The 25 Best Episodes of The Big Bang Theory – sequel

From Comic-Cons gone wrong to love affairs gone right, we look back at 25 of the most memorable episodes of The Big Bang Theory. (next part)

17. “The Wedding Gift Wormhole”
Season 12 Episode 2

“The Wedding Gift Wormhole” begins with Sheldon and Amy perplexed by a crystal gifted to them by Leonard and Penny. They insist that it’s the beginning of a complex scavenger hunt that leads to their real gift, but the truth of the crystal is even funnier. It turns out that the crystal has becoming a running gag amongst the friend group after it was gifted to Howard and Bernadette by, who then regifted it to Leonard and Penny before they passed it along. But as funny as this may be, this episode ends on a rare sad note for the series as we’re reminded that Raj is now the last one of the group to find love and complete the cycle of the crystal.

16. “The Convention Conundrum”
Season 7 Episode 14

Featuring not one, but two big Star Wars cameos, “The Convention Conundrum” follows Sheldon as he tries to create his own Convention after failing to obtain tickets to San Diego Comic-Con. Unlike all of Sheldon’s other heroes like Bill Nye and Leonard Nimoy who have restraining orders against him, James Earl Jones is surprisingly open to Sheldon’s proposal and the two end up spending the day together getting ice cream, karaoke, and ding-dong ditching Carrie Fisher’s house. While Sheldon is living out his nerdy dreams, Leonard, Howard, and Raj decide to try and buy scalped Comic-Con tickets before chickening out in the most dramatic way possible after realizing that they could be banned for life if caught.

15. “The Focus Attenuation”
Season 8 Episode 5

While the men’s desire to spend a weekend brainstorming new inventions is the catalyst for the events of this episode, their tinkering isn’t the best part of this episode (though their constant distraction even without their girlfriends is pretty funny). This episode is great because it lets us see just how far Penny has come since we first met her across the hall. While Amy and Bernadette are partying in Vegas, Penny has to stay behind in the hotel room to prepare for an important work assignment. It’s clear that she takes this job and this stage in her life seriously, and it’s a really good look for her.

14. “The 2003 Approximation”
Season 9 Episode 4

Change is never easy, but for Sheldon it might as well be the end of the world. Not only is Sheldon still reeling from his breakup with Amy, but he also learns that Leonard has been living with Penny full-time ever since they got married. This causes Sheldon to regress out of fear and act like he’s living in 2003, before he ever met Leonard, Amy, or Penny. This episode deals with Sheldon’s fear of abandonment well, not just playing his distress for laughs. “The 2003 Approximation” isn’t entirely serious though as it also features the rise and fall of Raj and Howard’s filk (folk music about pop-culture) band. Their one and only song is about Thor fighting Indiana Jones, and it lowkey slaps.

13. “The Terminator Decoupling”
Season 2, Episode 17

Leonard, Howard, and Raj are originally annoyed with Sheldon’s insistence on taking an hours-long train to San Francisco for a conference, but are soon distracted by the appearance of Firefly and The Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles actor Summer Glau. Howard and Raj spend their time competing for her attention while Leonard is forced to handle a Sheldon who unfortunately left a flash drive with an important academic paper on it at their apartment. Sheldon hopes to impress his hero Dr. George Smoot with his research and must rely on Penny to send the important file to him.

12. “The Robotic Manipulation”
Season 4 Episode 1

Our first real glimpse of Amy Farrah Fowler, following a cliffhanger ending that saw Howard and Raj’s little dating site experiment achieve more success than they ever could have imagined. Yes, Amy is a completely different character than she was a season later, and it’s a little jarring to look back on, but Penny’s chaperoning of her and Sheldon’s date makes this a classic episode nonetheless. That, and the sight of Howard shuffling into the ER with a robot hand attached to his penis.

11. “The Countdown Reflection”
Season 5 Episode 24

Though there are a lot of sitcoms that experiment with their format on a weekly basis, The Big Bang Theory has been almost stubbornly traditional. That’s what makes “The Countdown Reflection” all the more satisfying, as it cuts between Howard’s trip into space and his impromptu wedding to Bernadette. The juxtaposition and pacing of the reveal are pitch perfect, and it’s all topped off with the touching final moments in which each member of the group hold onto each other as they watch their friend go on the trip of a lifetime.

10. “The Barbarian Sublimation”
Season 2 Episode 3

The episode that sparked a thousand memes, Penny’s sudden descent into MMORPG shows an entirely different side to the girl next door and goes a long way to humanizing her at the same time. Growing more and more frustrated by her lack of success as an actress, Penny finds comfort in the online game she finds Sheldon playing, and proceeds to take things too far. What nerd hasn’t given up on life for a week or two and instead chosen to focus on their avatar’s life instead? Even now, the girls don’t get to engage in the same nerdy activities as their boyfriends, so “The Barbarian Sublimation” still comes off as a novelty.

9. “The Hawking Excitation”
Season 5 Episode 11

Of all the celebrities Big Bang Theory managed to snag over the years, none were more impressive than Dr. Stephen Hawking. While his presence became more and more frequent as time went on, this first appearance is expertly teased right up until the closing moments and all the more powerful for it. Watching Howard torture Sheldon in exchange for access to his hero is as satisfying for the audience as it is for him, but the real emotional kicker is hearing that he was just doing it for fun and always intended to give Hawking Sheldon’s academic paper. Aww.

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