The Big Bang Theory Finale Explication (AKA 'Burning Questions Answered')

The following contains spoilers from Thursday night’s Big Bang Theory season finale.

When all was said and done, The Big Bang Theory‘s Season 5 finale was, quite literally, out of this world, as Howard “Froot Loops” Wolowitz blasted off into space – but not before tying the knot with Bernadette in an impromptu, makeshift (and quite sweet) rooftop wedding. And the final scene, as TVLine first told you, probably had more than one viewer out there letting slip with a big, “Awww.”

But what happens next for the Big Bang gang? For how long will Howie be a space case? Will Leonard and Penny ever be heading for their own wedding? And what was the significance of that (gasp) PDA between Sheldon and Amy? Here is what series boss Bill Prady shared during a recent press Q&A.

WILL WE SEE HOWARD IN SPACE NEXT SEASON? | That all depends on how much time – some, or none – will have lapsed on-screen between seasons. “But we’ve talked about the possibility of coming back and discovering that Howard’s still in space,” Prady said. In fact, as an added wrinkle, “The possibility exists that something could interfere with the schedule of his return.” Fun fact: The replica Soyuz Capsule built for TBBT is on display at the Beverly Hills Paley Center’s “Television: Out of the Box” exhibit.

WHERE WILL THE NEWLYWEDS LIVE? | “One of the things we have absolutely not resolved is what their living situation will be,” Prady shared. The options include 1) commandeering the master bedroom at Ma’s house, or 2) getting their own place yet still finding three’s a crowd as “Mrs. Wolowitz moves there temporarily because her house is being tented.” (OK, we kinda love that last idea.)

WILL THE NEWLYWEDS GET A BIG WEDDING NEXT SEASON? | At most, we might get invited to the reception Bernadette wanted to have once Howard returns from the final frontier – but only if it offers up a fun storyline. “If it all just simply went well, then we’d just hear about it: ‘Wasn’t that lovely?’”CAN LEONARD AND PENNY REBOUND FROM THE MID-COITUS PROPOSITION? | “They could …. They could not,” Prady hedged. “They could say, ‘This is crazy. Let’s just stop this,’ or they could say, ‘Let’s push forward.’ They have very strong feelings for each other, and their issues have to do with what they currently want in their lives right now. And I don’t think Penny wants to be married. What happened to them this time was… they set up this artificial barrier – ‘We won’t spend time together’ — and then they did, and it was a good time. Rules like that [don't work].”

SHELDON WENT TO HOLD AMY’S HAND AT THE END. WHAT?! | Rest assured, the perfectly matched geek and geekette won’t be going at it like sylvilagus audubonii anytime soon. “There’ll be no changes in [Sheldon], though I think the character is capable of things we haven’t seen,” Prady noted. “That’s an important distinction to make.” (With reporting by Vlada Gelman)

Comments (80)

  • That was a hugely crappy ending to the big bang therory season finale. there was no cliff hanger or anything.

    Comment by william j mazza – May 10, 2012 05:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • There was no reason to have a cliffhanger. I’m loving that the show is being allowed to progress, especially since the progress is so surefooted.

      Comment by CJ – May 10, 2012 05:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • This finale was good, not their funniest but still good and I’ll definitely be back next season.
        I agree, CJ. I’m glad there’s real progress and development going on. It keeps things fresh. Not one character has changed intrinsically, but not one is in the same place they were in season one in their lives. Which is interesting and satisfying from a viewer standpoint.
        I liked that Sheldon grabbed her hand at the end. My mouth dropped open-that was my instant reaction. In fact, I think it was my favorite part of the finale.

        Comment by N. – May 10, 2012 06:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I normally agree that there is no need to have a cliffhanger every season but this finale was a bit lackluster. There was really nothing that made me think, “Wow I can’t wait for next season!” which to me is the whole point of a finale.

        Comment by Ari – May 12, 2012 05:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I agree with this 100%. Season finale’s are supposed to introduce the next season, but this finale brings us nothing new, taking away any feeling of oh my god I need to see the next season.

          Comment by Mitchell – May 17, 2012 08:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Why should finales definitely have cliffhangers? For me, the perfectly finale is one with no cliffhangers at all. They all should end like CSI:Miami, everyone laughing, drinking and enjoying life, taking a break from issues until next season. I’ll be back anyway. I DO NOT like to wait months to see what will happen. It puts me off rather than have me excited. Resolution is the best, really.

      Comment by Barbie Furtado – May 10, 2012 08:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • What do you mean there’s no cliffhanger: Wolowitz went to outer freaking space!!! As in leaving in a rocket and everyhting. This is as huge as when the guys went to the Artic!

      Comment by TV fan – May 10, 2012 09:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • ArCtic!

        Comment by Rock Golf – May 11, 2012 07:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • 12 million viewers, the only thing that did better than The Big Bang Theory was American Idol

          Comment by A.J. – May 11, 2012 06:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Gee, ROCK, you missed “everything” Are you slipping? No one can spell anymore. No one uses spellcheck, text-speak is rampant. If you jump on every mistake, it just makes you look like you’re trying to prove how smart you are. Believe me,…none of us are impressed.

          Comment by Chrissysno – September 7, 2012 03:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Well it’s a cliffhanger but at the same time, you can see it as not a cliffhanger. It makes you wanting more but you’re much more fulfilled and content than a cliffhanger from a show like Supernatural, where they literally just put a BIG mystery in your face at the end of every season. With Howard’s launch, there were no real big mysteries. We know he’s in space now. The only mystery is, “how will the show go on from here?”

        Comment by sunnysideyim – May 11, 2012 07:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Why would you need a cliff hanger, it’s a sit-com, not a drama.

      Comment by Sam Spade – July 13, 2012 07:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Howard flying to space isn’t a cliffhanger?

      Comment by justsomegirl – September 19, 2012 11:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Are you kidding? That was PERFECT. And what bigger cliffhanger is there than shooting one of the leads off into space on a friggin’ fuel-leaking relic?

    Comment by Annie – May 10, 2012 05:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • very beautifully said!!!!

      Comment by Lynn – May 10, 2012 05:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Uh WTF how was that crappy? it was a freaking awesome episode *smh*

    Comment by Lynn – May 10, 2012 05:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Leonard and Penny hand holding at the end was so adorable. I love them so much. They are soul mates. destiny.

    Comment by Nicholas – May 10, 2012 05:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You’re on drugs, “William j Mazza”. That was a terrific ending! Have another bottle of glue.

    Comment by Peter Venkman – May 10, 2012 05:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They blew an opportunity. It would’ve gotten a huge audience reaction if Penny had turned to Leonard during the ceremony and proposed to him.

    Comment by DN – May 10, 2012 06:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I was thinking something like that

      Comment by William j Mazza – May 10, 2012 06:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeah, but that wouldn’t have been true to her character. So I’m glad they didn’t go there.

      Comment by lariet50 – May 10, 2012 06:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Agree completely. Her character isn’t there yet. I hope the writers build slowly on the Leonard/Penny dynamic in S6 – like they have done from the 100th episode and not just break them up again. Only way for characters is forward and not play that whole Ross/Rachel thing to the bitter end

        Comment by Spoiler Junkie – May 10, 2012 08:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The only way Penny proposing to Leonard would work if he responded “Really?” and she then said “No.” and gave him one of her big goofy grins.

      Comment by Edward – May 11, 2012 12:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope they don’t break up Penny and Leondard again, especially since it sounds like it will be for the same reasons as last time. It’s time for Penny to grow up in terms of being in a relationship(she’s grown in so many other ways as she is no longer just “the hot chick from next door” but a fully realized human being..)

    Comment by Josh – May 10, 2012 06:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agreed. If they break up again because of Penny, my next hope will be her character leaving the show. I’ve never really liked Penny, she comes across as insincere and a user of the guys, even now, so I hope they do break up. Leonard needs someone smart and interesting, not her!

      Comment by Gretchen – May 11, 2012 06:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Girl needs to move beyond the Cheesecake Factory. I’m not saying she succeeds in being an actress, but that she finds a job she likes. She’ll be happier, more settled, and her state of mind as to where she wants to be in a relationship might come in line with Leonard’s. I do think they are adorable together. That being said, it would have been awful writing if they went immediately from first time having sex since the breakup to- we’re engaged!

      Comment by Alice – May 11, 2012 01:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • People who gave it an F has no sense of taste

    Comment by Carmichael – May 10, 2012 06:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Sheldon and Amy. Great finale.

    Comment by JoshJacksononOnceuponatimefan – May 10, 2012 06:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hand holding was ok but rooftop view got biger “awww” from this viewer then final shot but it did kinda feel like they were all “there” with Howard so that was nice.

    Comment by Jennifer – May 10, 2012 06:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I gotta know! Is that really going to be visible on Google Earth? Even if the BBT writers didn’t arrange it, you know someone at Google is arranging this…

      Comment by Rock Golf – May 11, 2012 07:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I liked the episode… but the wedding scene was lame… did they really all have to be the officiants?

    Comment by Jackie – May 10, 2012 07:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That’s exactly what I thought.

      Comment by Sande – May 11, 2012 04:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I thought that was what made it such a sweet Awwww moment.

      Comment by suzi – May 11, 2012 06:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Why not? I thought it was sweet.

      Comment by Izzy – March 23, 2013 02:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sheldon held Amy’s hand! What bigger surprise could you ask for???

    Comment by Tessa U – May 10, 2012 07:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My DVR cut off the last minute. ARGH!!! I’ll watch the last bit tomorrow on ABC.

    Comment by Meghan Reed (@meghanmreed) – May 10, 2012 07:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I really enjoyed it. Thought it was very well done and had a real sweetness to it.
    Boldly go Howard Wolowitz. I loved Sheldon taking Amy’s hand (I gasped. That is HUGE for him.) I also notice Amy is saying sexy things about him rather than Penny

    Comment by Tanya (@kirads09) – May 10, 2012 07:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The look on Blossom’s face…oops, I mean Amy’s face…when Sheldon grabbed her hand was priceless. Mayim Bialik deserves an Emmy nom for her performance this year. She was a great addition to the ensemble.

      Comment by dan – May 11, 2012 07:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Awww. Bernadette loves that man! And so does Raj! If someone would’ve told me 5 seasons ago that lucky man would be Howard, I would’ve not believe that.

    Comment by TV fan – May 10, 2012 09:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • A word of warning Bill, I quit watching Cheers because of the on and off and on and off Sam and Diane love affair. Don’t do the same with Leonard and Penny.

    Comment by D Martell – May 10, 2012 09:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The writers definitely overhyped the show, with all that talk of how emotional the final scene would be and that we’d be drying our eyes. I love this show, but I didn’t feel any of that.

    Comment by TV Gord – May 10, 2012 10:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The finale was just okay. The last couple of scenes were meh. It’s not what you expect from BBT. Overall, the episode wasn’t overly funny. It was definitely off the mark.

    Comment by malcom1985 – May 10, 2012 11:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought most of the ep was merely nice, but I’ll admit the last scene had me sniffling. That might be the bravest thing Sheldon’s ever done.

    Comment by Ace – May 10, 2012 11:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My one complaint? Can’t we get an hour-long finale? If freshman sitcoms like 2 Broke Girls get the extra time, surely a finale with a wedding and a freakin’ space launch deserves more time. OTOH, TBBT always ends too quickly for my taste.

    Comment by Tony – May 11, 2012 01:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wonder how much longer they can go see Big Bang Theory runing into the same issue Two and Half Men and House run into they know their character have to change but they don’t want to lose why he like their characters

    Comment by Michael – May 11, 2012 04:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Howard changed, and I like him more for it. The one they need to work in is Raj, they aren’t doing that character justice.

      Comment by Alice – May 11, 2012 01:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • They are going to give Raj a love interest, this coming season. ( It won’t be a traditional one, though)

        Comment by Chrissysno – September 7, 2012 03:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought it was a cute ending to yet another awesome season. I kinda like that Raj and Bernadette were holding hands (not because I want Bernadette to cheat on her new husband hehe but because you can see that even though they went through this little love triangle and what not they are still very close). I was kinda wondering after Leonard and Penny held hands if Sheldon would grab Amy’s or if he would have just taken out the Purell bottle first or what not (though I think those two are close enought he trusts her with her little germs haha!)
    What I wanna see next year is getting Raj some happiness also. Perhaps one of Bernadette’s cousins or whatever. He really really deserves someone (I know he has a dog but still).
    Happy summer hiatus!! Can’t wait to hear about Howard’s experience!

    Comment by Julie (@CDNspnFAN) – May 11, 2012 04:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • How is no one commenting on the fact that we saw (albeit for a nano-second) Howard’s MOTHAHHHHH!!!!

    Comment by Dave – May 11, 2012 05:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Big Bang Theory has nto Evolved, it has DEvolved.

    The show has lost its respect for the characters, sacrifising integrity and likeability for cheap jokes. It used to be sophisitcated and intelligent, now it just appeals to the masses. A fate shared by many shows.

    Comment by Bark Star – May 11, 2012 06:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I think we see the same thing, unfortunately. Having just discovered the show in reruns, I can compare the ‘old’ to the new and get a different perspective. The geekiness is becoming secondary, almost a background joke, and that IS the poing( and the charm) of the show. I hope the writers resist the urge to inch the characters toward bland conformity.

      Comment by Melanie – May 19, 2012 10:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Loved the final, so sweet, especially Sheldon & Amy.

    Did u see Howard’s mom? Funny.

    The one relationship I don’t like is Leonard & Penny, something has always creeped me out about them. I like them separately, just not together.

    Comment by Flo – May 11, 2012 07:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • In terms of character development, I would love to see Sheldon actually experience ‘coitus’ and then become a hound-dog. Still Sheldon, but a geeky hound-dog version of himself which is completely in conflict with his intellectual thought process.

    Comment by MLO – May 11, 2012 08:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love the view of Howard’s mom and Bernadette’s mom at the end of the rooftop scene. Howard’s repeated mistake of saying ‘Mom’ when he meant ‘Bernadette’ may be a something that will be developed next season. Did anyone catch what Howard screamed during take-off?

    Comment by ed – May 11, 2012 08:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They brought out the core Jewishness in Howard. What he screamed during takeoff was OYYYY VEYYYYY.

      Comment by J – May 11, 2012 08:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thank God Penny has a script. In real life she also needs one.

    Comment by POed – May 11, 2012 09:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thought it was terrific and clever and left us wondering what would be next

    Comment by win – May 11, 2012 10:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Let me guess: everybody expected Leonard & Penny run to Las Vegas, get drunk and have a wedding? Oh, that was in Friends. You can’t just copy that from them. That would be so lame.

    Comment by valezza – May 11, 2012 10:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I do not think Leonard and Penny will be headed to the altar until the last season or the series finale – much like Rachel and Ross on Friends, Luke and Lorelei on Gilmore Girls, etc. The show has been renewed for two more years so it will be a long time before we see Leonard and Penny walk down the aisle.

    Comment by tvdiva – May 11, 2012 11:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Fruit Loop…awww

    Comment by Stacyh – May 11, 2012 02:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • didn’t hear what howard said on blastoff

    Comment by elaine aitken – May 12, 2012 04:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Funniest show EVER! have been watching the past episodes online and keeping up with the present ones. I think Leonard and Penny should/will eventually end up together, but they have so much awkwardness to go though as a couple as well as single people. They may even ave a (Rach/Ross) Relationship because in the end they really are ment for eachother. <3 but nothing beats the comedic asspic of this show I lmao everynight watching it :D

    Comment by GreenEyedDiva – May 16, 2012 11:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Please don’t ruin this show by ‘un-geeking’ Sheldon and making him conform to ‘normalcy’ by pairing him with Amy. Having seen the re-runs first I can see how the new shows aren’t as geeky/edgy. . The writing seems to be trending toward ‘normalizing’ the guys too much. And what happened to Raj’s adorable puppy??? He’s my favorite-and the best looking!

    Comment by Melanie – May 19, 2012 10:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree! Sheldon needs to stay his adorable geeky self… and we need to see the puppy!

      Comment by Jay – August 19, 2012 06:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What does 73 mean?

    Comment by fred – June 4, 2012 05:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What happened to Raj’s puppy He got a sweet Yorkie then we never saw it again!

    Comment by Melanie – June 5, 2012 11:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • In my opinion the Big Bang Theory stands on its own merits whether or not the season finale lived up to everyone’s expectations. Howard is in space where so many things could happen? (Does anyone remember the Bob and Tom episode where they spoofed a phone call to Jerry Lininger aboard the Mir space station, and during that call a Russian Wolfhound on Mir was accidentally released from its cage? Over the top ROTFL!)

    Comment by Bill – June 10, 2012 09:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I personally loved it because it was something different!!! I CANT WAIT FOR THE NEXT SEASON!!! :D

    Comment by Richard – June 10, 2012 02:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Well I can’t wait till next season! It’s gonna be great : D

    Comment by Ashleigh – July 12, 2012 08:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Penny is my favorite character on the show. I don’t understand why she gets bashed so much. Anyway, I thought the finale was so-so. I thought the entire season was kind of ho hum. The first three seasons were wonderful and I noticed a small decline in season four and this year was boring at times. I noticed Sheldon’s speech pattern was even a little different this past season. I may be in the minority here but I think the Amy character is overused. She is a lot funnier in smaller chunks.

    Comment by Thom – July 31, 2012 07:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope this show doesn’t last more than about 2 more season. They all getting old and Penny gets fatter every year.

    Comment by sam benny – August 5, 2012 08:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great ending, to the twats, a fuel leak on a rocket IS A CLUFFHANGER?? it seems there are an awful lot of lonely people out there?? They’re just characters folks??! The comedy and it’s execution are why we watch it?? If you think ‘Penny and Leonard’ should get together? Or ‘Sheldon and Amy’ are “good” tigether ? jesus?!? Then you really should get a life mate??

    Comment by Alf Heenan – August 29, 2012 05:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Wow. Why so angry? Seems like you are taking things a little too seriously.No need to get angry at people who posted here.(When you took the time to do it yourself)

      Comment by Chrissysno – September 7, 2012 03:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve never understood the Sheldon/Amy pairing. After all, Sheldon sees himself as similar to Spock, and as I recall, Spock, when attracted to any female, chose the warm motherly types. As did his father. Weird as it may seem, I really envision Sheldon’s ultimately ending up with a matured and settled Penny. She is at heart a kind and patient person, with a great deal of raw intelligence, and she accepts all his quirks with gentle good humor — when you get right down to it, she a fair approximation of Amanda Spock.

    Comment by Sybilla – August 29, 2012 09:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • finally someone with some sense.

      Comment by don – January 1, 2013 06:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i don’t have a reply! im looking for an answer to why Sheldon has to knock 3×3 times

    Comment by Gerard – December 6, 2012 05:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Very disappointed at the end and last show in the series of The big bang theory. Admittedly, I have just started the second run of Breaking bad. This show is fully capable of developing gripping story lines and on-the-edge-of-your-seat dramas. So I guess I now watch all programs with little mercy. Attempting to read into things a little deeper to find the plot – this is what I done with the last episode of The big bang theory. Though there was little to be griped by or excited, apart from Sheldon holding Amys hand!

    The only thing wanting me to watch the next series of TBBT is the laughs and respect I hold for the show. The last episode enticed me not one bit. I found it a full premature end and it felt as if it needed one more episode to finish things off, this is the result of, I feel, no cliffhanger.

    Further, I am also disappointed at how the show I love has developed its story line. It seems with all programs I watch, as soon as a love relationship has been forged the program inadvertently becomes less focused on what it made its name and more on the love.
    The whole reason I watched TBBT was for the geeky-ness. This took a dip in form when Amy appeared on the show.

    Comment by Martin – February 21, 2013 11:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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