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REVIEWS

"The Leftover Thermalization"/"The Skywalker Incursion"/"The Fortification Implementation"/S8E18-19-20

Posted on April 11, 2015 at 7:35 AM

By Dhruv Rao


These last three episodes of The Big Bang Theory have fallen into the classic trap that television shows often fall into once they've achieved a particular "formula". For instance, Saturday Night Live found its sweet-spot during its 35th season, which admittedly is one of the best seasons its had. However, that season initiated two seasons that implemented the same formula for comedy, which produced comedy that wasn't fully appreciated because of the show's stagnation. This is exactly what's happening with The Big Bang Theory. Last season proved to be one of its best, and the show truly deserved the title of TV's Number One Comedy. However, this season, the topics that were straddled were of minor importance, and the writing often misses a key element that would render an episode near-perfect. 


This trio of episodes is present in almost every season of the show. The ones which are easily forgettable due to their inadequate comic timing and delivery. First off, there's the episode that once again places Howard's fond memories of his mother at the forefront. Don't get me wrong, I was touched when they dedicated a few subplots in Mrs. Wolowitz's memory, but at this point these stories are starting to disrupt the flow of the show as a sitcom and turning it into a daytime soap opera. The dramatic side of each character isn't required for more than two or three episodes per season, but Chuck Lorre and the writers never seem to understand that. They always either have negligible amounts of character development or an overly-detailed development for most seasons. However, the sixth and seventh seasons nailed the equilibrium perfectly, and that's why I've always considered them as the benchmark for the show. 


The subplot of Leftover isn't of much importance either as it repeats an issue the show has dealt with many times: Leonard and Sheldon fighting like children. The show often succeeds at extending the idea and giving it layers, like they did with the fantastic season three episode "The Staircase Implementation". However, this time around, the plot was unfunny and often difficult to watch without having a side-activity to distract yourself until a worthy moment comes on. For this episode, the idea for which I will give the writers props is the idea of everyone eating at one table remembering Mrs. Wolowitz. It didn't escalate dramatically, but the amount of food provided an opportunity to escalate comically. I loved everyone's joy at Bernadette finding more Tums. Other than that, the episode was pretty flat, with nothing special to offer.


The second episode at hand is "The Skywalker Incursion", which I saw as nothing but a massive filler because the writers ran out of ideas. It's a common mistake to visualize the final three or four episodes of the season, and in that excitement forget about the last few that build up to those episodes. The A-plot escalated from delivering a speech to visit Skywalker Ranch, and after that Sheldon went crazy and entered the place without legal permission. Sheldon's behavior with celebrities has been dealt with enough in the past seasons, so when the writers ran with the same idea but with a different setting, I decided to zone out and focus on Leonard during the A-plot. That's when I realized that Leonard's sarcasm has developed brilliantly ever since he started dating Penny, especially with regard to Sheldon. Many fans may feel that it's irritating to see Leonard like this, but I think it's amazing to see him cold towards Sheldon, especially when you think about how badly Sheldon treats him. As for the B-plot, there's nothing except that hilarious Dr.Who ending and Amy's reaction to Sheldon repeatedly entering through the tardis door.


Finally, we come to the worst of the lot, "The Fortification Implementation". I only have one question for an episode like that, "Why?" The three individual plots were bearable, but once you put them together you get a catastrophe. It was as though Mr Bean was handling which plots should go together and formed a concatenation. All three plots were huge, but there was a time constraint, thus they couldn't be executed effectively. Normally, I would enjoy an episode involving Penny's career, Shamy's big step or Howard's character development. However, if you put them together, you get an underdone episode that is often so quick-paced that it ends up making three big movements without even giving any importance to any of the three. It's like how Saturday Night Live episodes where Kristen Wiig's recurring characters were frequent were often regarded as the nadirs of the particular season. Similarly, these three episodes, along with the first five, form the lining of the season that won't give the show a Primetime Emmy award....


Grade: C-/B-/C-

Stray Observations:

 


- Raj: "My uncle was a worshipper of Krishna, but after he died, you know what we found? A statue of Shiva!" I feel like that line was lifted from an Indian soap opera. Those get on my nerves!

- Howard: "That's why my people roamed the deserts for 40 years! It took them that long to walk it off!"

- Penny: "You know, when they chase you out of there, you only have to run faster than Sheldon."

- Amy can serve like a pro, but she can't even align her racket correctly to return Raj's serve in ping-pong.

- Bernadette's controlling nature is on full display during the second episode.

- The GIF argument: I just say the three letters because it's an abbreviation. In that way, I'm neutral and not a part of this war that is slowly dividing the human race.

- Penny's constant jabs at Wil Wheaton were a true delight to watch, especially since it was Wil's radio show.

- Howard's brother: "Because a hand's all you need, right?"





Categories: The Big Bang Theory

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