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The Big Bang Theory "The Commitment Determination"/S8E24 + Season Recap

Posted on September 20, 2015 at 6:45 PM

By Dhruv Rao

It's been a long time coming with this article, hasn't it? To be perfectly candid, I was never comfortable with writing this review because of the nature of the season eight finale. I found it to be quite anticlimactic to have the season end at a nadir, giving the writers the Herculean task of patching things up with the first set of episodes of the new season, which begins tomorrow. To be perfectly candid, I completely support the writers' decision to let things be completely different from what the viewers had originally expected. As far as I am concerned, none of the viewers were expecting Amy to actually end things with Sheldon. The introduction to that arc of the show begun during the last scene of the finale, which was a controversial one, much like the ending scene of another CBS show, How I Met Your Mother. Usually, I would argue that the writers are creating controversy in order to stir up a higher audience; however, with a show successful as this one, is that really the function of controversy? 

The writers have been changing the way the public views Big Bang since the second half of the fifth season, when the addition of Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch came into full effect. These changes have proven to be some of the best ones, as the show was able to gather its twenty million-strong viewership due to it. The new image of the show had a larger audience attracted to it, but the writers had forgotten that their original audience didn't want couples out of all these characters. This season was when they had started to synthesize scripts with elements of both ends of the spectrum of their ideas. So, essentially, this season was the trial-and-error one, the one which we shouldn't judge harshly. I saw that the writers were making strides to include the original quirks of the characters into the newer plots, so I gave them credit for that and decided to lower the bar for this season only. That generous gesture expires today, as we enter the show's ninth season, which they had an entire summer to work on, put newer and fresher ideas into, and most importantly to test and smoothen: have we all forgotten the disaster that was the eighth season premiere?

As of now, the tension between all the different characters is quite high, as the finale didn't quite feel like the process of wrapping things up as much as it did feel like the complication of various storylines. These complications weren't foreseen, but they were hinted at, and for that I commend the writers. For instance, throughout the course of the season, starting from the premiere, Sheldon had been treating Amy as though he were her only option for love. Even the way Sheldon revealed his love for Amy was driven by his urge to avoid her and the festivities of the evening. It seems as though the writers were blatantly giving the audience examples of why Amy shouldn't be with Sheldon. It's a good catalyst for introducing a plethora of new plotlines, but the real issue here is will the writers pull it off? Various fans on Tumblr have a few ideas as to where the Shamy train will go next, but I am keeping an open mind and judging the situation based on what the writers make of this new plot twist. 

The second prime factor that irritated fans to the core was the reveal of Leonard's infidelity. I do understand the criticism of the randomness of the reveal, but as Leonard and Penny are finally tying the knot, there is a certain unspoken honesty policy that gets placed into effect. It may not be the best idea to most of the audience, but I had decided to once again give the writers a chance: I analyzed how this reveal actually fits in well with Leonard's character development. Leonard has changed so much over the last eight years, and it's all because of Penny. It's all because she brought him out of his shell. Over the years, he slowly moved away from the shy, socially-awkward physicist (a stereotypical image) to a more normal person. His social interactions have shown us how he isn't the inferior one in this relationship anymore, and this reveal is the one that sets his character development into full stride as its the one that finally tells the audience that he is comfortable with who he is, but is he really comfortable with his situation with Penny? This last-minute reveal doesn't help him with that answer, but I'll leave it to the writers to handle that answer.

The eighth season pushed the characters of Howard, Bernadette and Raj far away from the limelight. I feel like since this season is probably the penultimate one, the writers should consider placing them in A-plots and have them go through more major life changes. The only remaining plot left for both of them is being unable to end a relationship. That plot is old. In fact, I just saw the exact same thing happen on Friends. But do you know what was really the difference? Friends made it funnier and only involved one character in that plotline. So, it is my sincere hope that the ninth season will be the one of equality, where all the characters get their own plots, their own fair share of screentime, and their own developments. May this season actually exceed the mediocre expectations I keep of it! 

Episode Grade: A-

Season Grade: B

Stray Observations:

- The final scene and the Gollum reference were scenes to remember because the studio audience didn't mess that experience up for me.

- The whole "let's give you some bad news on your birthday" plot has been overused to the point where I scoff at it now.

- I was wondering why Amy's involvement towards the end of the season had diminished. Apparently, it was due to her family commitments,and she'll be here full-time next season! So, we might get to see a few more "Please pass the butter!" scenes.

- The studio audience's reaction to the plan to elope was actually a good soundtrack to the reveal as the audience had expected the wedding plans to just keep on getting postponed. 

- I wonder if Raj's situation with females will be worked upon again. When they removed his selective mutism two years ago, I was happy. Maybe it's time to improve the improved Raj?

- My prediction for the premiere: It will do its job, but like most premieres, it won't hit the right spots just well...

Categories: The Big Bang Theory, News Updates

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