I ended up having to watch this episode twice before deciding my feelings towards it. Mainly, because I missed some things the first time around, and second because I wanted to see the ending a second time to prove to myself it actually happened. Since this is one of those episodes that had a major plot development, full spoilers will be discussed ahead.
“The Gorilla Dissolution” follows the typical brand of plotting that The Big Bang Theory has gotten used to. After a humorous opening scene involving the injury of Howard’s mother, we get the typical dinner scene with the gang all discussing the week’s events. Raj is making strides with his new girlfriend, Howard’s mother is injured, and Penny is filming her “Serial Apist” movie. Will Wheaton also pops up again this week (I wonder if he will ever join the cast regularly), as Penny’s co star.
We have seen quite the progression from Penny over the last season. She and Leonard have had smooth sailing essentially the entire season, and it’s finally starting to dawn on her just how important he is in her life. After she and Will get fired from the Ape movie, Penny has something of an epiphany, realizing that Leonard has been the one consistently good thing in her life these past years. At the end of the episode, the impossible finally happened, Leonard and Penny got engaged. Of course, like the characters’ state in a bit of meta dialogue, the scene is sort of anti-climactic as the two sort of stumble into an engagement as opposed to Leonard or Penny asking the other. It’s hard to believe that after seven seasons and countless breakups and reconciliations that the two are finally tying the knot. Who knows if it will actually play out, but with only one episode left next week, we probably won’t get too far into the future.
I am guessing that, with the prospect of renewal coming up a lot this season, the writers wanted to plan for a longer game. The eighth season will most likely center on Leonard and Penny’s engagement while keeping up with the rest of our lovable cast. Speaking of which, Raj had a big leap forward as well, as he and Emily are finally becoming close, even if it did take a totally awkward encounter to get them there. Sheldon offered a hilarious helping hand to Raj this week after the encounter and had one of my favorite jokes involving his and Amy’s relationship agreement. Even though Sheldon didn’t have a lot of screen time this week, his pop ins were funny and a little more insightful than one might first think. I never thought of Sheldon thinking about sex much, but he has clearly considered it (like everything else), and to see him indirectly admit that he doesn’t want Amy sleeping around was pleasant and unexpected.
Bernadette and Howard basically came in to fill up screen time as they related taking care of Howard’s injured mother to what it might be like having a baby. I can’t help but wonder if this is a clue to their future together. As all the relationships on the show progress, a baby seems like the next possible scenario and with Howard and Bernadette the furthest along, it would make sense to throw a pregnancy in the mix.
Even though this wasn’t a hilarious episode, or even a particularly great one, it did have some key moments of plot development that should carry into the season finale. With three seasons lined up after this one the writers should have quite a time coming up with ways to keep these characters going. I personally believe they are up to the challenge, and I welcome the season final with wide open arms!
Grade = B-