Change is an often frightening and challenging idea for people to accept. Some people open change with open arms, others wallow in self pity as their normal routines get upended by the inevitability that things never stay the same. For someone like Sheldon, major change is the equivalent of worlds colliding and mental breakdowns ensuing. As The Big Bang Theory closes out it’s 7th season and 159th episode, much has evolved, and the status quo has indeed combusted.
Picking up from last week’s major development in Penny and Leonard’s relationship, the couple decide to tell the gang the big news. Everyone is excited for the most part, but the momentum is quickly shifted when it’s revealed that Raj slept with Emily! Thats right, after a long season of trying and failing with different woman and relationships. Raj is finally involved with someone worth while, and I think it’s great that the gang was so supportive of him, including Leonard and Penny.
Of course this news, while happy, sent some questions about the future through everyone’s heads. Howard and Bernadette seem to be the most at ease. Most of the episode they are trying to find Howard’s mom a caretaker, which, even though it leads to one of the funnier moments of the episode at the end, wasn’t that funny for breaking up the far more interesting plot lines. Howard’s Mom is fine in small doses (we learn her real name in this episode), but I can’t take her voice for extended periods of time. I guess thats the point, but as I said these scenes were mostly meant to break up the far more interesting stories, mainly the over arching narrative about Sheldon’s dealing with all the change.
Not only are Penny and Leonard making plans to live on their own after marriage, but the University isn’t allowing Sheldon to change his field from String Theory to something else. It’s depressing seeing Sheldon hurting so much. His beloved science is seemingly turning against him as he struggles to find relevance in the shadow of friends that have both done some monumental things, and who he believes to be lesser than himself. It’s not that Sheldon is mean, or wishes bad to others intentionally. It’s that he strives to be the best, which is something he has essentially always been. Ahead of the curve, ready for what comes next. The final nail in the coffin was when Sheldon, in an attempt to calm himself, ventures to the comic book store, only to find that Stuart’s beloved store has burned to the ground.
Yes, even Stuart now faces a new road ahead of him. And with Sheldon’s final salvation now in ruins, he is left to decide what he has to do next. The scene towards the end when Sheldon decides to leave was unexpected but a great way to end the season. Everything around him is changing and, for Sheldon, that’s a horrible and dangerous thing. Even though it’s strange to think of him riding the rails and “going with the flow”, I think this will be an interesting and mind opening experience for him and it has made me tremendously excited for the next season.
Almost everyone on The Big Bang Theory is at a different point in their lives than they were at the start of the season. I have to commend the writers for keeping the 7th season exceedingly fresh, while never needing to get wildly outside their winning formula. Even though I doubt this show is going to gain a lot of new followers in the next three seasons, season 7 has given me hope, and reason, to think that these characters have plenty more adventures up their sleeves. It’s been a beautiful 7th season, and I’m glad it ended on a high note!