This week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory, “The Paintball Scattering,” makes an argument both for and against paintball as couples therapy.

RELATED: Here’s our recap of the last episode!

Great news. Since we last saw Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons), their revitalized approach to their super asymmetry theory has resulted in a complete paper. When we join them, they’re celebrating its publication with Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki), toasting champagne (or, in Sheldon’s case, a “Doctor Cooper”– champagne with a packet of Splenda because it’s “sweet and bubbly” like him).

Amy and Sheldon haven’t wanted to read the online comments about their paper yet, because they aren’t ready to hear any criticism. Leonard volunteers to look for them, and he’s able to report that the comments are extremely positive. Amy’s eyes light up as she takes the phone from him and sees that people love their paper. 

The next day, President Siebert (Joshua Malina) invites Amy and Sheldon to start dining in the VIP dining room, instead of the common cafeteria with all the worker bees. He tells them they’re superstars and that the university wants to arrange a lot of media about their paper… and a lot of interviews for Amy to do alone while Sheldon holds down the fort in case of emergency. 

Sheldon asks, “What kind of an emergency would there be in physics?”

And Siebert responds: “I don’t know. Maybe there’s an object in motion that won’t stay in motion. Or a reaction that’s equal, but not opposite.”

Sheldon is confused, so President Siebert finally explains that his people skills aren’t ideal for interviews. Sheldon challenges this, so Siebert says: “Say somebody asks if your work is derivative of the work of Professor Joseph Polchinski.” Sheldon’s face twitches so violently as he tries to suppress his reflexive outrage that it’s clear Amy will need to do the interviews alone. 

BIG BANG THEORY S12E11 Paintball Scattering

In the background of their big moment, Penny decides to organize a paintball game. Now that everyone in the group of friends is coupled up, it winds up being a group of couples. Anu (Rati Gupta) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) sign on in the aftermath of her convincing her mother that Raj will be doing the flowers for their wedding, because it’s his specialty. He’s also volunteered to install her app-linked doorbell camera, since he loves how his helped him identify a fat raccoon as the thief that had been stealing his cheese of the month. 

Denise (Lauren Lapkus) and Stuart (Kevin Sussman) sign on in the aftermath of him freaking out when she invited him to move in with her. It seems he has a “flight or flight” response, rather than the traditional “fight or flight” response to stress. When she pops the question, he says, “Flight! Flight!” as he runs away. 

THE BIG BANG THEORY Recap S12E11 The Paintball Scattering

And Howard (Simon Helberg) signs Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) on, assuming that he’s been annoying enough lately that she’ll want to shoot him. 

Ahead of the paintball outing, Raj inadvertently witnesses a man coming to Anu’s door via her app on his phone. She warmly hugs the man and invites him inside, and Raj gets super jealous and passive-aggressive. Elsewhere, Amy has nailed her interviews. She’s the “star” of NPR’s Science Friday, and Wired titles their interview with her, “The Neurobiologist Who Revolutionized Physics,” which does NOT sit well with Sheldon. 

When everyone suits up in camo to start shooting each other in the woods, there’s a lot of tension in the air. 

Denise shoots the stupid out of Stuart, hitting him enough times to force him to admit that his aversion to moving in with her is his own fear of messing things up between them if they move too fast. 

Leonard and Penny exchange some close-range shots that bond them in their shared pain. 

Amy and Sheldon get too caught up in fighting over how he is both jealous and proud at the same time to guard their team’s flag or notice when Bernadette sneaks in to take it and shoot them. (He knows he can have two feelings at the same time because he saw Inside Out.)

Howard accidentally shoots Bernadette in the chest, which kind of turns her on. So they duck into a shed so he can “kiss it better.”

And Raj confronts Anu about her visitor in a huff, revealing his spying. She tells him he needs to delete the app immediately and just trust her, which prompts him to say that he can’t trust her because he barely knows her. Which goes over badly. She counters that if that’s how he feels, why are they planning a wedding? And he doesn’t know. She has Amy and Sheldon drive her home, even though they’re still in a tiff. 

After the paintballing day, Anu and Raj’s wedding is up in the air. Stuart apologizes to Denise and gives her a key to Bernadette and Howard’s house as a gesture of his commitment to their relationship, and Amy tries to include Sheldon in an interview. Unfortunately, the interviewer opens with the question about Professor Polchinski, so he runs to the car and leaves Amy to handle the press. 

RELATED: Follow my Season 12 recaps here!


Leona Laurie