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It’s been a two-week hiatus since “The Big Bang Theory” last had a new episode and they come back with the Christmas-themed “Clean Room Infiltration.” Whether its absence made the heart grow fond of the antics of Sheldon and the rest of these lovable nerds or not, “The Clean Room Infiltration” was a solid return with one of its trademark sweet endings.

With Raj’s parents going through with their divorce, his father plans to come spend the holidays with Raj in California, so Raj won’t be able to throw his usual Christmas dinner. Amy steps in as she has always wanted to throw a Victorian style Christmas. Despite their lack of interest in any of Raj’s themed parties, they all seem up for Amy’s, save for Sheldon, who sees it as a form of punishment on him (as always).

Leonard and Howard are working in the university’s clean room before the party and are just about to leave when a pigeon flies in because someone left the door open. Leonard and Howard bicker about how to get the bird out, with Leonard taking Sheldon’s usual stance that Howard’s ideas aren’t so great. Eventually they have to enlist Raj’s help, but these three geniuses can’t outsmart a brainless pigeon, kind of making for a rendition of the Three Stooges. They finally do manage to catch the pigeon, only to have another bird fly in. “We really should close that loading door,” says Raj. Penny eventually is the one who saves the day when she tells them that they should just take their names off the sign-in sheet so no one knows they were ever in there.

Meanwhile, after Raj leaves to go help his fellow scientists, Penny is caught between boredom and a hard place as she is with Amy, whose attempts at recreating an authentic Victorian Christmas reveal why we stopped celebrating them in the first place, and Raj’s dad, with an in person guest appearance from Brian George, who constantly talks giddy about his failed marriage.

Amy-Big-Bang-Theory-Christmas-PartyIn a pairing that we don’t usually get, Bernadette and Sheldon attempt to carpool over to Amy’s, but Sheldon wants Amy to share in his misery of the holidays. To do so he has the idea to get her a gift since they agreed not to exchange ones, hoping to make her feel guilty and sad. He gets her a sweet and heartfelt gift that she loves, but rather than feeling guilty, Amy reveals that she did get Sheldon a gift as well, making Sheldon Christmas cookies from his Mima’s recipe. Like the Grinch, Sheldon’s heart great three sizes that day. Though he swatted Raj’s hand away when he tried to grab a cookie; so maybe it only grew two one and a half sizes.

Now that Penny and Leonard are engaged there is barely any growth among the other characters, but thankfully watching Sheldon mature in his relationship still gives the show the requisite amount of heart it needs.

Here are some of the best jokes from this week:

  • Raj: Good luck throwing a themed party for these guys, I stopped trying after my Tom Hanksgiving. Bernadette: I think a Victorian Christmas sounds nice. Everyone: Yeah. Raj: You guys suck!
  • Howard: Great, we’re turning on each other. That’s just what the bird wants.
  • Bernadette: So your evil plan is to get your girlfriend a present? Sheldon: Yep. Stay on my good side or I’ll get you something too.
  • Leonard insults Howard for trying to catch the pigeon with a Slimjim, as soon as he holds it up the pigeon swoops in and eats it.
  • Raj: Who cars who is smarter? If it’s Leonard, or me, or… it’s Christmas, let’s say it’s Howard.
  • Sheldon takes a picture on Santa’s lap for his gift to Amy, telling him its his punishment to her. Santa: I think dating you may be punishing enough. Sheldon: There’s an argument for that, but I want to make sure.
  • Sheldon: How are you feeling right now? Guilty? Sad? Wishing you were Jewish? (jump cut to Howard)
  • Raj: If you people think this is better than Tom Hanksgiving you’re all crazy.