Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS
Lest we think newlyweds Sheldon and Amy are going to happily glide through the final season of The Big Bang Theory … their dream of a world-changing science discovery is dead.
In the moments leading up to their wedding ceremony in last season’s finale, the unevenness of Sheldon’s tie sparked a new theory by Shamy. They would call it “Super Asymmetry”, and while scribbling their first notes about the joint project with lipstick on a dressing room mirror, Sheldon and Amy felt their personal bond was even more cemented by this potential career collaboration.
They’ve been working on it for months, and they’re finally ready to share their paper. All they need is the help of trusted pals Leonard and Raj to track down hundreds of citations, and they’ll be good to publish. Except for one little glitch. Actually, two: a Russian scientist already published a paper on Super Asymmetry, in 1978. Also: his paper concluded the theory is “inherently flawed and does not bear the weight of further examination.”
Raj and Leonard find the buzzkill research, and when Google Translator fails to turn the Russian language document into words they can understand, they get Howard to do it. But once they understand what the document says, and what it’s going to mean to the Coopers, none of them is eager to be the messenger.
Who will be more devastated by this discovery? Amy, who has seen her haughty hubby’s willingness to hitch his scientific star to her wagon as the ultimate sign of respect? Or Sheldon, who was once so upset by a tiff he and Amy had before their relationship was even serious that he got himself a cat, and then quickly adopted two dozen playmates for the original kitty?
It proves to be a tossup, as Sheldon breaks a whiteboard in half and pours over the Russian scientist’s paper to see where he and Amy went wrong. Amy tries to put on a brave front for Sheldon’s sake, but when he complains she’s not equally crushed, she lets him know she is.
“Fine, I’m not okay!” Amy yells. “We came up with this idea at our wedding. We poured months of our lives into it. I thought we were changing the course of science, and now it’s all gone!”
The next day, the couple fails to show up to work, and to answer a concerned Leonard’s texts or phone calls. When Leonard and Penny check in on their friends, they find pajama-clad Shamy sitting on the couch, wallowing in their Super Asymmetry crash-and-burn. They can’t be cheered up by a Penny pep talk or Leonard’s offering of his take-out dinner.
And this is the cliffhanger state in which we leave the dejected duo: how will this first major challenge in their marriage impact their relationship, personal and professional? I’m here for a little shakeup, career-wise, for Shamy, but writers, please don’t mess with the solidity of the Fowler-Cooper union.
Elsewhere, in a plot that feels like a not-so-stealthy ad for Fortnite, Bernadette asks Denise, Stuart’s girlfriend, to teach her how to play the game so she can do a victory dance versus-ing Howard. Denise has the skills, but she can’t teach them to Bernie, who does a crash-and-burn of her own in the video-game battle.
Penny, who proved in season two’s “The Barbarian Sublimation” that she’s a gaming whiz, easily masters Fortnite, but advises Bernadette her best move is to one-up Howard another way: by reminding him she makes more money than he does.
Bernadette drops that very petty truth bomb after yet another loss to her husband.
Says Raj: “You’ve got yourself a good one there, buddy.”
• I didn’t realize how much I like Raj’s fiancé, Anu, until she wasn’t around this week. Now their Valentine’s Day wedding is what I’m most looking forward to in the rest of this season.
• Sheldon objects to Amy’s suggestion that they hire a grad student to track down their citations, especially if that grad student is a millennial. “They’ll put unicorn emojis on it and post it on social media,” he says.
• He also isn’t sure Leonard is totally trustworthy: “He’s always struck me as the guy in the plane crash who doesn’t wait until you’re all the way dead to eat you.”
• Howard’s Fortnite name is Fr00tL00ps511, a shout out to his favorite cereal, and the nickname he’s given by astronaut Mike Massimino.