overnights

The Big Bang Theory Recap: Marital Mathematics

The Big Bang Theory

The Planetarium Collision
Season 12 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating *****

The Big Bang Theory

The Planetarium Collision
Season 12 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Michael Yarish/Warner Bros.

Professor Proton returns!

It’s in Sheldon’s dream, of course, since Mr. Cooper’s beloved childhood hero is dead. But Bob Newhart’s charming wisecracker is still floating around in Sheldon’s very special psyche, from whence he occasionally pops in to offer words of wisdom.

For this reunion, Sheldon’s “favorite ghost” is sitting in a delicatessen in Dagobah — wearing his Jedi robes and outlined in a glowing light — after Sheldon makes a colossal mistake that impacts his personal and professional relationships with Amy.

Now that the honeymoon is literally over for the Coopers, it’s also figuratively over when Amy’s busy research roster makes it impossible for her to be as available as Sheldon would like her to be for them to work on their joint super-asymmetry project. But when Amy shares that excuse with her hubby, he takes it upon himself to help open up her schedule. That means a chat with Caltech president Siebert (guest star Joshua Malina), who agrees to let Amy take a sabbatical from her own neuroscience projects so she can concentrate on the physics paper with Sheldon.

The problem: Not only did Amy not want to take a break from her work, but she certainly didn’t want her husband to talk to their boss about rearranging her assignments. So when she walks into her lab one morning and finds another scientist trying to read her research notes — and then finds out Sheldon is the one who facilitated the move — well, that’s why Sheldon’s in need of Professor Proton’s advice.

In Sheldon’s defense, he did have good intentions. He’s excited to work with his wife. Also, as arrogant as he can be, the fact that he’s willing and excited to collaborate with anyone is a big sign of respect from him. All good stuff for the marrieds.

It has to be noted, though, that defending him isn’t altogether easy in this situation, especially since, during Shamy’s joint meeting with Siebert after Amy finds out about Sheldon’s interference, he tries to score points with his wife by telling Siebert not to mansplain to her, then proceeds to mansplain to her what mansplaining is.

Fortunately, as per Professor Proton’s advice, Sheldon learns marriage rule number one: Never go to bed with anger between you and your spouse. So he wakes Amy up — she’s got two things to be upset about now — to work out the issue.

She tells him the real root of her anger (as if the fact that he tried to manipulate her career wasn’t enough): As much as she loves working with him, she’s also determined not to lose her own identity, her own work and interests, to their joint life. She’s worried that “the things that are mine are getting subsumed into the things that are ours,” she tells him, which, happily, he understands.

He’s also very happy about her use of the word “subsume.” “That’s one you don’t hear enough,” he says.

The downside of the maturing, evolving Sheldon is that Professor Proton’s advice is short and sweet, and we get to spend too little time with him. Here’s hoping we get another chance to see Professor Proton and Newhart — whose comic timing is as perfectly tuned as ever — again during this final season of TBBT.

Elsewhere, you’d think Raj would be all about the wedding planning now that he and Anu are rushing into marriage, but she’s completely MIA this week. Instead, there’s another round of bromance with Howard, whom Raj doesn’t want to include in his Griffith Observatory planetarium show, because he fears Howard will steal his thunder. Howard’s feelings are hurt. Raj gives in and invites him to don his astronaut uniform and be a part of the presentation, which turns into a love-fest where Raj tells Howard he’s proud of him and they embrace, while Leonard cries in the audience and Penny and Bernadette roll their eyes at all the male emoting.

Theor-ems:

• Sheldon: “I’ve upset my wife, and I don’t know how to make it right.”

Professor Proton: “And you’re coming to me for advice? I upset my wife every time I woke up in the morning!”

• Professor Proton: “Rule number one in a marriage: Don’t go to bed angry. Rule number two in a marriage: if you don’t recognize the shoes under your bed, they’re not your shoes.”

• Howard: “You don’t want to talk about the stars next to an actual astronaut. That would be like doing karaoke with a rock star.”

Raj: “First of all, I’ve totally done karaoke with a rock star. Or are you forgetting when the Spin Doctors handed me the mic at the Orange County Fair?”

• Sheldon: “I know what you’re thinking: They’re newlyweds, how are they going to keep their hands off each other? Let me assure you, we will not engage in workplace coitus. I mean, if I won’t put a bagel on my desk, I’m certainly not putting Amy’s bare bottom.”

• President Siebert: “I must say, I do not enjoy our talks.”

The Big Bang Theory Recap: Marital Mathematics