“The Big Bang Theory” closed the window on Mrs. Wolowitz with tonight’s episode, “The Leftover Thermalization,” but it may have already been shut. Combine that with an all too familiar subplot and jokes that fell flat on their face, “The Big Bang” goes into its March Madness hiatus on a disappointing note.
The episode starts off with Sheldon receiving a science magazine where his and Leonard’s paper was written about. The only problem is that the article only mentions Sheldon, simply referring to Leonard as “Dr. Cooper’s team.” It’s the same kind of battle of ego for Sheldon that we’ve seen many times before, but this time he is actually more aware of what this means, and actually feels remorseful. This leads to him attempting to cheer Leonard up, but manages to only make the rift bigger. Their argument goes on for the whole episode, but there’s no resolution or growth, and the jokes that came from it were all without edge.
That wouldn’t have been a problem if the main plot the episode could hold its end up and it had all the promise to do so, but for whatever reason it crumbled instead. When Howard, Bernadette and Raj go to clean out Mrs. Wolowitz’s house they find out that the power went out the night before, defrosting the last food that was left in the fridge. Howard decides to use this food to celebrate his mother by having everyone over for one last feast.
It was a nice gesture and had the potential to be a nice ending for Carol Ann Susi’s character, but instead of being a tribute, the dinner ended up just continuing Sheldon and Leonard’s bickering. The dinner that was meant to honor Howard’s mother was void of any real mention of her, until Bernadette had to take Sheldon and Leonard in the other room to yell at them, making her voice sound like Mrs. Wolowitz’s.
The problem was between the news that Mrs. Wolowitz died, the gang reminiscing and Howard’s emotional episode at the airport, the show already felt like it had effectively paid its respects and moved on. This episode even felt like it was more invested in Sheldon and Leonard’s conflict. All of these could have been forgiven if Sheldon and everyone had some good bazingas, but there were none to be found.
Thankfully Carol Ann Susi got her proper goodbye, because the “The Leftover Thermalization” did not live up to that billing.