Another week, another episode of Big Bang for all of us geek lovers! In "The Higgs-Boson Observation," Sheldon got a cute new female assistant who looks to be unknowingly throwing off the couple dynamic in the group. Alex, hired to go through Sheldon's childhood notebooks looking for Nobel-Prize winning brilliance, dealt very well with Sheldon's crazy and hit it off with Leonard, too. Amy and Penny were not so thrilled with the new addition.
I wondered when the show was going to deal with the recent real-world scientific discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle, since Sheldon was working toward its discovery much of last season. Since scientist Peter Higgs asserted the existence of the particle back in the 1960s, Sheldon figured that his moment of brilliance could well be contained in the notes he took growing up. After mocking Penny a bit for her ignorance on the notes he made on algebra when he was 5, he decided to take Leonard's suggestion of hiring an assistant. After the graduate student he was interviewing complimented his brilliance (and we all know how susceptible Sheldon is to flattery despite his declaration to the contrary), he hired her on the spot. Since her dad was a scientist, she was used to these weirdo geniuses and accepted all of Sheldon's odd rules and demands without complaint. As Leonard said, may God have mercy on her soul.
Amy discovered Alex's existence when she called Sheldon's phone after her makeup lesson (red lips! eyelash curlers! Amy is all growed up now) with Penny, and Alex answered. Amy decided to drag Penny over to the university to see what was going on (the answer being nothing). Amy spreads her scent around just in case (her licking the stapler was a nice touch hahaha). However, as the girls observe the guys and Alex at lunch, where she and Leonard are having a nice conversation about their work, Amy realizes that it's not her who should be worried. As she puts it to Penny, "that skank is your problem, not mine." Penny isn't thrilled, and on the ride home Amy gets her to admit that even though she isn't sure where she stands with Leonard, it's basic instinct for her to want to keep him from Alex.
Meanwhile, Howard is going a little stir-crazy in space. He's getting very anxious about being so far from home, and acts increasingly more manic during his video chats with Bernadette until the other astronauts hold him down and give him a tranquilizer. It was a silly subplot, but I personally would last maybe a weekend in space, if that, cool as it is.
Back at the apartment, Sheldon comes home to Leonard and Penny with Alex in tow. Alex and Penny officially meet, and Penny asserts her dominance by telling Alex that not many people get the chance to work with Leonard. Then she drags him off to her place to have sex. Not that we normally credit these characters with acting mature, but that was a little lame.
Thoughts: Not a huge fan of this one, not gonna lie. I like introducing a new dynamic like Alex into the group, and she seems very nice, but Penny's reaction was very disappointing. All of the others were chugging along as usual, and while there were some funny lines I thought the writing could have been a bit snappier this week. It's ok, writers! We all get a free pass now and again. But please do something with Penny, she is not coming off likeable at all this season.
Episode rating: 4 out of 10 soft kitties.
Next week, Howard returns from space! I'm looking forward to his return, and to him vying with Stuart now that Raj has a new buddy. Plus I hear there is an epic game night in the mix. Stay tuned!