Sheldon Cooper, science snob, jerk face.
That’s the Sheldon we get when he’s asked to collaborate on a work project by his Caltech colleague, Bert Kibbler. You remember Bert, the geologist who won a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in season ten, making Sheldon jealous? Despite that, and the fact that Sheldon is interested in Bert’s work and what he could contribute to it, Mr. Cooper still thinks geology, and therefore working with Bert, is beneath him.
He does it anyway, sneaking off to Bert’s office and making Bert close the blinds so no one will see them, until Sheldon insults him one too many times and Bert finally kicks his keister to the curb. In one small moment of justice for Bert, Sheldon goes crawling (triple-knocking, in this case) back to Bert’s office door, only to find that Bert has asked Leonard to replace Sheldon, and Leonard was only too happy to swoop into his former roommate’s spot. Later, Sheldon has fantasies about what he let slip away from him, which sparks a shot of a slow-motion Bert, wind blowing in his face, while Sheldon hears the Footloose soundtrack ballad “Almost Paradise” in his head. They may have wasted a good Brian Posehn guest appearance, but at least they got their money’s worth with whatever they paid for that ’80s-love-ballad gem, which is also used in Raj’s relationship adventure.
In a blast from the more recent past, Raj runs into Ruchi, Bernadette’s new co-worker, while he and Howard are at a bar watching a cricket match on TV. Though Ruchi shot Raj down earlier this season when she told him she was looking for nothing more than friendship with him, the two bond over their love of cricket, and set up a date that ends in sex and Raj spending the night at Ruchi’s home.
Ruchi is still all about keeping it casual, a relationship speed with which Raj has trouble. He tries, but we know he’s probably doomed when Penny suggests that he doesn’t call, text, or email Ruchi. “That’s crazy,” he says. “What if I see a sunset that reminds me of her?”
During a dinner date that night, Raj sees Ruchi in slow-motion, hair-blowing glory — complete with “Almost Paradise” playing in his head — while she’s telling him about drug-side-effect tests involving various aspects of pus. He’s really trying to maintain his cool, when an unexpected turn in the conversation helps him out. Ruchi doesn’t believe in soul mates, she reveals, and that’s a nugget of info that’s a huge buzzkill to romantic Raj. He believes deeply in love. Ruchi believes love is a mutual biochemical reaction that fades with time. Love, according to Raj, is what inspires music, poetry, and it’s “what has kept The Bachelor on TV for 21 magical seasons.”
Ruchi isn’t a citizen of Bachelor Nation, either, and that is just another bit of reality (pun intended) that has Raj changing his tune about her as a potential love match. He later laments her ‘tudes about love with Howie and Bernie, who both think he’s being silly. They say he’s got the perfect situation before him — sex without a commitment — and though he initially protests that’s not what he wants, they convince him to run out the door after it in the end.
Oh, by the way, did I mention the other obnoxious behavior from Sheldon? When he goes to Penny for advice about working with Bert, she wonders why he’s coming to her … because this is a science-related dilemma. He tells her it’s also about his reputation, which he thinks will be at risk if he’s found out to be slumming in the geology department.
“Somehow you managed to hold your head high, despite your checkered past,” he tells her. “It’s a figure of speech referring to how sexually promiscuous you were.”
“Really? Well, I’ve got a figure of speech about how sexually promiscuous you can go be with yourself,” Penny responds.
Good one, Penny! She doesn’t bother to tell Sheldon what that “figure of speech” is, because this is still network TV at 8 p.m., but damn, does this episode have some consistency issues. Penny is judged by Sheldon, one of her closest friends, for what he deems to be her sexually free past, but Howard and Bernadette encourage their friend Raj to continue a no-strings-attached sexual relationship with Ruchi. Does Ruchi also have a male friend who will later judge her role in that scenario?
• Sheldon, when Bert wonders why he has changed his mind about collaborating with him: “I’m a gift horse. Don’t look me in the mouth.”
• Howard, describing Bernadette on bed rest: “She lies around all day eating Mallomars and hollering at me, so her transformation from my wife to my mother is complete.” Sheldon: “Congratulations, I know that’s what you were hoping for.” It’s funny because Sheldon wasn’t being sarcastic.
• Raj to Penny, after she makes funny faces when he asserts that he can be casual about his budding relationship with Ruchi: “Why do you keep doing that with your face?” Penny: “Because you keep saying stupid things with yours.”
• “Yelp called it, ‘Good for groups’” — Raj, trying to prove to Ruchi that he was keeping it casual with his choice of restaurant for their date.