Season eight of The Big Bang Theory continues to be funny and entertaining. The sixth episode, The Expedition Approximation, tackles another issue in Penny and Leonard’s relationship in a funny way. This episode is also the last that will air on Monday night. Starting on October 30th, the series is returning to Thursday nights at 8:00 P.M. EST.
As usual, there are spoilers ahead, so proceed with caution.
During a group dinner, Bernadette admires Penny’s new suit and then asks Sheldon about his new research into dark matter. Sheldon claims that it is an exciting time in that field because he is now working on it. Raj then shares how he heard that there are new grants being given out for work in dark matter. Whoever receives the grant will have to spend hours in mines observing things. Raj suggests that he and Sheldon team up to try to get one of the grants so that they could possibly make new contributions to both physics and astrophysics. Penny finds the idea of Sheldon spending hours in a mine hilarious since he freaked out going through a car wash.
Later, Penny and Leonard are having a dinner at her apartment. Penny is distracted and thinking about work while Leonard talks about a video game. Penny then presents Leonard with an envelope full of money. She has a company car for work now, so she didn’t think it made sense to keep the car that Leonard got her not that long ago. She sold that car and is giving Leonard the money so they are even. She also gives him a picture of them in front of the car in a decorated pink frame that says best finance ever. Leonard says that the car was a gift and he didn’t want to be paid back. The two keep insisting that the other keep the money. The next day, they talk about it more, with Leonard finally suggesting that they open a joint bank account with the money and use it for the wedding or something else in the future. Penny likes that idea too, but the disagreement picks back up when Penny claims that Leonard doesn’t like that she can pay for her own stuff now and it makes him insecure.
Sheldon and Raj talk more about the idea of trying to get one of the grants for dark matter research. Sheldon is most put off by the idea of having to use a bucket for a bathroom. Raj then suggests that they should try to find a simulation for a mine which leads to them heading down in to a steam tunnel under the college where it is hot, humid, and cramped. Amy is standing by to lead a rescue attempt if necessary. They are both struggling with things, but they seem to be dealing. Sheldon actually admits to Raj that he finds his change in work scary since he is starting over. Raj shares a nice story tied to what keeps him motivated, but Sheldon freaks out and runs away screaming when he sees a few rats, leaving Raj to fend for himself.
Penny and Leonard are over and Bernadette and Howard’s and ask them how they handled money issues. It quickly goes downhill after Bernadette makes sure to emphasis that she makes a lot more money. That then evolves into them having a fight over the chore chart Bernadette made for Howard and how he won’t get his allowance if he doesn’t do his chores. When Bernadette leaves the room to check on Howard, Penny and Leonard decide they don’t want to end up with them and they will figure it out. The argument starts up again, but Penny doesn’t want to leave until they hear if Howard got a star for making the bed like a grown man.
This episode has two different storylines going on, something that tends to happen on the show, and both of them are very funny and entertaining. So far this season, Penny and Leonard have addressed a few issues in their relationship. I think that has been a good thing and it shows that both of them have matured. In the past, they would avoid things which led to more problems. This time, they are at least starting to deal with money issues. I kind of see both of their sides of the issue. Leonard still wants to be able to do things for Penny, while she doesn’t want to feel dependent on him for money issues. Things don’t get fully resolved, but it is progress.
Money has come up between Howard and Bernadette before. She really does seem to be more responsible in that regard, though she does sort of put Howard down at times as well because she makes more. Howard has been impulsive with money before - like when he and Raj bought a 3D printer - but Bernadette’s way of dealing with it is to treat Howard like a child instead of an equal. Yes he can be childlike in some ways, and I can see him not wanting to help around the apartment after his mother babied him his entire life, but I don’t like when this side of Bernadette comes out that much. It was funny at first, and aspects of it still are, but she just comes across as so mean at times, and I don’t like that. Bernadette is basically a bully, and that came out some earlier this season with how she was acting about Penny and the new job.
Sheldon is still trying to deal with changes, including now doing research in dark matter. He seems all right about it for much of the episode, but he does finally share with Raj how afraid he is to be starting over. It is a big deal for Sheldon to confide something like that in anyone. Of course he follows that up by saving himself and leaving Raj to fight off rats, which is a typical Sheldon move. Sheldon has been going through different things lately, and I like that they are exploring him more than him just having a lot of quirks. Both of the stories are funny at times. The funnier moments are when Sheldon and Raj are in the tunnel and after Bernadette and Howard get into an argument.
This episode of The Big Bang Theory is another fun, entertaining episode that also deals with a few more serious things as well. The show is still going strong and still well worth watching.