Who knew that a quest to find something as nerdy as Bitcoin could be so much fun? Thanks to several flashbacks from seven years ago, we get to spend a few minutes with The Big Bang Theory cast back when Bernadette worked at the Cheesecake Factory, Howard lived upstairs, and Mrs. Wolowitz gruffly shouted for her son to stop roughhousing with his “little friends.” Was it just me, or did Mrs. Wolowitz’s bellowing make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?
It’s the present day and Sheldon is interested in hearing his friends’ reactions to the article he sent them this morning. It seems that a single Bitcoin is worth five thousand dollars. The guys are eagerly shocked since they mined Bitcoin seven years ago. They’re rich!
Thankfully, this is the part of the episode when Howard breaks it down for those of us who may not know what Bitcoin is or does. Allow me to explain in the simplest way possible: Bitcoin is online money, but you can’t see it, hold it, or spend it on anything. And seven years ago, Howard, Leonard, and Raj wrote a program (read: mined) to obtain this invisible money. Sheldon complained about an inevitable hassle with the IRS, so the others kick him out of the group.
Fast-forward to 2017. Howard digs out his old laptop while Raj dreams about buying a tiger with his newfound cash. Unfortunately, the Bitcoin is not on the laptop. It’s back to 2010, and we see Howard at his computer with Raj and Leonard close behind. Raj wants to sing a mining song but can’t think of anything other than Kesha’s — er, Ke$ha’s — earworm “Tik Tok.” It’s a solid 2010 joke, but I’m a little disappointed he didn’t break into a hearty rendition of “Heigh-Ho.”
Due to the fact that Howard’s computer is slow because of all the “music” he has downloaded, Leonard offers his computer. Present-day cheers all around! Leonard gave that computer to Penny. To the apartment!
The guys interrupt a very important wedding planning conversation between Penny, Sheldon, and Amy. Who cares if Sheldon thinks a cliffside wedding is both too cliffy and too beachy? Where’s the laptop? They need to cash this coin and see a man about a tiger.
Penny sheepishly confesses that she gave the laptop to Zack. Remember him? Tall, dark, handsome, and dumb as a bag of rocks? Flash back to 2010. The scene? The Cheesecake Factory. Bernadette is behind the bar, Penny is waiting on a weirdo named Amy Farrah Fowler (brilliant), and Raj can’t talk to women. I love it.
Leonard lets Penny have his computer since he’s getting a new one. Penny gives it to Zack during one of her breakups with Leonard. In the present day, the guys try to piece the timeline together. Was this the St. Valentine’s Day breakup? Or Comic-Con Dumpathon? Whatever. Time is wasting. Penny calls Zack, who thankfully still has the computer. Because you never give away anything away someone so special gave you.
Cue Leonard irritated that Penny would give his computer to Zack — though his anger is assuaged a bit when Zack admits that Penny used to talk about Leonard all the time. In fact, he has a video about how much she missed Leonard when they were broken up. On that very computer. Suddenly, Bitcoin takes a back seat to a video of a drunken Penny having trouble “’splaining” why she broke up with him. P.S. Having Hofstadter as a last name doesn’t help. Who can remember where the “D” goes? Amen, sister.
Penny and Leonard finally get back to the apartment with the correct laptop. Howard announces that the Bitcoin folder is empty. Sheldon pops up, giggling at his clever revenge. He downloaded the Bitcoin on the Batman flash drive that Leonard carries around on his keychain. The same keychain that Leonard lost several years ago.
After eyeing his seething friends, Sheldon stands tall and tells the group that they have all learned a valuable lesson. He just can’t come up with one right now.
As for me, I’ll always have the lesson I learned from Penny: Spelling is a sober girl’s game.
PENNY: I can’t believe you’re mad.
LEONARD: I’m not mad.
PENNY: Oh really? Tell that to your eyebrows.