The Bon Voyage Reaction
Original Air Date: May 16, 2013
Kym Hoopes – Senior Reviewer
Raj starts us off in the season finale with his latest awkward date with Lucy and why the guys have yet to meet her when Howard shows up at the lunch table with some good news for Leonard. Stephen Hawking is leading an expedition to the North Sea and is short an experimental physicist. Howard has recommended Leonard for the position. Clearly this does not sit well with Sheldon as he immediately tries to discourage Leonard from going.
While it’s true that the unnamed characters in red shirts do not usually fare well on Star Trek – it was Sheldon that gave Leonard that designation. I think he’d do just fine.
But first, let’s talk about Raj. He has Lucy over to his apartment to show her the Space Station with his telescope and tell her Howard was there as a lead in to seeing if she might be ready to meet them. All of them at once is clearly too many, but she’s even nervous about meeting them one at a time. When he broached the group about it there’s a great deal of discussion over who should be the first but I think Amy is right – she’s the best choice. She’s the one with the greatest understanding of the fear involved in being the new person in the group. She’s also probably the least intimidating. And I think she does well too. It’s Raj and his over-protection of Lucy, and his question about their relationship status, that finally sends her running to the bathroom. I wonder if it has a window? In their next conversation Raj apologizes for pushing too hard and suggests that one on one meetings may be a bad idea since it puts too much of the focus on her and he talks her into coming to the Bon Voyage party for Leonard.
Speaking of Leonard, Sheldon’s attempts to scare him with stories of drowning and sharks don’t phase him, but his “signature blend of concern…and incredible selfishness” hits the mark when he mentions how well things have been going lately for Penny and Leonard and questions if it will survive a four-month separation. Leonard breaks the news to Penny over dinner and she does seem bothered by him being gone for four months, but points out that it would be hard for him to screw things up on a ship in the middle of the North Sea. To her credit, she also tells him he has to go. It’s too good of an opportunity to pass up. She just seems reluctant to look after Sheldon while he’s gone – especially after what happened with the goldfish, but Leonard just tells her if anything happens to flush him down the toilet and get a new one. Good one, Leonard. As for the others, they insist he needs a going away party, even though he doesn’t want one. Sheldon turns to working on Penny to get her to keep him from going and the truth comes out. Sheldon’s jealous of Leonard. She tells him that even when they’re jealous, friends support each other and that he should be happy for Leonard, even if he has to pretend. Finally, it’s party night. It’s a bit awkward to start with. Howard’s feeling competitive about “space” versus “water” and Raj is worried because Lucy hasn’t shown up yet. Sheldon even toasts Leonard’s success and tries to be happy for him. Everyone appreciates how hard that was for him and Howard even tries to steal that one too. Yes Howard, space is more impressive, but let Leonard be the center of attention for a few minutes. It’s okay. Until Lucy breaks up with Raj via text message, when the attention shifts to his heartbreak and brings a crashing halt to the party. A very sweet goodbye at the airport the next day is marred by Sheldon’s concern that they’re parked in the red zone, then Leonard’s off to sea and Penny stops to check on Raj on the way home. He’s devastated. He’s crying, And he’s talking to Penny without any alcohol. This is a breakthrough. Unfortunately, now they can’t shut him up.
Wow, what a way to leave us for the summer. Will we get to see any of Leonard on his expedition next fall? Or will he just be getting back when the new season begins? And what about Raj and Lucy? Do you think he’s got a shot at winning her back? As for his newfound ability to talk to the girls – I think I’ve seen him do it before, in group settings, without anyone realizing it, but I’m really glad he’s aware now that he doesn’t need the alcohol to talk to them. I think he should go out and test it with strangers. See if he can talk to any woman, or just the ones he thinks of as friends. It would really be helpful to his potential with Lucy if his judgment wasn’t always clouded by alcohol around her.