The Big Bang Theory season 8 premiered last night with two new episodes: “The Locomotion Interruption” and “The Junior Professor Solution.”
At the end of last season, too many changes in his life (Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) getting engaged, the university refusing to let him change his field of research, and the comic book store burned down) caused Sheldon (Jim Parsons) to flee from Pasadena by boarding a train. The only problem is that he didn’t know where he was going.
The Locomotion Interruption
Episode 1 beings with Sheldon inadvertently harassing passengers at a train station in Kingman, Arizona. It’s been 45 days since he left, and now we find Sheldon with no pants and only one sock as he tries to ask the people around him for help. Of course, most people think he’s simply crazy and get away from him as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, for poor Sheldon, he was robbed on the train and had all of his belongings stolen. Eventually, he gets picked up by the police and calls Leonard to come pick him up. Leonard reluctantly agrees and gets Amy (Mayim Bialik) to come along with him. Amy, of course, isn’t too thrilled to not have been her boyfriend’s first phone call, especially after he left without saying goodbye.
When the two arrive in Arizona, Leonard is met with a big hug from Sheldon while Amy is told by Sheldon that he calls shotgun. Tensions continue to flare in the car when Amy confronts Sheldon about not calling her instead of Leonard and he confides in her that he didn’t want to seem like he’d failed. Amy tells him that he never expects him to be perfect, which Sheldon takes offense from and tells Leonard that he wants to break up with her.
What else is happening?
Well, Penny has an interview for a pharmaceutical rep position at Bernadette’s (Melissa Rauch) company – an interview which she is incredibly nervous over. Bernadette does her best to boost Penny’s spirits, but when Penny finally arrives for the interview, only a few questions from Bernadette’s boss convince her that she is completely wrong for the position. Ironically, however, Penny bonds with her boss over their mutual fear of Bernadette, both agreeing that though Bernadette is tiny, she’s terrifying.
Howard (Simon Helberg) picks Raj (Kunal Nayyar) up for an outing and asks Raj what’s wrong his car. Raj admits that he’s having his windows un-tinted because, now that he has a girlfriend, he wants all the “haters” to see him with her. The two make a pit stop at Howard’s mother’s home where Mrs. Wolowitz (voice of Carol Ann Susi) and Stuart (Kevin Sussman) have grown incredibly close, even going so far as to call each other by cute pet names. Howard is disgusted by this and eventually gets into a confrontation with Stewart who accuses Howard of never calling his mother: a fact which Raj agrees with.
When Leonard, Sheldon, and Amy arrive back at the apartment, the other friends are waiting for them. When Sheldon walks in, he takes one look at Penny’s new short hairdo and declares that it’s too much change for him to handle and runs out of the apartment.
The Junior Professor Solution
The university’s human resources department tells Sheldon that if he wants to change his field of research, his only option is to become a junior professor. But, Sheldon is quick to point out that this would mean he’d have to teach a class – a fact that he is not thrilled about one bit.
Penny, surprisingly, landed the job at Bernadette’s company (and it’s nice to see some actual development with Penny. Hopefully the writers will let her keep the job and actually get somewhere after eight seasons of staying the same) and Bernadette insists that Penny go over the material she was provided with before her first day. Penny insists that they’re going to teach her everything that she needs to know. Bernadette wonders why Penny wouldn’t want to be over prepared for the first day and impress everyone there?
Amy sees the friction between Penny and Bernadette as an opportunity to play both sides and be “the popular girl” in the metaphorical high school. Eventually, Penny and Bernadette work through their issues, much to the chagrin of Amy who’s been enjoying being each girl’s mutual confidante.
No one signs up for Sheldon’s class because of his bad reputation around campus. Howard offers to take his class because he’s been thinking about going for his doctorate. Sheldon thinks that Howard isn’t smart enough to take a graduate level physics course, which leads him to asking Howard a series of physics-related questions to test his knowledge. Later on, Sheldon tries to prepare a lesson plan that he know will stump Howard, in order to prove, once-and-for-all, that Howard isn’t as smart. His motivation behind these actions could be attributed to Howard claiming that “engineers are just as smart as physicists,” a statement which makes Sheldon gasp and demand that he take it back.
In their first class, Howard tells Sheldon that he’s on to his plan after speaking with Leonard. Sheldon, however, is still bent on humiliating Howard by proving that he knows nothing about physics. Howard decides that if Sheldon is going to be a bad teacher, then he’s going to be a bad student and starts listening to his iPod. After Sheldon demands more respect from his one student, Howard launches a spitball that flies right into Sheldon’s mouth and down his throat. Sheldon, being the hypochondriac that he is, files a complaint with human resources, which forces Howard to drop his class.
Back at Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment, after Leonard is done checking Sheldon’s uvula for an STD, Howard tells Sheldon that it’s easy to stump someone on a subject that they aren’t entirely familiar with. He continues by saying that Sheldon doesn’t know everything about engineering and strives to prove that fact by asking him a series of engineering questions, until he thinks that he’s asked one that Sheldon doesn’t know. As it turns out, Sheldon is just coughing up the spit ball, much to his joy.
The Big Bang Theory season 8, episode 3 “The First Pitch Insufficiency” will air Monday, September 29 at 8/7C on CBS.