Big Bang Theory: The Bon Voyage Reaction


by Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)

It’s time for a farewell in the season finale of The Big Bang Theory, “The Bon Voyage Reaction.” This is reminiscent of previous finales for the show. At the end of the second season, the guys go to the North Pole. Then Howard goes into space. Now Leonard is going to the North Sea to work with Stephen Hawking, though the Hawk himself, won’t be going.

Hawking’s team heading to the North Sea is down an experimental physicist, and since Howard has worked with Hawking in the past, he recommended Leonard for the job. Certainly, it is no surprise that Sheldon has a negative reaction to this. Leonard seems to think that Sheldon just doesn’t want to be alone, but I think we all know that’s not really the case. Penny helps Sheldon to come to see that he’s actually jealous of Leonard. Things are happening for Leonard, and Sheldon is unhappy that they’re not happening for himself.

The back and forth of Leonard, Penny, and Sheldon, and the rest of the gang, are somewhat in the background of this episode, however, as the focus is put on Raj and Lucy. It has been a few weeks, and like normal people, Leonard and Howard wonder when they’re going to get to meet the mystery woman. Raj attempts to get Lucy to meet some of his friends, and decides the best way to do this is by meeting one at a time. First up is Amy Farrah Fowler, who is probably the best choice.

In the interactions that follow, Raj goes into crazy mode. He urges Lucy to meet with Amy, but then freaks out when Amy tries to make conversation. So, okay, the conversation is about how messed up Lucy’s brain is, but it’s still conversation, and Amy isn’t Sheldon after all, so it doesn’t come off as condescending. But Raj’s overreactions put too much pressure on Lucy, and she heads to the bathroom. Thankfully, there was no escape window in there.

After the disaster of the first friend meeting, Raj tries to get Lucy to come to Leonard’s bon voyage party. After agreeing to come, she doesn’t show, and breaks up with Raj via text. So, the party and the goodbyes finish up under a shower of Raj-tears. This guy cannot seem to catch a break. Sailor Moon didn’t work. The wasted girl at Penny’s Halloween party didn’t work. Emily didn’t work. Bernadette didn’t work. Penny didn’t work. The lesbian he considered marrying didn’t work. Lolita Gupta didn’t work. Now, the one girl that seemed perfect for him broke up with him. Man, I’m getting sad just thinking about it.

But in the midst of his pain, self-doubt, and loneliness, something wonderful happens to Raj. When Penny comes over to check on him after dropping Leonard at the airport, we discover that Raj can talk to her without alcohol. Sure, he’s so depressed that all he talks about is how unlovable he is, but he’s talking…to a woman he’s not related to. Undergoing the excruciating pain of Lucy leaving, of the realization that this love thing has never worked for him, of having nothing left, he overcomes his selective mutism. While in deep sadness, a whole new world has been opened up to Raj.

This was the true “bon voyage reaction.” The episode wasn’t really about Leonard leaving; Raj’s journey was the real story here, and Nayyar manages to pull it off beautifully. It’ll be exciting to see where Raj can go from this point. At the end we’re treated to a little view of possible futures as Raj talks to Penny, Bernadette, and Amy nonstop. After all, he’s got a LOT of catching up to do.

Raj’s emotional journey was touching and creative, but the episode just didn’t have the same level of cohesiveness as many of this past season. The brilliance of “The Love Spell Potential” overshadows the finale and what they tried to do, and I think it could’ve been more effective if they’d spaced out the two. Regardless, a wonderful season. Thank God for syndication and for season passes on iTunes and Amazon Prime. Hopefully they’ll keep me through the summer.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

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