‘The Big Bang Theory’ Season 12, Episode 21, Recap: Amy and Sheldon Are One Step Closer to the Nobel


Tonight’s Big Bang Theory opens with a “Previously on…” which means only one thing: We’re about to get an entire episode focused on Sheldon and Amy and Nobel Watch 2019. I’m OK with it, as long as not too much time is spent on Drs. Pemberton and Campbell. With only three episodes left, I want as many scenes with the main cast members as possible.

But of course, we start with Amy and Sheldon at lunch with said doctors as well as President Siebert. Amy apologizes for her outburst from a few weeks ago, when she called Pemberton and Campbell impostors. She wasn’t wrong, but screaming it in a room full of Nobel winners probably wasn’t the best way to do it.

Anyway, Sheldon tells the men that the whole thing has caused Amy so much stress that she chewed through her night guard. Pemberton—or is it Campbell? (honestly, who can keep track?)—says her words were hurtful since they thought they were all friends. Yeah, OK.

Pemberton says it’s fine because he talked to his therapist, who said Amy’s outburst was more about her insecurities than him being an impostor. Amy does not take kindly to this; it gets even worse when Campbell says she’s just angry at all the attention he and Pemberton are getting for their discovery.

Sheldon and Amy show remarkable restraint and tell Pemberton and Campbell that the Nobel committee will eventually realize that they came up with Super Asymmetry. “But we proved it,” Campbell says. “By accident!” shouts Amy. Pemberton butts in and says all breakthroughs happen by accident, but Amy isn’t having it.

Meanwhile, President Siebert, who has the mediating skills of a sloth, says that if they don’t stop this infighting, the award will go to someone else entirely. Amy says Siebert is right. Like it or not, they have to be civil. Who wants to take a guess at how long this is going to last?

Apparently not long at all, because in the next scene Pemberton and Campbell run into Barry Kripke on their way out of the dining room. It turns out Kripke went to college with Pemberton. Once P&C leave, Kripke joins Shamy at their table and tells them Pemberton is a grade-A weasel. “His whole M.O. is to take other people’s ideas and turn them into his own,” he says. This whole thing seems a little too convenient, but I’m here for it.

Michael Yarish/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Sheldon tells Kripke that’s exactly what he’s doing to them, and Kripke says he’s not surprised because Pemberton has plagiarized before. “You want proof?” Kripke asks. “I’ll make some calls.”

Sheldon can’t believe Kripke would do that for them (same), but Kripke says he really doesn’t want to see Pemberton win a Nobel. He also says he doesn’t want to see Sheldon and Amy win a Nobel, but I guess they’re the lesser of two evils.

Amy’s not sure if she wants Kripke to dig up dirt on Pemberton and Campbell because it seems sleazy. Kripke, however, says sleazy is where he thrives.

Later, Amy and Sheldon walk into Penny and Leonard’s apartment and for the first time since the episode started, we see the rest of the gang gathered for dinner. Sheldon says he and Amy are wrestling with an ethical question and perhaps they all can help. Once they fill everyone in, Leonard says that information won’t sit well with the Nobel committee. Penny, however, says it’s not fair to use something that someone did in school against them.

On the other hand, Bernadette says, if someone is a cheater, they should be held accountable no matter how far back it was. Howard counters that if Pemberton is exposed, it wouldn’t just knock him out of contention but blow up his whole career. Leonard takes Bernadette’s side. “If Pemberton cheated, then maybe he shouldn’t have a career in the first place. There’s plenty of people that didn’t plagiarize.”

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