NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Big Bang Theory” are present in this review
The Big Bang Theory’s penultimate Season Ten episode finally allowed the story to decently pick up again this week, even if the latest episode still suffered from some noticeably undercooked subplots. “The Gyroscopic Collapse” pretty blatantly brushed aside the ongoing gyroscope sensor storyline that was first started towards the end of last season, and instead seemed to start building towards its latest excuse for interim events that will unfold off-screen while the show is off for the Summer months.
Things begin with the guys coming into their gyroscope lab to see that all of their research and equipment was taken away in the middle of the night. With the classified area now empty, Leonard, Howard and Sheldon confront Colonel Williams over video chat, with Williams revealing that the U.S. Army took away their stuff, and that’s all that will be said about it. Did the guys succeed? Did they fail? Did the military just decide to stop funding the project? They don’t know, and nor do we.
Building a storyline around this uncertainty isn’t a bad idea, especially when the guys celebrate the apparent completion of their work the night before, only to be unceremoniously shoved aside the following day. Howard gets hit particularly hard, becoming clingy and overly affectionate toward Bernadette, which does at least reasonably call back to some of Howard’s past behaviour whenever he’s concluded projects earlier in The Big Bang Theory’s history, such as his trip to space for example.
The problem however is that this storyline is brought up pretty suddenly, and then hastily brushed aside, before much of a conflict can truly develop. All we see is Howard being mildly annoying to Bernadette a few times, and Bernadette finally pointing out to Howard that he doesn’t do well with professional transition. Rather than try and grow however, Howard simply points out that Bernadette does the same thing, and they simply decide to have sex and forget about it. Honestly, this was pretty unsatisfying, and marked the latest instance of The Big Bang Theory quite clearly taking the easy way out with its storytelling. Howard and Bernadette once again just felt like they didn’t have anything useful to do this week.
Another surprisingly underdeveloped storyline comes from Raj moving out of Leonard’s and Penny’s apartment. He just kind of… Leaves, and that’s it. Apparently, Raj was told that Bert had a spare room to rent out off-screen, and that’s just the end of it. You do see him carrying boxes with Leonard and Sheldon for a bit, but this merely ends up being overtaken by the core Sheldon/Amy storyline, with Raj quite literally pushed out the door and forgotten about. I’m guessing that the show wants to give Bert more appearances as a proper part of the group next season, hence why the writers came up with the excuse of Raj moving in with him. This also however stinks of the writers thinking that having Raj live with Leonard and Penny was a good idea, then realizing that they didn’t know where to go with this story hook, after already writing it in. Raj’s move out to Bert’s place was too quick and sudden, and had this already weak recurring story with Raj’s new independent living situation ending on a pretty lame shrug. Moreover, Raj must make decent money at CalTech. Why the hell can he (even if he has to enlist Stuart as a roommate), not afford the quite clearly empty apartment in the same building?!
Fortunately, the main Sheldon/Amy storyline was better, and did set up an interesting conflict for the two, as well as an interesting way to keep developing the canon of the show, even between Season Ten and Season Eleven. When Amy gets a prestigious research opportunity at Princeton, the rest of the group is thrilled for her, though this also means that she will have to live in New Jersey for months. Since that’s the opposite side of the country, Sheldon starts realizing just how dependent he is on Amy, and both he and the rest of the group wonder how he’s supposed to function during this time with Amy away.
This is actually a very interesting idea, especially since it would mean that Sheldon is living alone while Amy is gone. We probably won’t see most of what happens here, since it will no doubt take place off-screen between the end of this season and the start of next season, but this does present a reasonably promising excuse to help mature Sheldon a little bit more. This storyline also definitely had the best humour to boot, since the other jokes throughout this episode are once again pretty milquetoast and uninspired. Fortunately, Jim Parsons was back on his comedic A-game this week, after it seemed like Sheldon was saddled with weaker humour over the past couple of episodes.
“The Gyroscopic Collapse” did well enough in terms of setting up next week’s season finale for The Big Bang Theory, and setting up key events to string this season and next season together. Raj moving out, the gyroscope project being yanked and Howard having an emotional collapse was all way too underdeveloped though. Hurting this further was the fact that many of the jokes outside of the main Sheldon/Amy plot weren’t really that funny, even if the idea of Raj moving in with Bert has potential for next season, assuming that the writers don’t squander that like they did Raj’s time living with Leonard and Penny. I am looking forward to the potential idea of Bert being a larger part of the show’s ensemble though, since he’s often been a good ace-in-the-hole in an otherwise weak season of The Big Bang Theory. Maybe promoting him to a bigger star in Season Eleven is what this show requires for a much-needed creative boost.
The Big Bang Theory brushed aside several ongoing storylines too quickly this week, but at least presented a good idea for Sheldon's and Amy's next big conflict.
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THE GOOD STUFF
Sheldon having to figure out how to get by without Amy
Some decent fallout from the guys having their project yanked
Welcome prospect of Bert being a bigger part of the show
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
Raj moving out is treated like an afterthought
Howard's emotional issues are barely developed, and not properly resolved