The boys, and Penny, rally to Sheldon's aid when a bully hacks his World of Warcraft account. But Priya is not exactly thrilled.

By Adam B. Vary
April 01, 2011 at 11:01 AM EDT
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Once again, this season of The Big Bang Theory has proved delightfully adept at creating a Sheldon-centric story line that doesn’t rely on the old pattern of Sheldon driving everyone crazy, and still gives the other characters chances to shine in their own right. It was downright heartwarming to see everyone rally to Sheldon’s side after his beloved World of Warcraft account, on which he’s spent some 3,000 hours, was hacked by a cyber-bully. Sheldon was so beside himself, he called the police (after the FBI were no help). “What kind of world do we live in where a man would take another man’s battle ostrich?” Sheldon lamented. What kind of world indeed.

Quickly, the Big Bang foursome launched into action, scouring the vast expanses of Azeroth to find the culprit. At one point, Raj came close to sacrificing his (female) character’s honor to extract information out of a black-market dealer in WoW contraband — that is to say, Raj was prepared to have sex with him. Having never played this game myself — I know, bad geek, but MMORPGs have never been my forte — I was unaware that one could partake of virtual coitus within it, but that makes perfect sense if you think for even five seconds about who makes up the game’s main player base.

I digress. Howard was able to track down the culprit to one Todd Zarnecki, resident of Carlsbad, Calif. (which, in a rare instance of Big Bang imprecision about such things, is 35 miles north of San Diego). They all drove down to Carlsbad to confront Todd Zarnecki — Sheldon was so filled with rage, he even brought his Klingon bat’leth. Alas, Todd Zarnecki proved to be a bit of a giant and snapped Sheldon’s bat’leth away from him. So much for confrontation. But then the boys’ car broke down, and Penny swooped in to save them twice over, first with a ride home, and then by driving back to Todd Zarnecki’s house, announcing that “today’s the day a girl’s finally going to touch you in your little special place,” and then kicking him square in the nuts. Boom.

NEXT: The Priya/Penny/Leonard love triangle, and Tanzanian chimpanzees

But wait, why did Leonard call Penny for help and not Priya? Oh, right, because the story arc for the rest of the season is how much Priya is wrong for Leonard and Penny is right for him. For last night’s episode, that meant a subplot about Priya’s frustration with Leonard spending all his time geeking out over WoW, and Leonard subsequently lying to her about driving down to Carlsbad to confront Todd Zarnecki. On the one hand, this particular plot-line has not been exactly compelling — since Priya’s barely been developed as a character, I barely care about whether she stays with Leonard or not, especially since I’m pretty confident in presuming she won’t. On the other hand, the plot-line has also allowed Bernadette and Amy Farrah Fowler in particular to flourish as the newest additions to the Big Bang ensemble as the characters rally to Penny’s side. I feel like a broken record with my regular praise for the marvelous work Mayim Bialik has done developing Amy this season, but the look of clandestine relish on Amy’s face as she partook of some Kahlua with her ice cream was all kinds of delish.

BEST SCENE

While I did enjoy the scenes of the Big Bang boys hunched over their laptops, I’ve got to hand it once again to the ladies, whose powwow over ice cream and Kahlua provided more laughs per minute than any other scene.

BEST SCIENCE

Well, more like only science: Amy’s discussion of the study of Tanzanian chimpanzees out of Kyoto University — and, as if there was any doubt, there actually is a study of Tanzanian chimpanzees out of Kyoto University — provided the empirical basis for Amy and Bernadette’s attempts to get Penny to shun and ostracize Priya for her ill-mannered behavior. To Penny’s credit, she rejected this notion and invited Priya to join the gals for a drink (“Because I do that now,” grinned Amy). But Priya turned them down, and later gave Penny the silent treatment as they trudged up the apartment complex’s stairs. In a clear sign of personal evolution, Penny concluded that she did indeed want to throw her poo at Priya.

BEST GEEKERY

Duh, World of Warcraft, about which my fiancé turned to me during last night’s episode, and said, “If you ever start playing that, I’m going to run over your computer with my car.” Had Priya had leveled that kind of comic hostility towards the game, she would have proven to be a far more interesting character.

BEST LINES/EXCHANGES

Sheldon, post-“robbery”: There isn’t enough chamomile tea in the world to quell the rage in my heart.

Penny: I’m sorry Sheldon, I know that game meant a lot to you.

Sheldon: “That game?”

Sheldon, after Penny gives him day-old cheesecake for comfort: Stale pastry is hollow succor to a man who is bereft of ostrich.

Penny: Just say thank you.

Sheldon: I thought I just did.

Bernadette: I took Howard to the beach once. He almost burst into flames like a vampire.

What did you make of “The Zarnecki Incursion,” Big Bang theorists? Are you finding the Priya/Penny/Leonard love triangle to be a bit…boring? Did you get the strange feeling that the show was planting a seed for future episodes when it revealed that Howard’s mom is a savant at Wheel of Fortune? And are you kinda hoping someone’s currently working on a T-shirt that features Sheldor sitting astride his battle ostrich?

Adam on Twitter

Episode Recaps

Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, Raj, and Wolowitz, Amy, Bernadette—the gang keeps growing. Bazinga!
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