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Worldly Distractions: The Big Bang Theory 7.24 - The Status Quo Combustion





After last week's barn-burner of an episode, we come to the thrilling conclusion of Season 7. People in the know have been hinting at something big. Whatever happens, your faithful recapper is there. Let's go.

Everyone's gathered at the apartment. We learn that Howard's mom has worn out two nurses, and Raj has had sex with Emily. This gets a big audience reaction. Penny and Leonard also announce their engagement, which gets just as big a reaction from both  friends and audience (and in the case of the latter, I'm a little confused - we already heard this last week, guys!). However, the friends are clearly way happier about Raj, because his sexcapades happen way less frequently than Penny and Leonard's proposals. Opening credits.

Raj can't stopping about the sex he had, which is boring his friends to death. Sheldon appears, looking stricken. He won't be allowed to change his field to inflationary cosmology, as the university hired him to study string theory. In fact, Sheldon's so upset that he's thinking about the university altogether. His friends caution him not to be rash. Meanwhile, Howard's mom has driven off so many nurses that the agency has stopped sending them. They consider using their vacation time to become live-in, 24/7 caregivers, but Bernadette claims it's grounds for divorce. Time for a new plan.

Leonard calls his mom to tell her about the engagement, and it goes about as well as it could expect. For one thing, Sheldon has already spilled the beans ahead of time. However, Sheldon also vouched for Penny, so she has given her grudging approval. Leonard's opinion doesn't really come into it, of course. Penny also calls her mom, in one of those annoying conversations where the person you can hear repeats everything the other person says. Bernadette arrives, full of complaints about her mother-in-law, and they settle down with Amy for a girls' night. The conversation turns to Penny and Leonard's future living arrangements. When Bernadette hears that Penny's not currently working, she promptly hires her as Mrs Wolowitz's new caregiver, which lasts about two minutes.

Sheldon writes a letter to the university to protest their decision, but Leonard thinks it needs a little work, to say the least. He tries, not-so-subtly, to talk to Sheldon about their living arrangements. Sheldon suggests that Penny live with them, one day a week for a trial period, of course, and not when she's on her period. Leonard has a more permanent idea, minus Sheldon. Naturally, Sheldon doesn't understand this. When he realizes what's happening, he starts to panic, because change is Not Good. Leonard is aghast. Sheldon goes over Amy's to complain. She tries to comfort him by pointing out all of Leonard's flaws. This calms him a little, but he's still unsure. Amy suggests that they live together. Sheldon dismisses this rather rudely. He then goes into complete denial, saying that everything will stay the same forever.

Leonard and Penny enjoy a romantic dinner at home, where they discuss wedding plans. Amy comes in looking for Sheldon. No one's seen him, and they're a little worried, but decide that he probably needs "alone time" at the moment. Then Amy tries to crash their romantic evening. Gentle hints don't work, and they finally have to order her out. Looks like she and Sheldon truly are meant for each other.

Sheldon goes to the comic store looking for solace, only to find it completely ruined. Stuart explains that there was a fire, and so the store is temporarily - maybe permanently - out of business. Sheldon's world has come crashing down. He panics and tries to buy comics. Stuart humors him, but it can only go so far. Sheldon storms out, practically in tears.

Meanwhile, Leonard is starting to get worried about his friend, and tracks him via cell phone, because they're nerds and can do that. Finding that he's at the train station, Leonard decides that a rescue mission is in order. Over at the comic shop, Howard and Raj inspect the damage. Howard wonders if Stuart did it for the insurance money, to which Stuart gives a very suspicious answer. Raj offers to let Stuart bunk in at his place, though Emily will be there too. Howard once again tries to recruit Stuart as his mom's nurse.

Leonard and Penny track Sheldon down. He's about to get on a train and leave. Forever. He has no destination in mind, and none of his belongings, but he's going anyway. Leonard tries to persuade him to stay. Penny suggests that maybe they should let him go - it would be good for his independence. Though Leonard is worried, he agrees. They tell Sheldon they'll miss him and give him a fond farewell.

Stuart is thriving as Mrs Wolowitz's nurse, stunning Bernadette and Howard. In fact, he's calling her by her first name. The couple agree that it's "weird", but flee the scene anyway.

Amy and Leonard and Penny check in with Sheldon, who seems to be doing just fine. As soon as they hang up, Amy screams at Leonard and hits him with a pillow for letting Sheldon go. And to be fair - this scene's kind of painful to watch. When Sheldon left so abruptly, he never even said goodbye to his girlfriend - and Amy got totally screwed. On that sad note, we end the episode and the season.

All in all, I think this new direction is quite interesting, though I don't expect it to last more than a couple of episodes into the next season. A changed Sheldon would transform the show entirely, and with three seasons left, maybe change would be a good thing. Certainly this episode did shake up the status quo, as promised. It worked well, and I think fans are eagerly awaiting what comes next.

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