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Worldly Distractions: The Big Bang Theory 8.12 - The Space Probe Disintegration


crazyforkate

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Welcome back to the Big Bang from our Christmas hiatus! I don't know about you, but I'm ready to start a new chapter with this show. Season 8 has been pretty fun so far - but where will it lead?

Sheldon and Leonard play Lord of the Rings Risk, the notorious friendship-ender. Unfortunately, this means cancelling a double date with Amy and Penny, who are not pleased with this development. Sheldon begs them to play, but Leonard gives them the opportunity to decide what to do. They charitably decide to go for something the guys will hate. Horseback riding and a crafts museum are rejected. Ice skating comes up. Amy makes some inappropriate jokes about it. Opening credits.

Howard and Bernadette find Raj in a state. The Horizon Space Probe is about to send its first signal, and he's flipping out because they've heard nothing yet. At the apartment, Penny and Amy continue to argue about their day's activity. Sheldon suggests they simplify. He thinks they should go on a shopping trip, so the guys can be miserable. One very twisted point to Sheldon.

Howard has nothing to offer Raj but humblebrag space anecdotes, while Bernadette puts up some dubious meds. The couple suggest that he do something productive to take his mind off things. He begins making up silly superstitions, then disbelieving them.

At the mall, the ladies shop while Sheldon stares uncomfortably at lingerie. Leonard is dismayed that there's no cell service. Sheldon thinks of other things to do -  but can't Google them without reception. Son of a biscuit, indeed.

They wind up playing Invisible Risk, which is exactly what it sounds like and tends to be heavily rigged. Sheldon is surprisingly grown-up this episode, speaking of compromise and fairness. This stuns Leonard, especially since he learns that Sheldon has been compromising for him all these years. Also, Sheldon has learned to drive, but he's still scared of it.

While driving around, Raj asks Howard if they can go to temple. Howard is baffled that Raj wants to convert to Judaism, until Raj clarifies that he means a Hindu temple. Still, he remarks that it seems strange for a scientist to suddenly get religion. It turns out that Raj has actually been religious this whole time. Howard is stunned. Yeah, this is a weird new development. Let's see where it takes us.

While trying on clothes, Penny asks Amy if she's too pushy as a friend. Amy explains that her purpose in life is to be a doormat to any friends who will have her. Penny tells her that they will do anything she wants that night. Amy, of course, picks basket weaving at the crafts museum.

Meanwhile, Sheldon is still recounting Leonard's roommate sins. Of course, Leonard can counter with a few of his own. The chief problem is that he can't live with Penny. Sheldon is surprised to hear this, despite the last few seasons having happened. Furthermore, he believes that his friends are quite mean to him. Fair point. He says that if Leonard wants to live with Penny, then that is fine. He begins to cry at the thought. After a moment, so is Leonard. That's a tug at the old heartstrings. Penny and Amy interrupt this, and are dismayed to see them so upset. Penny says that they won't do anything until he's ready. They decide that Leonard will move out, but gradually. Very gradually.

Raj and Howard show up to a Hindu temple, where Raj explains everything for his friend's benefit (and that of most of the viewers, I presume). Raj waxes eloquent about the peace his faith brings him - which he maintains beautifully until someone dings his car. He flips out at the offender, listing all of his terrible problems, until he gets a text letting him know that the probe is safe. Instant turnaround.

The two couples partake in basket weaving, and find that it's surprisingly fun. Much to Penny's horror.

In the closing scene, Penny and Leonard prepare for their first sleepover. However, Sheldon is still quite close - on the couch in the living room, in fact. End credits.

It was quiet and not particularly remarkable, but I do think that this episode has its standout moments. First of all, giving Raj this new dimension was a really smart move. For ages, he's been the wimpy effeminate guy who can't deal with women. For that matter, I liked seeing spirituality addressed, other than Howard's almost-entirely cultural Judaism and Sheldon's fundie mother. It was down-to-earth, it felt real, and it seemed quite in chracter for Raj. And it had the benefit of giving us a great moment between him and Howard. Now let's just hope they don't run that trait into the damned grave. The couples story was mostly silly (with a few jokes that landed, for sure), but it did allow for some great character-building for Sheldon and, surprisingly, Penny, who seems to be becoming much more self-aware. Ultimately, this episode was about the people in it, and showed them to great effect. It was a great way to return after a break. Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a physicist on my couch.

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    • thoughtful

      Posted (edited)

      On 5/18/2024 at 7:42 PM, SisterCupcake said:

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      Screenshot 2024-05-18 at 7.41.03 PM.png

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      Quote

      to conduct (oneself) usually satisfactorily especially under stress

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      8qtcn5.jpg.2580608793d42ad9f04a942d691a8f42.jpg


       

       

      Edited by thoughtful
      riffle


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