I feel fairly certain the The Big Bang Theory is the only television show to ever feature tri-dimensional chess outside of the Star Trek universe. I am absolutely positive it is the only time character said to another "It must be satisfying to suck on so many levels" while playing said tri-dimensional chess. Dear God-who-doesn’t-need-a-starship, I do love this show. It fills me with nerd glee!

But even more, I love how the opener is still more than a well crafted scene of throw away gags, because just as Sheldon puts Leonard in 3D checkmate, Penny arrives to pick up her mail. It seems she had gone home to Nebraska to visit her family, where she reveals everyone took ill. Sheldon’s OCD kicks into overdrive and he sprints to defcon 2 and his germ recording notebook, grilling Penny for all the details before summarily dismissing her within a cloud of Lysol spray.  Oh yes, he’s one of those types. Except worse, because he’s soon using lime jell-o to create petri dishes in which to grow throat cultures so he can track his eventual illness’s progress. 

And sure enough, the next morning he is sick and calling for Leonard. Leonard, on the other hand, is hurriedly pulling on pants and running for the front door. He isn’t even down to the lobby yet before Sheldon is calling him to tell him he is ill. Leonard begs off with a lie about being at work, which seems unlikely given that it is 6:30 on a Sunday, but we learned last week how good Sheldon is with falsehoods. Leonard puts in a call to Howard to him know they are at code ‘milky green’ – the color of Sheldon’s sputum. Apparently, this is a well known phenomena, and one to avoid at that.

Leonard, Howard and Rajesh all decide to hide out at a movie theater showing a Planet of the Apes marathon. While Sheldon seeks refuge and soup, at the restaurant Penny works in. Which I refuse to categorize as The Cheesecake Factory, because it clearly is not. But, he is soon disturbing all the other patrons by asking their opinions about the color of his mucus, so Penny takes him home. Meanwhile, back at the movie theater, Howard has stepped on Leonard’s glasses, leaving him blind.

Leonard shows that he isn’t as lovesick as he was at the start of the season, as he sells Penny down the river not once, but twice, by faking Chernobyl type accidents at work. This means that Penny gets to spend at least a few hours caring for Sheldon by rubbing Vicks on his chest (counter clockwise, so his chest hair won’t mat, while singing a song about a fluffy kitty) and answering his beck and call. But when Leonard tries to sneak into the apartment to get his spare glasses, Penny exacts her revenge by cheerfully calling out to Sheldon that Leonard has returned to take care of him while running out the door. Leonard tries to follow her and runs into a column in the living room instead, which ends out episode with both boys unable to leave the couch.

I think it was the best episode yet. The are integrating the other characters a little more each episode, with Howard and Rajesh hiding out with Leonard in the movie theater and helping him construct an elaborate set of protocols to get into and out of his apartment undetected. The writing is also becoming sharper, with a combination of geek and science references that are solidly entertaining.  Here’s my favorites from this week:

Sheldon: (holding a measuring cup) Can you put this in the bathroom. I want to measure my fluid intake and outflow so I can monitor the function of my kidneys.
Leonard: I mix pancake batter in that!

Penny: Why didn’t you just have soup at home?
Sheldon: Penny, I have an IQ of 187. Don’t you imagine that if there were a way for me to have soup at home, I would have thought of it?
Penny: You can have soup delivered.
Sheldon: … I didn’t think of that.

Howard: Take your stinking paws off my popcorn, you damn dirty ape!

What were some of your favorite moments? Did you believe that Leonard wouldn’t run to Penny’s aid? And who else wants one of those tiny wire cameras they slid under the door?

Posted by:Jessica Paff