The Big Bang Theory, Season 8 Episode 21 Review: “The Communication Deterioration”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

This week on Big Bang Raj has been asked to submit a design proposal for a message and its delivery system which might one day reach alien life. After Raj decides that only Leonard will not boss him around the two work on the project together sans Howard and Sheldon. However it turns out that since they’re used to being bossed around by the other two they’re actually a little stumped.

Penny goes over to talk to Sheldon about her acting career. He wants to tell her what to do but he decides that he has to turn over a new leaf and not interfere as much before. This doesn’t quite go to plan as Penny just ends up listening to Sheldon talk about trains. At home Howard is making molecular cocktails because it’s what Raj always wanted to do with him.

In the apartment Penny manages to use trains to get Sheldon to tell her what do to. He ends up telling her to take a third option which is to hold off from a definitive outcome until she knows more. In apartment Raj and Leonard finally come to a triumphant design idea … before realising that it is exactly the same design as what Howard and Sheldon proposed.

Over lunch Raj and Leonard invite Howard and Sheldon back to the project. Penny goes to her audition, and though she’s hopeful at first she eventually remembers why she quit it. Meanwhile the boys discuss all the different occasions they might have felt left out.

With the girls Penny talks about how she’s glad that she left the world of acting and finally thanks Bernadette for getting her the job. At the end we see some ‘aliens’ that have received the message from the boys… and think Sheldon looks delicious.

The latest episode made Penny the star of the show as we see how she’s grown so much from the girl who dreamed of being an actress in Season 1. Instead of being all giddy about a part she’s come to appreciate how success isn’t your face plastered all over billboards. In contrast to that the story with the guys had its funny moments but was less notable. If anything, seeing Sheldon and Howard separated from their respective buddies and then venting (or not) their feelings made for a slightly more interesting shift but not one that was groundbreaking. What was fun, however, was the constant theme of Sheldon being more more playing their episode that he usually is, from his re-adaptation of songs to playing a game with the ‘building on that’. Those interactions were responsible for a lot of the humour, right up until the end with the teeny-tiny blink-and-you’ll-miss-it parody of Jim Parsons’ other role as alien Oh in the Dreamworks film Home. All good fun, guys – I’m ready for the season finale in a couple of weeks!

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