Image Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBSSo, best episode of the season, right? Yeah, it was a smidge gimmicky to construct a Big Bang Theory story around the discovery of a genuine One Ring prop ring from The Lord of the Rings (ringy ring ring), but it easily netted a jackpot of full-body guffaws from this particular viewer, and I have a feeling most of y’all as well. Everyone in the cast had a showcase moment (or several), the story played beautifully off each character’s particular quirks, and Penny finally got to give Sheldon the knuckle sandwich he’s deserved for nigh on three seasons
It all started with a clever bit of we’re-a-fellowship-on-a-quest foreshadowing, namely Sheldon explaining to Leonard that in their “ragtag band of scientists with nothing to lose,” Sheldon is the Smart One, Howard is the Funny One, Raj is the Lovable Foreigner Who Struggles To Understand Our Ways And Fails, and Leonard is the Muscle. Hence why Leonard alone had to bear the burden of the box of geektastic tchotchkes they had just purchased for $60 at a local garage sale — a garage sale they discovered after following a man they thought was Adam West.
“Who’s Adam West?” asked Penny.
“Who’s Adam West?!” exclaimed Sheldon. “Leonard, what do the two of you talk about after the coitus?” (The coitus! Love it!)
Before Leonard could answer, Howard chimed in: “My guess is, ‘Hey, four minutes, new record!'” And immediately, I knew it was going to be a good night indeed.
(How much you wanna bet that the show’s prop master just walked into a random BBT writer’s office and snagged what was on the shelves to fill that box?)
After Howard did a quick bit of sleuthing with his contact in the “seedy underbelly of the collectors world” (i.e. his friend Edde Chrisbo), he learned that the LOTR One Ring they found in their treasure box was no replica, but one of the nine actual One Rings forged for the trilogy, and the only one stolen from the set. And even though we could all immediately see where this would all lead, it didn’t make the journey there any less hysterical.
Raj wanted to sell it so he could buy a jetski, because wealthy and beautiful people in movies ride them. Sheldon wanted to keep it, love it, polish it, and occasionally take it out to the park so they could reenact their favorite scenes from the movies. (For the record, I’m with Howard on this one — that actually did sound like fun. Hey, there’s a reason I write the recap for this show.) Leonard, ever the upstanding Frodo, wanted to return it to Peter Jackson. And Howard wanted to use it to blackmail Peter Jackson into landing a role as a hobbit in The Hobbit.
So, naturally, they give it to Penny for safekeeping until they could sort out what to do, resulting in a priceless bit of physical comedy after Sheldon snuck into Leonard’s bedroom to snatch the ring from Penny’s neck with a remote grabber stick thingie. (Seriously, what is that thing called?) (Also, is anyone else really bugged by how tiny Leonard’s bed is?) (And did anyone else notice the rather, ahem, suggestive pose of the framed superhero portrait hanging on Leonard’s wall?) When Penny woke up to the sight of Sheldon perched directly over her, she socked it to Sheldon somethin’ fierce, and Kaley Cuoco made the most of making it seem like Penny took advantage of the opportunity more than she simply reacted on instinct.
The incident, however, compelled Penny to return the ring to Leonard, which Sheldon promptly stole out of Leonard’s pocket. Leonard, Howard, and Raj all tried to grab it back, and the foursome ended up in a quasi Hands on a Hard Body standoff — the last person touching the ring got to decide its fate. By the way, I especially appreciated how everyone in the lunch room was staring at the boys as they fought over the ring; so often sitcom background extras behave as if the lead characters’ completely bizarre behavior is perfectly normal. Although, at this point, that kind of behavior actually is perfectly normal for the Big Bang quartet, so maybe the extras actually should’ve just turned back to their fake meals. But I digress.
As I said before, this episode deftly fixed the spotlight on each of the characters, but it was a particularly choice half hour for Raj, from the sight of him rubbing a drawn-on penis off of an Aquaman action figure to his matter-of-fact command for the boys to plié so Leonard could reach his dropped keys. (I also chuckled when Raj’s cousin in Mumbai looked into his webcam from the side, as if that would make it easier to see Raj.) Once Leonard dropped out of the One Ring standoff to take advantage of whatever Penny had just purchased at Victoria’s Secret, Raj gleefully started baiting Howard about his mother. Which led to Howard baiting Raj about his mother, which led to both of them baiting Sheldon about his true precious: His Memaw, specifically that she had had sex, and liked it. Brilliant. (My vote to play Memaw: Cloris Leachman.)
After a pee break that likely ruined Howard’s suede shoes, the boys finally succumbed to sleep on the couch. Howard let go of the One Ring first. Then Raj, so he could better cuddle with Howard. (They are so Merry and Pippin.) Triumphant, Sheldon retreated to the bathroom to polish and wash his newest prized possession, only to discover that he had literally transformed into Gollum, and that it was all, in fact, just a (hilarious) dream. Leonard had actually snatched it while they had all slept, and told his friends that he’d mailed it back to Peter Jackson, with an extra helping of heavy-handed guilt about doing the right thing. Instead, like Frodo on Mount Doom, Leonard gave in to the Ring’s power and kept it for himself, only to fight for it anew with the Gollum-esque Sheldon the next night. Unlike Samwise, Penny chose to walk away from them both, muttering that she should just go back to dating jocks from the gym.
Clearly, the best episode of the season so far. Do you agree, Big Bang theorists? What was your favorite moment? How did it compare to the LOTR episode of South Park? Do you think the writers were trying to tell us something about Raj’s sexuality, or was it simply another example of the lovable foreigner struggling to understand our ways and failing? And did anyone else kinda want to see how the foursome managed to get in and out of a car, let alone drive it?