The Big Bang Theory Recap: S9; E20 The Big Bear Precipitation

Rather than opening with the traditional scene of everyone sitting around eating or playing video games, this episode opens with a shot of a wooded area with Sheldon providing a voice over about how nice it is to get out of Pasadena and back to nature. Clearly this episode is set in an alternate universe. Of course, it isn’t and Sheldon is revealed to be wearing a virtual reality headset. Leonard and Penny quietly enter the apartment and as Sheldon reaches out to touch a virtual butterfly, Leonard leans into his hand, allowing Sheldon to brush his cheek and jump at the sudden contact, a truly wonderful visual gag. After Sheldon pulls of his goggles, he reveals he is also using a pine scented car freshener to add to the experience. Sheldon also explains he was trying to get away to the wilderness because a study Amy showed him indicates that people who spent time in nature and away from electronics increase their cognitive ability. Sheldon, of course, wants to take advantage of the research without any of the inconvenience.

Coming back from the opening sequence, Amy surprises Sheldon by putting a cup of tea down next to him while he was virtually sitting on a log. When she asks why they don’t just rent a cabin, Sheldon wonders when she even arrived. Penny mentions that a doctor keeps offering to loan her a cabin in Big Bear, which Leonard takes to mean the doctor is hitting on Penny. Although Penny points out that it is a female doctor, she also indicates that the doctor is, in fact, hitting on Penny. When Amy suggests that it would be fun to go to the cabin, Sheldon presents her with a dictionary and instructions to look up the word “fun.” He then rattles off reasons for not going into the woods, although by now it is clear that Amy will prevail and the two couples will find themselves trapped in a cabin in the woods with a madman. Although since Sheldon is the madman, that really isn’t very different from being anywhere else with him.

At Casa Wolowitz, Howard is playing video games (not the opening scene, but they still worked it in), when Bernadette enters with Raj carrying her groceries. He doesn’t want Bernadette carrying anything except for Howard’s baby. It being Raj, however, he quickly goes overboard in his concern for Bernadette’s well-being, sending her a list of the top five lactation specialists in Los Angeles.

Leonard is busy packing for his trip and Penny is surprised to see he is wearing a baseball cap (a baseball cap is a standard piece of clothing used for promotion, the idea that Leonard picked one up at Comic Con or a similar venue shouldn’t be surprising). When she asks which team, Leonard explains Hufflepuff, specifying from Harry Potter (as opposed to the Houston Hufflepuffs or the Huntington Beach Hufflepuffs, I presume). Penny is disgusted, although, of course, Harry Potter fandom is mainstream. Leonard is nothing compared to Sheldon, who comes out with a hat with bee netting.

In Bernadette’s kitchen, she cringes as she watches child birth videos on an iPad, all sent to her by Raj. As Howard and Bernadette discuss Raj’s involvement in their pregnancy, Howard opens a box containing an ultrasonic microphone so they can hear the baby’s heartbeat. When Howard takes it out, Bernadette explains that Raj bought it and made her promise not to use it until he was present. When Howard comments that he’s surprised that Raj allowed them to conceive without him, Bernadette nonchalantly points out that Howard shouldn’t bring that up with Raj since it is a sore spot.

The two couples are driving through a wooded road on the way to the cabin, even passing a video rental store, which Leonard takes as a sign of being far from civilization (in fact the closest video rental store to the their apartment is less than four miles away). For Sheldon the sign that they are leaving civilization is the lack of reception on his cell phone. Sheldon claims he’s never been off the grid before.

As Raj pulls up to the Wolowitzes, they are preparing to confront him about his involvement in the pregnancy, which can be expected to go about as well as their confrontation with Stuart last season in episode 24, “The Commitment Determination.” Howard is concerned that Raj might be going a little over the top. Sure enough, Raj enters with a humorously large teddy bear and Bernadette realizes that Howard had been watching Raj struggle with the bear on his way into the house.

Cabins in remote wooded areas, of course, are always done up extremely nicely with expensive furnishings, and Penny’s doctor friend’s cabin is no different. In return for borrowing the cabin, Penny has to go to an Indigo Girls concert with the doctor. Sheldon is concerned that on the walk from the car he may have become the nesting ground for ticks, but Amy pooh poohs the idea until she realizes that tick infestation is a way of getting Sheldon out of his pants.

The other thing that happens on trips to the woods is rain, and they are caught in a downpour (why Sheldon didn’t inform them of the weather report before they left is a mystery left up to the imagination of the viewer). Penny suggests going for a walk in the rain, but Leonard counters with having to deal with a wet and soggy Sheldon. The doctor’s board games are missing most of their pieces. They consider lighting a fire and while Sheldon and Leonard discuss the science behind lighting a fire, Penny turns on the gas and ignites the fire (there should have been at least a little “woosh” noise, but that would have superseded the visual gag).

As Howard and Bernadette discuss their issues with Raj, he has a hard time understanding that they are cutting him out of the pregnancy as he cuddles with the enormous bear. Once he realizes what they are saying, he wrestles the bear out of the house. For some reason, it was easier for him to bring the bear in than to leave with it.

Penny suggests a drinking game, “Never Have I Ever.” One of those inconvenient traits the writers have given Sheldon is that he doesn’t drink. Lately, it seems that the writers have decided that Sheldon’s dislike of alcohol shouldn’t matter. He got drunk earlier this season in episode 16, “The Positive Negative Reaction” and in this episode Sheldon is shown calmly drinking wine with Amy, Leonard, and Penny. He also seems to be able to hold his alcohol in this episode better than in previous episodes in which he has taken a small drink of alcohol. Sheldon surprises everyone by drinking to show that he had been arrested.

Howard and Bernadette have to deal with the guilt of asking Raj to back off. When Bernadette breaks into tears, Howard asks if it is because of the pregnancy hormones or if she’s actually sad. Doing her best Laura Petrie cry, Bernadette explains that she can’t tell anymore. Howard goes to get Raj and Bernadette asks him to bring back the bear.

Leonard realizes he can get Penny in trouble, revealing that Penny has used Sheldon’s toothbrush to clean the sink. Of course, that is a double edged sword and Penny can turn the tables by revealing that Leonard named his genitals. Unfortunately, their nastiness causes Sheldon to reveal that Leonard has a secret bank account because he is concerned about the way Penny spends money. Of course, this leads to an argument.

Raj and Howard have a good air clearing, while Bernadette is hidden inside the bear. To ratify their friendship, they decide to listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Unfortunately, it gets weird when Raj offers to squirt the ultrasound jelly on Bernadette’s stomach.

In the cabin, Leonard and Penny have moved to their room to continue their argument about money and responsibility. Leonard is apologetic and admits to having more than $6,000 in the savings account. When Penny asks him if he knows what she could do with that money, he explains that he does, which is why the account was secret. Penny tells him that she hates her job despite being good at it. She doesn’t like flirting with doctors for sales. Leonard is ready to support her in any decision and she decides she’s going to keep her job. Leonard comments “Never have I ever made love in a forest while it was raining,” but rather than being the seductive line he thought it was, it sends Penny into the other room for a drink.

On the couch, Howard applies the microphone to Bernadette’s stomach. When he doesn’t find the heartbeat immediately, Howard reminds Raj of the money that he found on the beach with a metal detector, and Raj admits to burying it there so they could go home. Suddenly, Howard finds the flutter of the baby’s heart.

Back in the cabin, Amy and Sheldon continue the game, focusing on their cautious nature and discovering all the things they’ve never done in common. Eventually, Sheldon is shocked when Amy does drink for one of his suggestions.

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