'Big Bang Theory' recap: One ring to rule them all

Big-Bang-Theory-ringImage Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBSSo, best episode of the season, right? Yeah, it was a smidge gimmicky to construct a Big Bang Theory story around the discovery of a genuine One Ring prop ring from The Lord of the Rings (ringy ring ring), but it easily netted a jackpot of full-body guffaws from this particular viewer, and I have a feeling most of y’all as well. Everyone in the cast had a showcase moment (or several), the story played beautifully off each character’s particular quirks, and Penny finally got to give Sheldon the knuckle sandwich he’s deserved for nigh on three seasons

It all started with a clever bit of we’re-a-fellowship-on-a-quest foreshadowing, namely Sheldon explaining to Leonard that in their “ragtag band of scientists with nothing to lose,” Sheldon is the Smart One, Howard is the Funny One, Raj is the Lovable Foreigner Who Struggles To Understand Our Ways And Fails, and Leonard is the Muscle. Hence why Leonard alone had to bear the burden of the box of geektastic tchotchkes they had just purchased for $60 at a local garage sale — a garage sale they discovered after following a man they thought was Adam West.

“Who’s Adam West?” asked Penny.

“Who’s Adam West?!” exclaimed Sheldon. “Leonard, what do the two of you talk about after the coitus?” (The coitus! Love it!)

Before Leonard could answer, Howard chimed in: “My guess is, ‘Hey, four minutes, new record!'” And immediately, I knew it was going to be a good night indeed.

(How much you wanna bet that the show’s prop master just walked into a random BBT writer’s office and snagged what was on the shelves to fill that box?)

After Howard did a quick bit of sleuthing with his contact in the “seedy underbelly of the collectors world” (i.e. his friend Edde Chrisbo), he learned that the LOTR One Ring they found in their treasure box was no replica, but one of the nine actual One Rings forged for the trilogy, and the only one stolen from the set. And even though we could all immediately see where this would all lead, it didn’t make the journey there any less hysterical.

Raj wanted to sell it so he could buy a jetski, because wealthy and beautiful people in movies ride them. Sheldon wanted to keep it, love it, polish it, and occasionally take it out to the park so they could reenact their favorite scenes from the movies. (For the record, I’m with Howard on this one — that actually did sound like fun. Hey, there’s a reason I write the recap for this show.) Leonard, ever the upstanding Frodo, wanted to return it to Peter Jackson. And Howard wanted to use it to blackmail Peter Jackson into landing a role as a hobbit in The Hobbit.

So, naturally, they give it to Penny for safekeeping until they could sort out what to do, resulting in a priceless bit of physical comedy after Sheldon snuck into Leonard’s bedroom to snatch the ring from Penny’s neck with a remote grabber stick thingie. (Seriously, what is that thing called?) (Also, is anyone else really bugged by how tiny Leonard’s bed is?) (And did anyone else notice the rather, ahem, suggestive pose of the framed superhero portrait hanging on Leonard’s wall?) When Penny woke up to the sight of Sheldon perched directly over her, she socked it to Sheldon somethin’ fierce, and Kaley Cuoco made the most of making it seem like Penny took advantage of the opportunity more than she simply reacted on instinct.

The incident, however, compelled Penny to return the ring to Leonard, which Sheldon promptly stole out of Leonard’s pocket. Leonard, Howard, and Raj all tried to grab it back, and the foursome ended up in a quasi Hands on a Hard Body standoff — the last person touching the ring got to decide its fate. By the way, I especially appreciated how everyone in the lunch room was staring at the boys as they fought over the ring; so often sitcom background extras behave as if the lead characters’ completely bizarre behavior is perfectly normal. Although, at this point, that kind of behavior actually is perfectly normal for the Big Bang quartet, so maybe the extras actually should’ve just turned back to their fake meals. But I digress.

As I said before, this episode deftly fixed the spotlight on each of the characters, but it was a particularly choice half hour for Raj, from the sight of him rubbing a drawn-on penis off of an Aquaman action figure to his matter-of-fact command for the boys to plié so Leonard could reach his dropped keys. (I also chuckled when Raj’s cousin in Mumbai looked into his webcam from the side, as if that would make it easier to see Raj.) Once Leonard dropped out of the One Ring standoff to take advantage of whatever Penny had just purchased at Victoria’s Secret, Raj gleefully started baiting Howard about his mother. Which led to Howard baiting Raj about his mother, which led to both of them baiting Sheldon about his true precious: His Memaw, specifically that she had had sex, and liked it. Brilliant. (My vote to play Memaw: Cloris Leachman.)

After a pee break that likely ruined Howard’s suede shoes, the boys finally succumbed to sleep on the couch. Howard let go of the One Ring first. Then Raj, so he could better cuddle with Howard. (They are so Merry and Pippin.) Triumphant, Sheldon retreated to the bathroom to polish and wash his newest prized possession, only to discover that he had literally transformed into Gollum, and that it was all, in fact, just a (hilarious) dream. Leonard had actually snatched it while they had all slept, and told his friends that he’d mailed it back to Peter Jackson, with an extra helping of heavy-handed guilt about doing the right thing. Instead, like Frodo on Mount Doom, Leonard gave in to the Ring’s power and kept it for himself, only to fight for it anew with the Gollum-esque Sheldon the next night. Unlike Samwise, Penny chose to walk away from them both, muttering that she should just go back to dating jocks from the gym.

Clearly, the best episode of the season so far. Do you agree, Big Bang theorists? What was your favorite moment? How did it compare to the LOTR episode of South Park? Do you think the writers were trying to tell us something about Raj’s sexuality, or was it simply another example of the lovable foreigner struggling to understand our ways and failing? And did anyone else kinda want to see how the foursome managed to get in and out of a car, let alone drive it?

Comments (160 total) Add your comment
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  • J.

    Sheldon as Gollum cracked me up!

    • Ana Maria

      …me too!…

    • Burp’n Slurp

      Am I seriously the only guy who thought this was a stupid episode and probably the worst this season yet? It seriously was not that funny. So many other episodes this season would trump this one. Please, if your gonna write a review on an ep, use a better one!

      • thin

        I didn’t think it was “stupid” (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad episode of this show), but I did think it was on the weak side.

      • sdfsad

        Are you kidding me? This episode was one of the best because never before had I laughed so much in my entire life. But I guess you do not know true humor when you see it. Well, I cannot blame you for your apparent stupidity, since you make the simplest of grammatical errors.

      • wowwowww

        yes, you are

  • da

    Wow, am I the first comment? I’m honored. And nervous. C’mon, where is everyone? Anyway, LOVED the episode! A terrific ensemble performance. SO many good moments in this one. YEA!

    • Tego Livi


    • Diggity

      You must be a slow typer

  • Jenny G

    Easily one of the best episodes ever. It was absolutely hilarious. Loved it.

    • Siskel

      Nah it’s going back downhill. Moving back into the lame cheesy laugh-track sitcomy crap of the first season.

  • Teresa

    This episodes was the best of the season so far. It was hilarious and I’m glad each character got their “moment”. BTW, no on Cloris Leachman as memaw!

    • oldrockchick

      well, if you are going to shoot down Cloris Leachman (brilliant casting IMO) then you have to offer up an alternative, better idea.

      • Terri

        Betty White, current Dame of Senior Comediennes, duh.

      • Linda

        Yes…Betty White

      • Merges

        Yeah, I’ve got to go with Betty White on this one.

      • Tego Livi

        Beth Grant.

      • Sue1

        Betty White would be perfect.

    • fg

      I’m thinking Betty White

      • TMB

        We have a Cloris Leachman and a Betty White, do I hear a Valerie Harper? How about Georgette Engel?

      • Karrah

        Betty White is already pretty busy these days… How about her fellow Golden Girl Rue McLanahan? She already has a southern accent…

      • Memaw

        Rue McLanahan is absolutely brilliant!

    • nykolus

      continuing the “roseanne” tradition of casting, why not estelle parsons, who played laurie metcalf’s mom on the show???

      • Sarah

        The greatly loved and greatly missed Shelly Winters had that role.

      • Sarah

        Ooops. My bad. you’re absolutely right, it was Estelle Parsons. Ms. Winters was the grandma. (I had grandma stuck in my head.)

  • Kristen

    Loved last night’s ep. Favorite moment was Penny punching Sheldon in the face and Leonard responded with “That’s my girl.” Because honestly, that’s totally them.

    • Terri

      I couldn’t stop laughing at this scene. I loved it!

    • Sam

      My favourite moment of the night, for sure.
      Not my favourite episode of the season though. That honour goes to the Wil Wheaton episode.

      • Jennifer

        Yes, the Wheatonnnnnnn! episode rules! But this one was quite funny.

    • Tego Livi

      What I don’t get about Leonard and Penny’s sleeping arrangements is, why in the world do they sleep in Leonard’s room when Penny has a whole separate apartment across the hall? It seems bizarre to me.

      • Sue1

        The better for Sheldon’s antics. lol. They have slept in her apartment from time to time too, which is natural…wherever you end up.

      • Bob

        Maybe we are to think that Penny’s apartment is too messy to enter?

        Or perhaps Leonard wants an audience to see he has a hot girlfriend?

        Most likely no good reason except the writes need Penny/Sheldon interaction.

      • pottttttttttttt

        Probably because if they were to go sleep there, they would be woken up with “*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK* PENNY AND LEONARD. *KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK* PENNY AND LEONARD. *KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK* PENNY AND LEONARD.” at three in the morning.

      • Milo

        Hasn’t Sheldon even crept across the hallway to talk to Leonard in Penny’s bedroom?

      • Mike

        Gee genius not much fun there… get a grip it’s TV you need to put people in situations that lend themselves to the story…

  • racso

    being the geek that I am (yes I admit it) I watched all three LOTR movies more than 5 times each, so I was really looking forward to this episode, and it delivered!! what I still don’t understand is why does CBS doesn’t have iTunes sale The Big Bang episodes???? they have other crappy shows (HIMYM) for example but not the Big Bang!! hopefully they’ll get a clue! and do it already… anyways last night episode was just “precious” LOL

    • Garrett

      I don’t think it is CBS so much as it is the studio that produces Big Bang; CBS doesn’t own the show, just the distribution rights.

      • racso

        either way it sucks that Big Bang is not on iTunes

    • Will

      I think they don’t put it on iTunes because it makes more money packaged and selling for 50 bucks in stores compared to 99 cents on iTunes…just better marketing.

      • Tego Livi

        More like 25-30 bucks, but basically, yes.

      • Milo

        I got the first season at Target on a $9 sale. Just wonderful dumb luck that my kids had to have a transformer that day.

    • Anon

      Hey, no dissing on HIMYM. Was absolutely hysterical last night (a bangety-bang bang!)

      • sadiesue

        bang bang bangety bang i said a bang bang bangety bang….agreed – great ep last night for HIMYM

  • mahovolich13

    No Meemaw needs to be overly sweet and perfect (with a dark side)…Betty White.

    • Lilly

      I totally second that!!

    • Sara (other one)

      I was going to say the same thing. Betty White in full-on Rose Nylund mode to match Sheldon’s perception of her as perfect, but with a hidden side of crazy for the rest of us.

    • Missing Ted

      Oh God, YES!!!

    • Ronnie

      Don’t forget, Betty White was a hot-to-trot Sue Ann on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”…she can pull off a sweet, old Memaw who had sex…and “liked it”!

  • CountryClub

    Very good episode.

    But since you asked, it was not as good as the South Park spoof. I did like how Leonard did the hand clap “I’m out” thing that Token did in Park’s LOTR episode. I assume that wasnt an accident.

    • Ana Maria

      …and Leonard’s “I’m out” reminded me of Seinfeld’s “master of my domain” episode, when Kramer slaps the money on the table and sayd the same thing…

      • Sue1

        Yea, I got that too.

      • kim in kentucky

        I was thinking the same thing!!

    • Kate

      Totally picked up on the Token hand clap, but didn’t remember which episode it came from, so I just thought it was a weird coincidence. Now it’s a great gag! Thanks.

  • john

    my favorite Line (I am parphasing):
    We are brinmg Lawyers into this, Shock and Awe baby.

    • Sarah

      I’m with you- hilarious!!!

  • Alan

    Very funny episode, although I was somewhat bemused that Penny didn’t know who Adam West is. Doesn’t that seem somewhat unrealistic for an aspiring actress?

    • TMB

      Forget about Penny not knowing that AW was Batman. At her age, you’d at least think she’d recognize the name as being the Mayor of Quahog.

      • ET

        Penny’s not a nerd, I wasn’t suprised at all that she didn’t know who Adam West was. I didn’t know that he is the Mayor of Quahog, by the way, not everyone watches these things!

      • Jenny

        hahaha I thought the same thing :)

    • Elle

      I’m the same age as Penny and I didn’t know how Adam West was, and I’ve never heard of the Mayor of Quahog

      • Elle

        Who not how

  • Jen

    Now, please don’t yell at me but I have never seen LOTR or have any desire to see LOTR so this episode wasn’t that amazing for me. However, it was definitely funny. Just not best thing ever.

    • Missing Ted

      Of course not, you didn’t get the joke. ;p

      See LOTR, you will not regret it.

      • allie

        I have seen LOTR and I agree…. not the best ep ever. Although I think LOTR is totally overrated.

      • @allie

        I glad I’m not the only one who thinks LOTR is overrated. (The movies, not the books. The books are great.) I was more amused by the “Hands on a Hard Body” elements myself.

    • petuniafromhell

      You have all ruined my day by saying that LOTR is overrated!!!

      • Kate

        Me too! I worship those flicks!

  • Rob

    Hilarious episode! One of the best episodes of the season!

  • Andrea

    I loved this episode, I think it’s one of the best from Season 3 so far. My favorite line was one of Leonard’s : “I pity the fool who thinks illogically!” And Sheldon as Gollum was scarily good, maybe he ought to get a part in the Hobbit movie?

    • Will

      Great episode, but not my favorite…it had great lines, but as an overall episode I loved the Einstein Approximation…Sheldon not figuring something out and working at the cheesecake factory was hilarious.

      • Melissa

        That was my favorite episode, too! Never seen LOTR, but I bought the movie thinking someday.?

  • Kim from Texas

    It definitely was a great episode. It is now my favorite comedy of the whole week. However, I miss “Better of Ted”.

    • kim in kentucky

      me too! :-(

      • sadiesue

        Boo hoo, we’ll never see Better Off Ted again I’m afraid. Too bad – great show. Portia de Rossi is a goddess!

  • Ana Maria

    …I loved every minute of it; hilarious, all of the cast got their moments to shine…my favorite moment was the exasperated look Leonard gave Sheldon when Sheldon said he never got away with anything in their group, oh, and also how Raj and Howard teased Sheldon about his MeeMaw…

    • kim in kentucky

      OMG YES – that reaction from Leonard was priceless!

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