Thanksgiving dinner while rehashing old arguments and Howard wingeing about helping out at a soup kitchen with Bernadette, Raj and Emily.
It was nice to see Emily again even if, as ever, she didn’t do anything of note, and it’s always good to see a couple bicker on television without it being a big, dramatic issue, but the resolution to both storylines left something to be desired. Howard continues to be misused in general this year, providing lazy comedic relief to compensate for some of the more dramatic things The Big Bang Theory is attempting to do, and the lingerie-dress-up at the end felt like a joke straight out of a 90s sitcom.
But we’re getting some movement at least, as good as some of the material exploring the break-up has been. News of an impending milestone for the pair has taken a lot of the tension out of it (*shakes fist*), but at least the path to that destination is being visibly paved. Even better, it’s being done so in a really moving, emotionally honest way.
Read Caroline’s review of The Spock Resonance, here.