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Worldly Distractions: The Big Bang Theory 8.15 - The Comic Book Store Regeneration


crazyforkate

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Not only is there NATHAN FILLION, but I've heard hints this will be a special episode (okay, I've read the spoilers). Let's go ahead!

Sheldon tells a joke about Edison, centering around Edison's plagiaristic tendencies. Amy approves. Kripke comes in to thank - Amy, for helping him with a paper. This leaves Sheldon rather miffed. He questions Amy's loyalty and compares her to some kind of science prostitute, though she doesn't see what the big deal is. "Why are you laughing?" he demands. "Did you learn something? Opening credits.

Howard's mom has gone to visit Aunt Gladys in Florida, and loves it. Howard is, of course, annoyed that she seems to miss Stuart more than him. Bernadette assures him that things will be different once the comic book store re-opens. In the laundry room, Penny and Sheldon discuss Amy's sudden interest in string theory. This confuses Penny, who thinks Sheldon should let it go and make way for science. He dismisses this immediately. At this point, Penny gives up.

Leonard and Raj help Stuart set up the new comic book shop, though they're still not convinced he didn't burn it down to begin with. Howard and Stuart even reconcile, though this is short-lived once Howard spots his mother's den furniture in the store. He throws a tantrum, unforgivable things are said, and Howard is banned from the store. For some reason, the writers all feel like explaining the jokes this episode. Stop it, writers.

Over more laundry folding, Sheldon asks Penny how to let things go. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Frozen yet, but I'm sure it's coming. Penny suggests that he think of other things. Doesn't help. She tries visualization. Unfortunately, he takes it way too literally. Because he's really on a roll, Sheldon decides to ruin Amy's other friendships by letting slip that Amy's been testing her chimpanzee tricks on Penny for the past few months. When Penny inevitably squawks, Sheldon advises her to let it go.

While she rants about how insulting this all is, Sheldon tries to make things better by claiming he was rooting for her. Penny kicks him out. Meanwhile, Howard mopes about the stolen (actually borrowed) furniture. Bernadette tells him that it's a good thing, because it will help Stuart become financially independent more quickly. Leonard and Raj to pick up their lunch order, and who should they see but NATHAN FILLION. That's right, the Canadian space cowboy himself is sitting in a cafe picking tomatoes out of his salad. The guys are all aflutter and decide to go up to him. However, the guy at the table grumpily claims he's not an actor. Raj can't fathom what just happened, but Leonard quietly ushers him away.

Amy says hello to Penny in the building, but is met with snarky comments about monkeys. When Penny tells her what she learned, Sheldon locks himself away, even getting naked behind doors to keep them away. Amy claims it's no different from a study with undergrads. Why this doesn't mollify Penny, Amy doesn't understand in the slightest. Meanwhile, Leonard and Raj approach the guy again and get him to admit he's Nathan Fillion. He even graciously lets him take a picture, but Raj questions whether this is actually true. Maybe-Nathan-Fillion starts to get annoyed, so they snap the picture anyway just in case.

Penny complains to Leonard about the testing, to which Leonard quickly realizes he's been an unwilling subject, too. Furthermore, Leonard couldn't pass. When Sheldon and Amy arrive at the comic book store, a big fight ensues. Bernadette asks Stuart why he and Raj didn't tell Howard about the furniture. Howard takes a call, and then comes back looking stunned. The moment we've known was coming since Carol Ann Susi died has finally happened - Mrs Wolowitz has shuffled off her mortal coil. The moment is completely grave. Sheldon even says something nice about their undying friendship. This is nothing like anything we've seen on this show.

To be honest, I'm kind of surprised they went this route. Since Mrs W is a non-seen character, they could have kept her out forever (or brought her back with a different actress) with little fanfare. I'm kind of glad she's no longer on the show. It's really a great way to honour Carol Ann Susi and to acknowledge her contribution. And yeah, in terms of story it does shake things up a little bit.

Everyone gathers at Sheldon and Leonard's, except for Howard and Bernadette, who are on their way to Florida. Stuart is especially broken up. Raj, too, remembers her kindness to him, especially when he was new to America. Even Sheldon will miss her yelling.  They have a toast to Mrs Wolowitz, "a mother to all of us". And thus we end the episode.

Well. It's safe to say that was a wham. An appropriate tribute to the actress, for sure, but also a real moment of drama - something that is always an interesting thing for a comedy show to do. Often it works very well - think Marshall's dad's death on How I Met Your Mother. I assume the next episode will be about the funeral and other things (or maybe not, since a Jewish funeral would take place pretty much immediately). Those few moments at the end of the episode, though, were spectacularly pulled off, to the point of eclipsing the rest - yes, even NATHAN FILLION. Even with its short duration, it left an impact.

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