Sheldon gets an offer to go on an arctic expedition, and the whole gang is pretty excited about three months living free of Sheldon’s rules, until he invites them along with him to be his research team. (Not because he values their work or trusts them, but because he simply doesn’t want to interview other candidates and attempt to get to know them.) Even though I can’t really imagine how a physicist, an astrophysicist and a mechanical engineer, let alone theoretical physicist Sheldon, would be beneficial to a scientific expedition in the Arctic Circle, but the gang decides not to let the opportunity pass them by and they accept. But, of course, accepting an offer doesn’t mean that any of these guys are actually able to make their own choice, as Raj’s parents are strictly against him going, and Howard’s mother was only going to let him go to the Arctic Circle when she thought it was Arkansas and as for Leonard . . . well, Penny doesn’t really want him to go.
Now, Leonard is confused by her display of ambivalence toward his announcement that he’d be heading to the Arctic Circle, because he has no idea how to read her reaction. Here’s how to read it: it would have been nice to tell your only non-University friend that you were going on a three-month research trip. It doesn’t matter if she apparently secretly loves you or that you would totally pine for her while you’re gone (because you will, Leonard, you will). It’s just kind of something that humans do when they’re going to be away from other humans in their life for an extended period of time. Of course, Penny’s assertion that this would have been nice to know is layered with her apparent love for Leonard, proven in the gift of a lingering hug (at least 5 Mississippis long) and a Snuggie/Slanket . . . whatever they have to be called on non-infomercial television. But when Leonard questions Penny about what those things mean, she gives him the cold shoulder (Husband Note: HaHA! Cold shoulder. Because he’s going to the Arctic Circle!), and so he and the others go off the Arctic Circle, where they basically lead their regular lives but in snow pants and with reconstituted Thai food.
Things I thought were funny:
- Sheldon’s attempts at pranks, which at this stage seem to consist of taking things and then asking someone to find them before then presenting them with said thing. He’s trying so hard to be a real boy.
- A walk-in freezer really is a pretty good way to train yourself to perform tasks in a below zero environment.
- “Everyone at the university knows I eat breakfast at 8 and move my bowels at 8:20.” – Sheldon
What a terribly awkward season finale. I even knew it was a season finale earlier yesterday, but the way that the episode seemed to essentially abandon its characters’ most interesting and recognizable quirks, it almost seemed like the end was an afterthought. What a better show would have done would be for it to work some of the Stuart “arc” into the finale and have a truly interesting dynamic between Penny and Leonard in re: their relationship, instead of the basement-level shrug of what actually occurred, as if neither of them had learned anything since the beginning of season 1.
But whatever. I laughed at Sheldon’s antics, even if, like the rest of the characters, he had been reduced to a single note, instead of the admirable work most of the actors do on a regular basis.
Chuck Lorre, I’m glad that your sitcoms do well, but can you please create something that has even a semblance of continuity and multi-episode storytelling? Or a personality?