We open on this week's Big Bang Theory with Bernadette opening the last of her wedding presents, with Penny and Amy out as dutiful bridesmaids. This prompts them to delve right into the heart of this week's episode – Penny's dissatisfaction with her relationship with Leonard. When Bernadette and Amy ask if she can see herself marrying Leonard, Penny dodges the question at first, but they beat it out of her – she's bored. She's not unhappy, but there's no spark (unlike Bernadette with her "sexy Buzz Lightyear" and Amy with her loins afire and her five-year plan to marry Sheldon). I'm glad they are addressing this, as I have also not been feeling excited by Penny and Leonard as a couple for some time.
Cut to the gang preparing to go to the movies, and Sheldon adjusting to Stuart as the 'new Howard'. When they are all there and seated, with the requisite Sheldon-approved snacks, Amy requests Sheldon's hand-holding services, followed by Sheldon whining that Penny isn't making Leonard hold hands. This prompts Amy to spill the beans to Sheldon about Penny's feelings, but makes him promise not to tell Leonard. We all know how well Sheldon keeps a secret! We do learn more of what floats Sheldon's boat – while he's not a fan of hand-holding, he does love swordfish and the hammerhead shark. Yet he holds Amy's hand anyway – perhaps that five-year plan is on track after all!
Back at the apartment, Sheldon feels sorry for Leonard but can't reveal the secret. He tries to get Leonard to guess by making a Transformers analogy, but Leonard (rather adorably) thinks that Sheldon is talking about himself, a robot man, transforming into a normal dude with desires. Indeed not! Instead, when Sheldon can't sleep, he sneaks into Penny's apartment and wakes her, scary the crap out of them both. After a bit of back-and-forth, he tells her not to hurt Leonard, which is really quite sweet. Penny recognizes this, but she's still mad at Amy for blabbing (I would be too). Sheldon calls Amy to warn her, but of course Penny is already chewing her out on the other line. I would like to note that Amy also wears plaid pajamas like Sheldon – this is truly a match made in heaven!
The next day, Penny tries to talk to Leonard, but his puppy dog eyes shame her into foregoing the chat for sex. Sigh. When is this girl gonna learn! Hopefully soon.
The subplot of this ep was Howard getting picked on by his fellow astronauts at the ISS – having to clean the space toilet (didn't he invent that thing? Should have made it self-cleaning), them sticking an alien mask outside his window, and drawing on his face in his sleep. Howard is an easy target, so that's not cool…but I found the space pranks pretty funny. Especially the alien mask outside his window! I imagine things can get a little boring up there, this is a good way to liven it up. Howard is just going to have to man up and dish some of it back. The guys can help him! Remember when Sheldon got back at Kripke by bombing his whole office with yucky expanding goop? I'm not saying Howard should cause a diplomatic incident, but there has to be something awesome he can do. Hop to it, writers.
Episode grade: 7 out of 10 soft kitties! I deduct for Penny's lack of a spine.
Best line: "Hammerhead shark? I love that thing." –Sheldon