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3 stars, Comedy, Reviews

The Big Bang Theory S5, E13: “The Recombination Hypothesis”

As the 100th episode of The Big Bang Theory this episode fell way below expectations. It simply did not feel a good enough episode to mark the occasion. There was really only one story-line involving Leonard and Penny – and nothing even eventuated.

OK, so it was blatantly obvious that “The Big Bang Wedding” that we had been bombarded with all weeks in the ads was not going to happen, but even the humour of this episode was not above par. We instead has to put up with almost gratuitous sexual jokes involving Sheldon and his unwitting use of “wood” puns in his sideshow of a story-line.

When it first seemed likely that something would occur with Leonard and Penny in the episode’s opening I felt like repeating Sheldon’s joy at the arrival of his life-sized cardboard Mr. Spock cutout and exclaiming “Oh goodie, oh goodie, oh goodie!”. Unfortunately it didn’t last, and even before it was revealed that the whole episode was just a daydream (lazy writing, in my opinion), it didn’t feel like a proper reunion of the Leonard-Penny romance. Obviously, everything can’t be resolved as of it, but there really should have been a major event to mark the significance of the episode. Even though Leonard does actually ask Penny out for real at the episode’s end, I felt a bit cheated by the whole concept.

There were some positives however. Despite its lack of excitement, the opening sequence was a kind of reflection of the show’s very first episode with Leonard spotting Penny from across the hall. It also managed to   include references to running gags such as Sheldon’s inability to grasp sarcasm, which is a perfect example of what such a milestone episode should be a celebration of: hallmarks of the series that long-time fans will appreciate.

Highlights of this episode included:

  • Amy’s response to Bernadette asking why Leonard had asked Penny out again: “Maybe he’s dying, that would be so romantic”. Such a classic Amy remark.
  • Sheldon refusing to speculate that Leonard’s date had gone badly: “Again, not enough Evidence. For all we know he’s being murdered.”
  • Leonard and Sheldon’s midnight encounter where in Leonard’s attempt to sneak back from Penny’s he tells Sheldon he was using a restroom at the shop across the street. Sheldon, eventually believing him, forces him to return to make a small purchase as is social custom for using shop restrooms.
  • Bernadette: “I’m a very vengeful person… with access to weaponised smallpox”

3 out of 5 stars

Episode details

  • Original Australian airdate: 13 February 2012 (8:00 pm)
  • Channel: Nine Network
  • Viewers: 1.491 million (3rd most-watched show for the night)
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