“The Big Bang Theory” is a sitcom in the truest sense of the word, but in its eighth season it was its dramatic moments that wound up being the best. In the season finale, “The Commitment Determination,” “Big Bang” had its most focused episode of the season and, along with the passing of Mrs. Wolowitz, one of the series’ most heart-pulling moments.
It’s not often that an entire episode of “Big Bang” has a unified theme, but that was the case here as “The Commitment Determination” was unsurprisingly about the groups’ different relationships. Let’s start off with the lightest. Howard and Bernadette are tired of having Stuart in their house and think it’s time he moved on. They are ready to ‘lay the hammer down’ (or Bernadette, according to Howard) and ask him to leave. When Stuart gets home, however, he makes it nearly impossible for them by proving to be a perfect roommate and ultimately revealing that it is his birthday.
For Raj, after years of just learning how to talk with women, he now has to contemplate if he should break up with his current girlfriend, Emily. Raj is becoming unsettled by her darker personality, with the icing on the cake being Emily’s request to have a date, and eventual sex, in a cemetery. Raj attempts to break up with her, but ultimately decides to try and salvage the moment and instead says that he loves her.
Now for the big hitters this week. Sheldon asks the question we’ve all been thinking since the beginning of the season, when will Leonard and Penny get moving on their wedding. Getting under their skin, Sheldon pushes Leonard and Penny to have their first real talk about it, and in lighting speed they determine all the details they want for their perfect wedding, everything but the date. Eventually, Penny just decides that they should head to Vegas and get married that night.
On their way Leonard has one thing he needs to tell Penny before they start their new life together. Leonard kissed another woman when he was on the research boat between seasons a couple of years ago. Penny isn’t happy about it, but they decide to continue on to Vegas anyway.
Amy and Sheldon had a fight of their own. While kissing in celebration of their five-year anniversary, Sheldon brings up whether or not he should watch “The Flash” TV show. This is the final straw for Amy, as she says that it has been difficult being as patient as she has been for Sheldon. The episode ends with Amy telling Sheldon she needs to take a break to re-evaluate whether or not they should be together. After they hang up on each other, Sheldon reveals that he had bought an engagement ring for Amy.
While it may not be in the literal sense of the word, this finale was a pretty good cliffhanger for “The Big Bang Theory.” What will happen with Penny and Leonard when they get to the church? How long will Raj fake happiness with Emily? Will Sheldon ever get the chance to propose to Amy? Those sound more like the plotlines of a day-time soap opera than a CBS sitcom, but in a season where the jokes were really getting flat and the fill-in episodes even more pointless, “Big Bang’s” best in season eight came when they brought the drama.