The BIg Bang Theory Recap: Season 8, Episode 12: The Space Probe Disintegration

bb8Penny and Amy enter the apartment ready to go out with Leonard and Sheldon only to learn that Sheldon has already ordered lunch in so they could enjoy a rousing game of Risk, the Lord of the Rings edition (and yes, the board in front of Sheldon matches the game board). Amy points out that they agreed to play games tonight and it is only lunchtime, and Sheldon explains that Risk can easily take eight hours, so they could still be playing in the evening. Amy and Penny express dismay (good thing Sheldon didn’t suggest Diplomacy), and when Penny asks Leonard if he told Sheldon that she wouldn’t want to play Risk during the day, he admits that he told Sheldon, but not using words. When Leonard asks the girls to try it, Penny complains that they always do what the boys want. After a brief discussion, they decide to do what Amy and Penny want. Penny and Amy discuss various things they want to do and can’t come to an agreement until Sheldon begins describing things that he and Leonard would hate.

bb3Meanwhile, Raj is pacing in Howard’s apartment. The New Horizons probe to Pluto is scheduled to come back on-line and he is concerned that it won’t turn itself on properly. Apparently, Raj was part of the launch team in 2006 but is no longer on the team, so isn’t at JPL to be there when the signal comes in. The episode would seem to have been delayed in airing since the New Horizons probe actually came out of hibernation mode successfully on December 6, 2014 in preparation for its July flyby of the planet. Bernadette and Howard try to understand his concerns and help him alleviate them.

Still in the apartment, having shot down Penny suggestion of horseback riding (Amy’s legs don’t open wide enough), Amy’s suggestion of a craft store (Penny finds it boring), and Sheldon suggestion of ice skating (which would bring on Leonard’s asthma, trigger his fear of Zambonis, but Amy has brittle ankles), Amy now suggests the orchestra. When Penny asks why they can’t find something they both want to do, Amy asserts herself, pointing out that just as Sheldon and Leonard always choose the activities for the group, Penny always chooses the activities for the women and Amy just goes along with it. Sheldon boils it down to the basics and suggests they go clothes shopping.

Two hours until the New Horizons signal is reached and Howard compares Raj’s waiting to his own experience waiting to land on Earth coming home from the International Space Station. Raj interrupts him asking if he is talking about patience of just reminding Raj that Howard has been in space. Howard points out that a story can do more than one thing. As the two talk, the camera keeps cutting to Bernadette who flashes wonderfully bemused looks at her husband and his friend. When Howard asks Bernadette if she has any drugs to give Raj for his anxiety, she explains all she has is a urine flow drug that will cause him to fly around the room like he has a jet pack when he pees. As a note, the back of the magazine Bernadette is reading (Celeb Scene Weekly) has an ad for Cola and Diet Cola, which exhorts us to experience the Great Cola Taste. Raj decides to be proactive by throwing an empty water bottle (too bad there wasn’t a Cola or Diet Cola bottle) into a trash can. If Raj, whose lack of athletic ability rivals Howard’s makes the shot, it will be the universe’s way of telling him the probe is safe. He makes the shot and then explains that scientifically it doesn’t count until he makes two out of three.

bb7Sheldon and Leonard are sitting in a store with purses on their laps, Sheldon being very uncomfortable, not just by sitting with the purse, but because he’s facing the lingerie section. Penny and Amy walk by with clothing to try on and tell them they will be a while. (As another side note, comedian Alonzo Bodden has a wonderful stand-up routine about holding a woman’s purse and sitting in a chair while shopping.) To make matters worse, Leonard realizes that there is no cell service or wifi where they are sitting. Without service, Sheldon can’t even lodge a complaint with their corporate office.

Stymied in his attempt to play Lord of the Rings Risk at the apartment, Sheldon convinces Leonard to play the game in the store, amazed that Leonard is constantly beating his rolls on the imaginary dice, noting he wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t seen it. Sheldon comments about how he has learned to compromise because he has to do it all the time because of living with Leonard, a fact that Leonard disputes. Sheldon’s definition of compromise, of course, is very strange and self-centered. Leonard responds that a compromise is more along the lines of him agreeing to drive Sheldon everywhere (which isn’t really a compromise, so much as knuckling under to Sheldon) and Sheldon admits that Amy has taught him to drive (apparently more successfully that Leonard, Howard, Raj, and Penny did in “The Euclid Alternative”, Season 2, episode 5). However, he still finds it scary and confuses the pedals, which he doesn’t see as an issue despite his vastly superior intelligence. And, of course, he compromises by not driving in order to give Leonard’s life purpose, such as driving Sheldon to work.

bb16And there is a cut to Raj driving, with Howard in the passenger seat. Howard is surprised when Raj explains that he is going to temple. Howard recommends against converting to Judaism despite how cool he makes it look since it isn’t all briskets and dreidels. Raj clarifies that he meant a Hindu temple, and Howard immediately asks for reassurance that it won’t be like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Raj points out how racist the film is, but Howard replies that Raj loves the movie. Raj agrees, saying “It’s pretty great.” (It isn’t. It’s the third or fourth worst Indiana Jones film). Howard asks why he has suddenly found religion since he hasn’t gone to temple in ten years and is constantly eating beef. Raj correctly points out that religion is a very personal thing and claims that he does go to temple, he just doesn’t talk about it. Raj also argues that science and religion are not mutually exclusive and Howard explains that he knows about Hinduism not only from Indiana Jones, but also Apu from the Simpsons. Clearly, Raj should be sharing more of his culture with his best friend.

bb14In the changing rooms, Penny asks Amy if it is true that she forces Amy to do things. Amy tells her it is, but its okay since she always promised herself that if she ever had friends she would do whatever they told her to, realizing it is better that she found Penny than a cult. Of course, the better answer would be that Penny helps force Amy to try new experiences, and unlike Sheldon, Amy can more easily grow from them. Note that on her first date with Sheldon she admitted that she had a deal with her mother that she would go on one date a year, a far cry from the current Amy who practically throws herself at Sheldon and gets a joyfully sheepish grin when she talks about her boyfriend. Feeling guilty, Penny announces that in the evening they will do whatever Amy wants, despite the previous promise to play games with Leonard and Sheldon. To Penny’s dismay, Amy announces they will go basket weaving at the craft museum on Wilshire (Yes, there is a Craft and Folk Art Museum on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, about 40 minutes from Penny’s apartment).

bb12Sheldon continues trying to come up with ways in which he compromises with Leonard. Leonard interrupts and points out that the only reason he doesn’t live with his fiancée is because of Sheldon and that the last time he even brought it up, Sheldon got on a train and ran away (The Status Qo Combustion, Season 7, episode 24). Sheldon points out that given his history, bringing it up probably isn’t the wisest thing to do. Sheldon tells Leonard that he is fully aware of the sarcastic comments and eye rolls that Leonard sends his way. In the spirit of compromise, Sheldon tells Leonard he should live with Penny, but he gets teary upon imaging a world without his best friend in it. Sheldon admits that he knows how difficult he can be and he thanks Leonard for putting up with him. Both boys are crying when Amy and Penny come in. When Leonard explains that they were talking living arrangements, a concerned Amy reminds Leonard that Sheldon is a flight risk. They decide that Leonard can move out gradually, and negotiate that Leonard can live at Penny’s one night a week.

bb11In the parking lot of the Hindu temple, Raj gives Howard some lessons in Hindu religion, demonstrating that he does know about his religion, and Kunal Nayyar seems to really be speaking from the heart when he gives the explanation rather than channeling it through his character. Howard asks Raj if Howard is dressed appropriately for going into the temple, indicating some level of respect for raj’s religion, quite different from his attitude when he first learned where Raj was taking him. As they get out of the car, the man in the car next to Raj dings his car with his door and Raj begins to go off on the man. In the middle of his tirade, Howard shows Raj that he received a text that New Horizons came back to life and all tension left him.

bb10At the craft museum, all four are enjoying themselves, although Sheldon insists that his basket is a sixteenth century Chinese soldier’s hat. Leonard rolls his eyes, which Sheldon, looking straight forward, claims to have seen.

In the kicker, Leonard and Penny are going to bed on their one night of the week when they live together. Unfortunately, their discussion is too loud for Sheldon, who is trying to fall asleep on their couch, indicating that the gradual moving in with Penny and weaning Sheldon off Leonard will be more gradual than any normal person would have considered.

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