The Big Bang Theory, Season 8 Episode 20 Review: “The Fortification Implementation”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

This week on The Big Bang Theory Sheldon’s put out because he wasn’t invited to a symposium at Richard Feynman’s house. Raj brings Howard and Bernadette a load of Girl Scout cookies and asks the couple about the title for the house. They’ve managed to sort it out without Howard having to talk or meet his father.

Meanwhile Penny does a guest spot on Will Wheaton’s podcast and Sheldon contains to sulk during Date Night. He puts a picture of himself exuberantly smileyΒ in front of his face in order to pretend he’s happy. At Howard’s house his younger brother Josh unexpectedly shows up and things start getting a little awkward. In Penny’s flat the podcast is going pretty well and she gets a call where a director offers her a part.

Sheldon eventually asks AmyΒ if there’s ever a point in life when you stop being left out of things. She tells him that she understands and he tells her about when he used to be left out of building forts with his brother and sister. Amy offers to do it with him instead and Sheldon is utterly delighted.

Howard’s shaken up by the appearance of his brother until the latter shows that he’s a little in awe of Howard’s status as a astronaut. Penny and Leonard are in the throes of an argument about whether or not she should go for the acting job and he finds out that she makes twice the money he does. He also realises that she invests her money in stocks and bonds. Leonard gets bothered about how their roles switched up and Penny manages to manipulate him into letting her audition for the movie.

Howard finally ends up bonding with his brother whilst Sheldon persuades Amy to stay much later into the evening. This ends up being their first sleepover, with Amy revealing that she’d hid a toothbrush and pyjamas in the flat several years ago in case the occasion should come up.

The highlight of this episode was the introduction of Howard’s brother Josh, who began to fill a hole in Howard’s family life as we’ve seen so little of his family aside from his mother. One of the best things about the episode was that all the separate storylines still managed to offer some kind of development from the characters; Sheldon began to see how much he really does enjoy his time with Amy, Leonard and Penny acknowledge their changing roles as dominant economic provider in the relationship and Howard really starts to move on from the mourning period. Given that Leonard has admitted he has very little money you can’t help but appreciate how much of his money he must have spent trying to be there and woo Penny. It only makes him actually ending up with the girl of his dreams all the more poignant. This might not have been the world’s funniest episode – apart from the smiley Sheldon face picture, I laughed very loud at that – but it did help set up some potential plot points and developments as we near the season finale.

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