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"The Earworm Reverberation"/"The Opening Night Excitation"/S9E10-11

Posted on December 18, 2015 at 3:15 PM

By Dhruv Rao

Often, there is so much progress that occurs over the course of a couple of episodes that the audience has to take a refractory period to process the plot progression and understand it as an integral part of a show. Earworm and Opening Night could almost be a two-parter episode simply because of the primarily Shamy-driven plots of the two episodes. The decision to have the couple's reunion be the winter finale was an odd one, especially since it definitely has the potential to act as a season-ender. However, I commend the writers for having their physical act coincide with the premiere of The Force Awakens as it deepens the gravity of Sheldon's decision. Had they aired the plot alongside a regular comical plot it would have been just as exciting; however, the meaning behind the act would have diminished. By Sheldon sacrificing the movie, the writers epitomized his metamorphosis, and the studio audience's reaction to Shamy's post-coitus expressions was apt.

The stakes were high with the latter of the two episodes. Everyone knew that the couple would eventually get back together after Sheldon rejecting Amy last week, but the fans who had been waiting for almost five years would have been rather distraught had their time apart not have an effect on the dynamic in the relationship. While watching The Earworm Reverberation, I admired the structure of the episode, but after Shamy's long make-out session, I questioned what the writers' next move was. By coupling their reunion with coitus, the writers ensured that the audience wouldn't be disappointed and that they could retain a facade of knowing the direction of the show. The word facade does undermine the writers' abilities to tie the season together, but as the past has indicated, the show is usually lost after making a game-changing move. The only exception to this rule was the fifth season opener, where Penny and Raj made peace with the drunken mistake committed, and Penny finally rejoined the group around the coffee table. This time, the writers can either have 2016 begin centered around Shamy, or have them side-stepped and remind the audience that each character is important in their eyes, especially since the last two seasons haven't been kind to Raj, Howard, or Bernadette.

The B-plots in both episodes weren't mutually exclusive from the A-plots, thus the episodes retained their fluidity, and the action of the two episodes wasn't undermined through the use of irrelevant, filler comedy. One might argue that the release of Star Wars should have been saved for another time, maybe even a flashback, but by coupling it with Shamy's "opening night", the writers beautifully paralleled the reactions of the characters basked in awe and hope. The Big Bang Theory ends on a high this year, and may the second half of the season continue forward using great comedy, strong continuity, and developmental creativity.

Grade: A-

Stray Observations:

- Sheldon's analysis of Darlin' is simply him finally realizing what everyone has been telling him over the past few episodes.

- Dave's admiration of Sheldon continues to make me laugh hysterically.

- I like the tradition of Professor Proton appearing as Sheldon's subconscious therapist.

- Star Wars vs Star Trek: the never-ending battle.

- "I look forward to your next birthday when we do it again." "That works for me!"

Categories: The Big Bang Theory

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