NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of The Big Bang Theory are present in this review
Despite stumbling a bit last week, The Big Bang Theory rebounded beautifully with its midseason finale, “The Opening Night Excitation” this week. Rather than do a Christmas episode, the show instead tied into the imminent release of the monstrously anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens to theatres, while also wonderfully capitalizing on Sheldon and Amy getting back together after the events of last week, and also mining lots of superb jokes from the fine line between sex and big franchises to the geek crowd.
Yes, you read that right. This midseason finale finally has Sheldon and Amy doing the dirty deed, after many, many years! It feels like they only started kissing a year or two ago, and finally, it’s come time to reach that point. The moment came as a very funny shock too, when Sheldon recounts gift ideas to Penny, with an unfeasible orchestra session, a dull wool festival, and then sex as the last one. Hearing that surprise even had Penny break her wine glass in her hand, due to sheer shock, which was very amusing!
This of course spun from Sheldon having to make the difficult decision to miss the premiere night of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, since it falls on Amy’s birthday, with Leonard, Howard and Raj attending the movie without him, instead giving Sheldon’s ticket to Wil Wheaton. Initially, Sheldon is tempted to blow off Amy’s birthday to see the movie, though a helpful appearance by the late Professor Proton, appropriately in Jedi garb, helps convince him that he can see the movie at any time, but he doesn’t know how much time he has with Amy.
Speaking of, it was wonderful to see Professor Proton make a return for this midseason finale, especially when his typical exasperation toward being a spiritual guiding figure to Sheldon comes out in full force again. When Sheldon inquires about sex with Amy, he even tries to kill himself with his lightsaber, only to unfortunately discover that he’s already dead, and the lightsaber just passes through him, to which he replies, “Worth a shot.” Bob Newhart was hysterical once again, and it’s always a pleasure to see him on this show, even after his character is supposed to have passed away. Still, making him a spiritual device that lives on through Sheldon’s sub-conscious is a surprisingly inspired move, and one that continues to pay off very well.
The rest of the episode jumps between Amy and Sheldon, and the guys at the movie, after Penny and Bernadette tip Amy off that Sheldon plans to have sex with her for her birthday, while Leonard, Howard and Raj attend Star Wars: The Force Awakens on opening night, with Wil hilariously showing up in a Star Trek costume, getting boos from the rest of the movie’s attendees. Wil says however that he does it to rile up people who take the movie far too seriously, and that ultimately, it’s just a movie, and everyone’s life will be the same when it’s over. This has the group comically trading apprehension about whether the movie is even good, or whether they’ve built it up too much in their minds, and that will automatically set them up to be disappointed.
This meshed incredibly well with the Sheldon/Amy plot, as Amy admitted that she also had been building up sex with Sheldon in her mind so much, that she fessed up to worrying about setting herself up for disappointment. Even Sheldon’s apprehension was amusingly displayed to good effect, as he kept doubting that Amy truly wanted sex, before both of them came to the understanding that they’d find out if sex with each other is any good, together. It was a beautiful and well-earned moment, and fortunately, all was well for both parties. Wil admitted to liking Star Wars: The Force Awakens more than he thought he would, and Leonard, Howard and Raj all comically looked positively orgasmic in the seats beside him, with Raj commenting that he couldn’t even get up.
Meanwhile, Sheldon and Amy looked nicely satisfied themselves, with Sheldon saying that he also liked sex more than he thought he would, and that should make it easier to do it a second time on Amy’s next birthday, which Amy says sounds good to her. Things then rounded off nicely with a very funny epilogue, where Professor Proton appears to Sheldon at night again, and asks how it went, with Sheldon thinking Professor Proton is instead talking about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which he saw with Amy a few days later. It was a brilliant way to end a brilliant midseason finale!
“The Opening Night Excitation” is far and away the best episode of Season Nine to date, and was equal parts brilliant, funny and heartwarming. This was a fantastic note to end The Big Bang Theory’s 2015 run on, especially with how well it tied into the long-awaited release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which, amazingly, worked even better here than a Christmas backdrop would have! It’s a particularly brave new world for Sheldon and Amy, now that Sheldon has finally lost his virginity, and the two have found intimacy with each other. Hopefully, it won’t be too long then before Sheldon finally pops the question in 2016!
- Clever, hilarious tie-in to Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Inspired parallels between sex and big franchise hype
- Professor Proton's standout return as Sheldon's spiritual guide