S5E13: The moment we’ve all waited for is here; the 100th episode of The Big Bang Theory, and presumably the reunion of one of television’s cutest, if not unlikeliest of couples: Leonard and Penny. Will beauty and the geek actually get back together or will something greater than the power of science get in their way?
“Do you ever wonder how humans would be different if they evolved from lizards instead of mammals?”–Sheldon
And with that comment, episode 100 was off to the races. Leonard was trying to find out what Sheldon wanted for dinner, but the comedic equivalent to Spock could only relish in his own thoughts about the possibility of evolving from lizards and lamenting that the cardboard cutout of the real Spock that he ordered was Zachary Quinto and not Leonard Nimoy. Now, I don’t understand why anyone would leave their door wide open in real life but on The Big Bang Theory, this is exactly what Penny did while sifting through some things with Amy Farah Fowler and Bernadette. This gave Leonard the “opening” that he needed to pine for Penny and then muster up the guts to ask her out on a date; to which the fair-haired Nebraskan could only say yes, and the ladies gave a schoolyard “ooooh.” Then again, the first time Leonard and Sheldon met Penny, she had her door wide open so it’s a nice closed ellipse for the show’s 100th birthday.
“Maybe he’s dying, that would be so romantic…too bad, if he were, she could just throw him in bed and ride him ‘til he flatlines.”–Amy Farah Fowler
Amy and Bernadette keep Penny company while she tries on outfits, ranging from frumpy – which Bernadette loved and Amy hated – all the way to ooh-la-la – which got Amy’s misappropriated mojo flowing. Despite Amy’s delusional and perverse idea that Leonard dying as the reason he asked Penny out, Penny is steadfast in not wanting to make a big deal out of her impending date.
“The reason you’re fixated on a good natured simpleton like Penny is that she’s the exact opposite of your first romantic attachment, your brilliant yet intimidating mother.”–Sheldon
“Where’d you get that from?”–Leonard
“It’s in her book, Needy Baby, Greedy Baby.” –Sheldon
The boys’ version of the previous scene takes place over the game, “Settlers of Catan,” between Sheldon, Raj, and Howard. Mostly the scene is just an excuse for Sheldon to unknowingly make sexual puns because in the game he needs to build roads and settlements. He has sheep but needs wood for his sheep. Raj questions why Leonard would want to go out with Penny again after what happened when they went out last time, but Leonard never got to give his answer due to Sheldon’s opinion. After Leonard goes to meet Penny, Sheldon goes back to wondering why Howard and Raj are snickering over why Sheldon needs wood and why they are making it so hard. Because once Sheldon has wood, he can erect his settlement.
“Do they have a name for a first date with someone you used to go out with?” – Leonard
“Hmm, good question. How about awkward?” – Penny
On the big date, Leonard and Penny decide to pretend that they’re actually on their first date; which allows the pair to recap the past few months and lets Leonard to get down with his suave, but geeky self as he lays down the self-deprecating humor. After proclaiming himself “king of nerds” – which means if you’ve wronged him, he won’t help you set up your printer – Leonard goes right for the kill and asks Penny if they’re getting back together, which ruins any fun for the date and leads Penny to realize that Leonard “always over thinks” everything, so she sends Leonard home early. After some routine chastising from his friends, Leonard goes off to sulk in the bedroom. In the middle of the night, the sullen nerd gets a text from his would-be paramour, who meets him in the hallway. Penny demands that Leonard “not over think this,” and plants a big one on the now confused and not-so-sullen nerd.
As Penny takes Leonard to her apartment, she shushes him every time he tries to ask a question. Halfway through the episode and with this gesture, I tossed out all hope that Leonard and Penny were getting back together. After all, she is right. Leonard over-thinks everything; he even over-thinks over-thinking and Penny has had more physical relationships than physicists that she knows. This is a relationship that could only work if Leonard somehow contracted Raj’s selective-mutism.
“I want to get my asthma inhaler, but it might ruin the moment.”–Leonard to Penny
Now that the blood has returned to Leonard’s brain, he needs clarification on how a miserable date can end in sex. Penny admits that she panicked at the restaurant over the notion that she’d do something stupid like dump Leonard again. After dumbly assuming the prospect that he could dump her, Leonard proposes that they keep their reunion a secret from the others and give this a test run – Leonard and Penny version 2.0. And if they don’t think it’s working they won’t release it to the public. This was by far the best scene of the episode.
“Leonard, promise me that when our next waitress comes over, you will not start a complicated on again/off again relationship with her, because I’m very, very hungry.” –Sheldon
The gang is at the Cheesecake Factory and Howard is surprised that Leonard can be in the same place as Penny, and he takes a verbal swipe at Penny about it. Leonard plays it off, saying that “they’ll always have feelings for each other.” Penny then surmises that they can’t be together because Leonard needs to always be right. Penny walks off in a huff. Cut to later that night, when Penny confronts Leonard about his behavior at the restaurant. Leonard thinks he was going along with the plan, but Penny just thinks he is being a “toolbag.” Leonard storms off into Penny’s bedroom, because “sex after fighting is kind of what they do now!” Then they’re in bed, again discussing the idea of being together.
But it was all a dream! Leonard snaps out of his daydream with Sheldon’s disastrous Spock Duality problem. It was almost as heartbreaking as a few weeks ago on How I Met Your Mother, when it was revealed that Robin was having a fantasy and talking to her nonexistent kids. (Leonard’s daydream, not Shelly’s Spock conundrum.) The entire “Recombination Hypothesis” was the diminutive dork over-thinking the who, what, when, where, why, and how of asking Penny out on a date. You can’t blame an Experimental Physicist for over-thinking, but thankfully the lil’ guy did not give into his baser instincts and he did ask Penny out. In the episode’s ending button, we got an amusing glimpse of Penny over-thinking the situation, which involves the marriage of Leonard and a very preggers Penny. Luckily she doesn’t rethink the date either and instead remembers to stop at the drugstore on the way to see Leonard.
Overall, it was a very satisfying milestone episode that leaves off almost the same way that the first season ends, with Leonard and Penny heading out on their date. Only this time, we don’t see them meet up before the date and play out the Schrodinger Cat Theory. We’re all stuck waiting a week to find out if Sheldon will once again be sujected to Penny pseudo-living in his apartment. At least this time, he can vent to his own girlfriend, assuming that venting to one’s significant other is allowed in the relationship contract. With three of the four boys all now presumably spoken for, all that’s left is for Raj to find and date another deaf girl in Pasadena.
So what did my fellow Big Bang Theorists think about “The Recombination Hypothesis?” Did you all feel it was a clever look into the mind of Dr. Leonard Hofstadter? Sound off in the comments below and find me on Twitter @CouchForceOne