The Big Bang Theory Recap: S8 E24 The Commitment Determination

Breaking tradition, this season doesn’t end with a cliffhanger. Or not exactly.

The season finale looks at the four major male characters’ relationships and their commitments.

bb1Amy is celebrating the fifth anniversary of her first date with Sheldon, and even manages to get a kiss from him before she discovers that he’s busy pondering whether or no he should start watching The Flash. When Amy asks if he is thinking about her at all, Sheldon admits that he is, although his thoughts of her are mostly with regard to consulting on the Flash-watching decision, which leaves Amy somewhat non-plussed. It quickly becomes clear that Sheldon is wrestling with a commitment issue since he needs to fully commit to the idea of watching an open-run television series. His condition means (and he realizes this) that even if the show goes through bad periods, he won’t stop watching until the network pulls the plug. Unfortunately, The Flash isn’t the commitment Amy is looking for him to explore. Amy tries to get him to see the irony, which he admits isn’t his strong suit and he invites her to try sarcasm, which he also completely misses.

bb2Raj and Emily are hanging out at the Comic Book Store, although Stuart asks them to hurry up so he can join Howard and Bernadette for dinner, although he wasn’t exactly invited. Amy brings over a horror bust and asks Raj what he thinks about the idea of her turning it into a table lamp. The writers have clearly decided that Emily should really embrace her dark side and be comfortable with it. Unfortunately, Raj is not comfortable with Emily’s dark side and when Emily asks if she’s freaking him out, he explains that he’s more a Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel type of person than the macabre. When Emily considers putting it back so she doesn’t creep out Raj, he offers to buy it for her so she won’t have to sublimate her own personality to make him feel more comfortable. Stuart overhears and immediately announces the sale as complete, along with his new no return policy.

Leonard and Penny are returning from a very intense excursion to the farmers’ market, having learned the important (and in hindsight, obvious) bb4lesson to visit the petting zoo before they buy their groceries. The bag Leonard is carrying shows signs of vicious animal attack, leaving their vegetables exposed for all the world to see. Upon entering the apartment, Sheldon asks for assistance from them regarding his relationship difficulties with Amy and he doesn’t know why. Penny offers that if Sheldon was talking, that probably had a lot to do with it. Sheldon helpfully (?) clarifies, explaining about his Flash conundrum and the timing of his question. Penny tries to get him to understand what the problem was, but eventually gives up, turning the discussion over to Leonard, who approaches it with an understanding of Sheldon’s issues, raising the issues of time commitment for a television show to Penny’s utter amazement and disgust.

While Stuart couldn’t get an invitation to Bernadette and Howard’s, Raj has no problem and as he’s setting their table for dinner, he mentions that Emily has something of a twisted side. Bernadette assumes it has something to do bb5with her weird tattoos, but apparently since the incident at the comic book store, Emily has suggested that they have sex in a graveyard, which was her suggestion of how to spend the evening after learning that Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron was sold out. Howard wants to know if she’s thinking a random grave or someone specific, which doesn’t seem to be the big issue for Raj. Bernadette points out that everyone has their own thing and there’s no problem as long as it is two consenting adults. Raj explains that this would be one consenting adult and one who only consents because of his fear of living his life alone. Raj begins to think he should break up with Emily, but Howard points out that Raj won’t break up with Emily since they are having sex (and, of course, all nerds only think with their genitalia). Bernadette comes to Raj’s defense, but admits she was just joking about the idea of Raj breaking up with Emily. Raj reposts with the argument that they haven’t gotten rid of Stuart despite complaining about having him live with them, setting in motion Howard’s commitment issue for the episode.

bb6A full day after their anniversary-gone-awry, Amy still hasn’t realized that she was wrong and is apparently not speaking to Sheldon, who is dining with Leonard and Penny. Sheldon is amazed that Penny thinks he’s gone to slowly in his relationship with Amy and reminds her that Penny and Leonard still haven’t set a date for their wedding, the same bugaboo Beverly brought up in the previous week’s episode. His casual acceptance of their lack of a date for the wedding makes Leonard and Penny wonder why they haven’t picked a date. The reasoning is that they are busy with work, they aren’t in a rush, and things are going really well for them. It isn’t just the date, they haven’t discussed any specifics of the wedding, which leads to a hurried discussion of what type of wedding they each want and quick agreement on the important things, although a date is still not within sight.

At Casa Wolowitz, Bernadette notices that her yogurt is gone, but Howard bb7denies having eaten it. The only other culprit would be Stuart. Bernadette begins thinking that Raj was right, but there has always been an excuse not to throw him out, his store re-opening, the holidays, Stuart’s illness, which may have just been his normal sallow appearance. In the end, they agree to have Bernadette throw him out, although Bernadette would like to see Howard help out with that.

In the graveyard, Emily and Raj are sharing a bottle of wine and Raj is attempting not to freak out, not helped by his realization that they are next to the grave of a woman who died when she was his age. Emily is completely into the setting and the idea that it might scare Raj, although Raj tells her he’s not afraid of no ghosts, although he is a little afraid of Emily.

Sheldon continues to pick at the scab that is the lack of a wedding date for Penny and Leonard, all the time thinking that he is being helpful. Leonard bb8explains that since they are in love it doesn’t matter if they get married the next day, a year from now or fifty years from now, which raises the unfortunate image for Penny of her and Leonard being fifty years older. Rather than wait until she’s old, Penny points out that she’s free tonight with the suggestion that they could go to Vegas, being the first of the four to cement their commitment.

As Stuart pulls up, Howard tries to leave the room so Bernadette could throw him out. Stuart tells them he’ll be with them in a minute, but first he has to put Bernadette’s replacement yogurt in the fridge and also tells Howard that he got Howard’s favorite fruit, since it was in season: Crunchberries. When Stuart comes back, Bernadette broaches the subject of him leaving, a conversation which will be interspersed with scenes of Raj and Emily, who are in the cemetery making out what Raj repeats Bernadette’s comment, “We need to talk.” Stuart doesn’t give them a chance bb11to throw him out, but launches a charm offensive by showing his gratitude. Raj begins the breakup process with Emily, who realizes what he’s getting at right away, but refuses to make it easy for him. As Bernadette is about to drop the boom, Stuart’s phone rings, but he doesn’t want to interrupt their conversation just so his father could wish him a happy birthday. Emily asks Raj for honesty, but Raj can’t break up and declares his love. Back at Casa Wolowitz, Bernadette and Howard finish singing “Happy Birthday” to Stuart. And Raj and the Wolowitzes cement their commitments to Emily and Stuart, respectively.

On their drive to Las Vegas, Penny discovers that there is a Denny’s Restaurant with a Wedding Chapel in it (at 450 Fremont Street), but Leonard doesn’t think it sounds romantic. When Penny comments that they can get married with no surprises and no regrets, Leonard admits that he had a slight fling while on his North Sea research trip (between seasons 6 bb12and 7), although it only amounted to some drunken kissing. Despite Leonard’s concerns, Penny seems forgiving on his transgression, but wants to know what he’s telling her. In the end, they are still getting married, their commitment intact.

Which leaves Sheldon, who is still trying to figure out why Amy is upset with him and still trying to decide if he can make a commitment to The Flash. Sheldon winds up initiating a call to Amy, but she cuts him off because she’s tired of the physical and emotional challenge of being his girlfriend. Rather than confirming their commitment, Amy informs him she needs her space to re-evaluate their situation. She signs off. Sheldon looks at the Gollum figurine next to his computer and shows him the engagement ring that he has and no longer knows what to do with.

Over the last few seasons, the show has gotten pretty good at ending each bb14season with a cliffhanger or a story line which allows action to continue behind the scenes during their summer hiatus…Leonard on his North Sea expedition referred to earlier in this episode, Sheldon on his rail road walkabout, or Howard’s mission to the ISS. While this year’s ending gives a good chance for Amy to figure out whether she wants a Sheldonless life, it means that the viewer won’t get to see Sheldon’s response to her rejection in real time. Similarly, Leonard and Penny are left on their way to Las Vegas to get married, which doesn’t leave a lot of leeway for a hiatus. Of course, it is possible (and, perhaps, probable) that this summer’s hiatus won’t figure into the show and the first episode of the new season will pick up where this season left off, with four of the five major characters, seemingly, in committed relationships and Sheldon finding himself feeling left out, alone, and perhaps, like a real live boy.

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