The Big Bang Theory Recap: It Was Just a Dream

The Big Bang Theory

The Separation Oscillation
Season 9 Episode 2
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
The Separation Oscillation

The Big Bang Theory

The Separation Oscillation
Season 9 Episode 2
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Sheldon films a special episode of Fun With Flags after his breakup with Amy. Photo: Michael Yarish/CBS

Full-on kiss. Open mouths, arms around each other, Penny’s leg wrapped around Sheldon’s hip.

Aaaaaand it was just a dream.

Phew! Because while it’s fun to shake things up on any show that’s in its ninth season, there’s shake-up and then there’s shark-jumped. Even the imbibing of copious amounts of alcohol wouldn’t have prevented that story line, in a non-dream version, from hitting waterskiing Fonzie territory.

Wisely, this was just a product of the guilty mind of a slumbering Leonard Hofstadter, fretting that new wife Penny will decide — with help from Sheldon — that the only amends for him having kissed another woman will be for her to engage in some “hard-core mouth-on-mouth action,” as Dream Sheldon put it, with another man.

Upon waking, Leonard is relieved that it was just a dream, but he’s still got a mess on his hands: He and the Mrs. aren’t living a married life yet, because of that drunken make-out he and co-worker Mandy Chow engaged in. Sheldon (non-dream version) suggests he introduce Penny to Mandy so Penny can see there is nothing lingering between Leonard and his co-worker. Leonard nixes that, but after finding out how expensive therapy is — “If you don’t mind waiting for a Groupon, we can try marriage counseling,” he offers his bride — he decides to talk to Mandy.

Mandy suggests he told Penny about their boozy bussing in the first place because he was trying to sabotage his relationship, and that leads to a rambling, out-loud self-examination in which Leonard acknowledges she might be right, that he still, on some level, thinks he doesn’t deserve Penny, that his dysfunctional relationship with Sheldon includes a dream where he had a baby with Sheldon’s head on its body, and that all this ties back to the fact that his mother withheld her love from him.

“And your wife is worried about me?” Mandy asks.

That leads to an honest sit-down for the Hofstadters, with both admitting they fear the other will leave them for people with less-opposite personalities (“I don’t even understand why you’re with someone like me … why would I want to be with someone like me?” Leonard wonders) and that they’ve both been guilty of a little sabotage action.

“I’ve loved you since the moment we met, and I will keep loving you until the end of time,” Leonard says before getting down on one knee. “Penny Hofstadter, will you please stay married to me?”

And with that, they head off to the bedroom to make things “official.”

Still very much unresolved: Sheldon and Amy’s breakup. She wants space and time to think about their relationship, and instead of giving her that, he thinks the way back into her life — a reentry he is obviously desperate to make — is to maintain constant contact, no matter how annoying she finds that to be.

By usual human standards it’s obnoxious, of course, but it’s sort of charming by Sheldon standards. He wants to reunite with Amy and doesn’t understand that she has some very straightforward issues with him that he needs to address to make that happen. Then again, if he were more self-aware about the disrespectful ways he often treats her (and everyone else, for that matter), and was willing to make changes in those behaviors, the breakup wouldn’t have happened.

But he’s not, or is at least pretending not to be, so he’s going to keep contacting Amy, showing up at her door to return boxes of her possessions and frilly bras that obviously aren’t Amy-size in hopes of making her jealous, and producing episodes of his internet series, Fun With Flags, to remind her that he can resume his life just fine without her (except that he spends the whole episode proving he can’t, using the flags of Moldova and Romania to make metaphorical references to the breakup and comparing her genitalia to Czechoslovakia).

As Amy points out, “I’ve seen and talked to you more in the two days since we’ve been broken up than the last two months that we were together,” but she’s not happy about finally getting all the attention she craves from him. She shows up at his door to tell him so after she sees the latest installment of Fun With Flags.

“She watched it, I’m gonna get that girl back,” he says.

Amy, on the other side of the closed door: “I only watched it because you emailed it to me with the subject line, ‘This is going to make you mad.’”

Sheldon, almost skipping off to his room: “She was listening through the door. She wants me.”

If a reunion is in the works, it’s going to be a slow process. I’m betting at least four to six episodes before Sheldon’s Meemaw’s ring makes a reappearance.


  • When Amy complains she doesn’t want to continue working with Sheldon on “the precocious little internet show known as Fun With Flags,” Sheldon points out Sonny Bono and Cher continued to collaborate after they broke up. And he was right about Sonny and Cher, post-split. They divorced in June 1975, and their second joint variety series  — The Sonny and Cher Show — premiered in 1976 and ran for two seasons. Cher was even remarried, to Gregg Allman, and pregnant with Allman’s son Elijah during the run of the show, and the ex-spouses even referenced the divorce many times.
  • Sheldon, explaining during Fun With Flags why he’s holding a remote control now that camera operator and co-host Amy is MIA: “The show must go on, and thankfully, all the things my girlfriend used to do can be taken care of with my right hand.” The title of this Fun With Flags installment, by the way: “Flags of Countries That Have Been Torn Apart, and the Women I Have a Feeling Were Responsible.”
  • Raj is upset with Howard for keeping the secret of Leonard’s dalliance with Mandy Chow, and nags him about why he didn’t share it with him. “You think it’s hard having one wife?” Howard asks Leonard. “Try having two.” The Raj-Howard relationship is always good for a chuckle, but now that the Leonard/Penny hubbub has been settled, how ‘bout throwing some actual story line ol’ Raj’s way, hmmm, TBBT writers?
  • There was something very familiar about Mandy Chow … oh, yeah, she’s kind of the scientist version of Penny. She’s funny, irreverent, perhaps not the most discriminating with some of her romantic choices (she didn’t remember whether or not she and Leonard had sex on the boat), and she has limited patience for Leonard’s self-indulgent relationship examination on her time. Yeah, she’s Scientist Penny, and though her appearance was brief, it was memorable … maybe she can return as a new romantic interest for Raj once he inevitably determines current girlfriend Emily is just too damn creepy (and possibly homicidal) to continue seeing. (Bam, you’re welcome, TBBT writers.)
  • Mandy Chow, after Leonard tells her he just got married: “Oh, congratulations! To Sheldon?” Leonard: “Ha, that never gets old.”
  • A minor subplot had Bernadette peeved at Howard for telling her about Leonard and Mandy Chow, because it’s a secret she had to keep from pal Penny for the last two years. There was potential, but no actual, payoff in that, so either it was completely wasted or there’s a bit of friendship trouble down the road for Bernie and Mrs. Hofstadter.
  • Howard purchased a limited-edition George Clooney Manscaping Kit, at such a hefty price that he does not want Bernadette to see this month’s credit-card statement. It’s amusing, especially if you’ve seen that oft-printed photo of a middle-school George Clooney, where he looks like what you might expect a middle school Howard Wolowitz would have (and still sorta does) look like.

The Big Bang Theory Recap: It Was Just a Dream