The Big Bang Theory Premiere Recap: The Comeback Kid

The Big Bang Theory Season 8 Premiere Recap

The Big Bang Theory kicked off its eighth season with two back-to-back episodes, the first of which answered the burning question, “Where the heck did Sheldon go?!”

The action picks up 45 days into Sheldon’s “railroad journey of healing,” and all is not well. Robbed of all his personal belongings and dignity, a panicked, unhinged, tighty-whitied Sheldon is seen begging strangers at an Arizona train depot for help. He seeks refuge at a nearby police precinct, where he phones Leonard and asks for a lift home. Leonard reluctantly does the right thing and invites Amy — who’s understandably pissed that Sheldon called Leonard and not her — to accompany him on the six-hour ride. Adding insult to injury, when they arrive at the precinct, Sheldon races to embrace Leonard as a humiliated Amy looks on. His first words to his girlfriend? “Why did you come?”

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The tension mounts on the ride home, with Amy serving as a mere extra in Sheldon and Leonard’s buddy comedy. She eventually explodes. “I’m mad at you,” she cries out. “How could you just go away like that without even saying goodbye, and then call Leonard for help instead of me?!” And just as Sheldon is on the verge of scaling new heights of insensitivity — he suggests Amy stick her head out the window like a dog so he can have a private chat with Leonard — he confesses, “The reason I called you is because I didn’t want Amy to know I couldn’t make it on my own.”

Leonard implores him to share this vital piece of information with, you know, Amy, and he wisely takes his advice. She, naturally, is elated. “You were worried about that?” she marvels. “Sheldon, it’s OK with me that you’re not perfect.”

In the end, Amy convinces Sheldon that, in spite of the abrupt end to his journey, the trip changed him for the better. He concurs. “I’m a lot like Gandalf the Grey,” he reasons. “He fought the Balrog and emerged stronger than ever as Gandalf the White. I was robbed of my phone and pants, and I too came back stronger. And whiter too because I wasn’t in direct sunlight for six weeks.”

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CAREER GIRL | Elsewhere, Bernadette recommends Penny — rocking the same shorter ‘do as her portrayer Kaley Cuoco (go figure!) — for a sales job at her pharmaceutical company, but the struggling actress-waitress comes down with a serious case of cold feet on the eve of her big interview. She eventually overcomes her nerves, shows up for the meeting with B’s boss (played by Stephen Root!) and blows it. Big-time. But when the topic turns to their mutual fear of Bernadette (LOL!), the tide turns and she gets the gig.

MOMMY’S DEAREST | Stuart and Mrs. Wolowitz’ caretaker-caretakee relationship has deepened (creepily so) during the time jump, much to Howard’s horror. Turns out the only thing Stuart despises more than the sight of his mother is the sight of his mother bonding with Stuart. In the episode’s funniest scene, the whole kerfuffle comes to a head when Stuart shows up at Howard and Bernadette’s apartment to clear the air and ends up illuminating all of Howard’s considerable mommy issues.

STANDOUT QUOTE | To ensure that Amy isn’t eavesdropping on his sensitive convo with Leonard, Sheldon declares, “Leonard, as soon as we get home, I want to have coitus with Amy.”

STANDOUT QUOTE (HONORABLE MENTION) | Sheldon presses the officer assigned to his burglary case for an update on the investigation: “Sherlock Holmes always says, ‘When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains — how ever improbable — must be the truth.’ Now… have you tried doing that?”

What did you think of Big Bang‘s Season 8 opener? Grade the first episode below, and then elaborate in the comments. And while you’re at it, feel free to weigh in on the second episode as well.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Kristine S. says:

    1st episode not funny and Sheldon was over-the-top annoying. 2nd episode VERY funny and Amy had all of the best lines.

  2. Papa says:

    how bad can a show fall in one night! terrible. both episodes featured bad writing, lame jokes, and poor acting and characterization…all within a juvenile setting of confrontation. bad sitcom now. looks like the cast took the recent salary increases and ran. sad to see this. going down.

  3. Ashley says:

    Are you not going to mention the biggest shock of them all during this episode–the one where Sheldon says he wants to have sex with Amy?????

    • 777 says:

      I thought Sheldon saying that he is lucky because all his photos were backed up in the cloud was more gasp-worthy, considering everything that happened since they shot the scene and Kaley Cuoco being in the scene. If only they had known.

    • abz says:

      I thought he only said that to check that she couldn’t hear him while he spoke with Leonard.

    • DYS says:

      Like abz said, Sheldon only said that to make sure that she couldn’t hear what he was saying.

  4. jo jo jo says:

    Big Bang was on tonight….. oh so is this 2009…..oh it was the same episode as 2009…. I see.

  5. James D says:

    this show continues to make me laugh out loud so I will continue to watch it, unless something really stupid happens (hint hint New Girl :) ) I thought the first episode was slightly funnier but both made me chuckle. Kaley is Awesome but why on God’s green earth did she cut her hair like that who does she think she is, Annie Lennox. my only other gripe was why does she still have her apartment. first if she has been out of work how was she affording to keep paying the rent, second she is engaged wouldn’t it be wise to live with your fiance. I think thats a mistake to be honest there is far more comedy to be had if she lenord and sheldon all had to live in the same apartment. lastly, I would really love to see some development on Sheldon his character has been pretty much the same through the whole series and as hilarious as he is some maturity needs to happen for him to stay relevent IMO.

  6. Tran says:

    TBBT should do just fine on Mondays for the remaining four weeks before the series heads back to Thursdays starting October 30th once Thursday Night Football is done at CBS. Really dig Penny’s a la Kaley’s new short hair do. I give the season premiere an A and Sheldon would say BA-ZINGA.

  7. abz says:

    I enjoyed both episodes. However, as much as I enjoy the show and the cast, nothing in this episode was deserving of a million dollars an episodes IMO. Leonard barely had four minutes total screen time for BOTH episodes together and you’re telling me he basically got $2 million just for hanging around and saying like 3 sentences. I don’t want to get into any debate about them deserving their share of the profits or whatever, fine I get it, but seriously this was just a decent premiere but nowhere near $1 million per episode each for the three of them (especially Galecki who barely did a thing). Seriously, every other character had more screen time than him.
    Aside from all that, I hope they continue the Sheldon as a professor storyline with actual students. I think that’d be fun to watch.

    • Burt says:

      The show must be making the network a lot of money so that they can afford to pay them that.

      I’m not sure why it matters to you anyway. Why do you care about how much someone else gets paid for their job?

  8. Chaz says:

    Disappointed with the direction they decided to go this season. When last season ended I thought they were going to have something fresh with Sheldon out riding the rails, bouncing his personality off of other people’s. That would have been interesting. Instead, they fast forward to him being back and back to business as usual. This show needs something new to re-energize it and Penny’s new hairstyle isn’t going to “cut” it… Btw, that terrible pun was funnier than half the stuff that came out of the 2 new episodes.

  9. Hannah says:

    It’s so funny how mad the cast getting a bigger share of profits has made people! Like legitimately hilarious.

    • John NYC says:

      It never takes much to set off haters: whether it be salary (deserved), hair style change or color of eyebrows….

      As to the actors: they’re the pivotal part of a huge financially rewarding enterprise so that they get, at the end, some proportionate compensation is reasonable. The show’s earning versus theirs for the entire run will still be in the companies favor not the employees even at that level of pay. That show’s been printing money for a very long time.

  10. laurelnev says:

    It was a nice lead in for Scorpion. THAT gang was what it might be like if TBBT Gang had to live in the “real world” (rather than in sitcom academia land.)

  11. The first ep was ok, nothing special. The second ep was good and funny until the episode ended without any of the story lines being resolved.

  12. JR says:

    So much on tv tonight. I was switching back and forth between Dancing With The Stars and The Voice. Have to watch The Big Bang episodes tommorrow on On Demand.

  13. CDB says:

    Two of the worst TBBT’s ever, none of the actors seemed to be on top of their game. Sheldon just seems to be confused about how to show his “maturing” and this continues the lackluster end of last season. Hope that actors recommit and writing improves. This was one of the few bright spots on network TV.

  14. Badpenny says:

    I did not care for either episode. The humor felt really forced. And what is with reusing old jokes? The Fig Newton line was used several years ago. And we have seen Sheldon in other teaching positions. Did the writers forget that too? Don’t they keep a character bible for these guys? Just poor all the way around.

    • KCC says:

      I was thinking the same thing when Sheldon starting talking about Fig Newtons, but then the punch line of the joke was Sheldon was going to throw the cookies away. That was a funny twist. I don’t believe Sheldon ever taught a class just lectures and grad student recruiting in a classroom. Sheldon interacting with students on a regular basis could be funny. Overall I thought both episodes were average for TBBT. Still the funniest sitcom on TV, IMO.

  15. Liz says:

    The coitus line was the best-definitely agree. Gave it a “B.” The second one was pretty good too.

  16. DarkDefender says:

    I think you meant to write that Howard wasn’t happy about his mom and Stuart (you have Stuart twice).. And I thought the funniest quote (other than the coitus quote) was Sheldon telling the cop: there are lots of books about Sherlock, but none about Officer Hernandez.

  17. Waage says:

    Amy is the worst character, on the worst show on television

  18. It was alright. Hoping they’ll keep the direction they have for the characters going with Sheldon teaching, Penny having a job, Raj in a relationship, Howard going for his doctorate…

    • hud says:

      Best thing about this show has always been the colors, and lighting, eclectic mix. Funny ended around season 4. It will endure because it has become a habit for viewer’s.

  19. Julie says:

    I’m from Iowa and I know for a fact that Amtrak does NOT go through Des Moines and there’s no train station there… Sorry BBT crew, you need better fact checkers! Funny episode, though, I thought I was going have a heart attack laughing so much when Howard’s spitball went into Sheldon’s mouth… HILARITY!

  20. Bella says:

    The second episode was the best of the two.

  21. Television says:

    Didn’t laugh once. Pennys haircut is sooooo wrong for this show, she doesnt look like part of the show, she looks like she should be on a sitcom like new girl. And dont even get me started on she is somehow going to be a sales rep. I mean, she is been portrayed as so dumb, remember the hair pins she couldnt make? Not believable at all. Everyone was too sarcastic to each other and mean. Wish they were more friendly like they used to be. The two episodes seemed out of order. Disjointed. Only good acting was by Amy.

  22. simon says:

    For the first time I have actually found Sheldon annoying, didn’t enjoy the first ep at all,second mildly better, but hoping it picks up and they actually let Sheldon grow like the others have

  23. JohnPhD says:

    They should have stopped with season 7. The relationships between the 3 main characters had all reached the end-point. Penny and Leonard’s engagement must also end the odd-couple relationship between Sheldon and Leonard, and the most interesting, between Sheldon and Penny, had got as far as it can go when Leonard’s mother said Sheldon “spoke very fondly” of Penny.
    Evidently Ms Cuoco didn’t expect another season as she doesn’t look like Penny anymore. The funniest part was often Penny’s facial reaction to other characters’ lines, and that doesn’t work when her face isn’t framed by her hair.

  24. Fahima says:

    This series is very very disappointed