Even to the very end, CBS is determined to program new episodes of The Big Bang Theory against major movie openings. Sorry to be late recapping “The Decision Reverbration,” y’all. I was in the Endgame.
Like most people, the BBT gang is ready to see Avengers: Endgame tonight. Leonard’s (Johnny Galecki) passivity about which showtime, 2D vs 3D and eating before or after draws the attention of his friends, and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) accuses him of being a “satisficer.” Nobel Prize winner Herbert A. Simon introduced “satisficing,” a portmanteau of satisfy and suffice, which Sheldon defines as “a decision-making strategy whereby a person accepts whatever available option is satisfactory, rather than seeking out a course of action that would make him happiest.”
Leonard sticks to his peacekeeping ways and acquiesces to close-up seats in a 3D screening of the film, which makes him so queasy that he misses the end while throwing up in the bathroom and winds up with a massive headache. Penny (Kaley Cuoco), taking care of him when they’re home, challenges him to name the last selfish thing he did, and the best he can come up with is taking his sweet time being born, which interfered with his mother’s dinner reservations.
The next day, Amy (Mayim Bialik) finds a dejected Leonard sitting on the stairs, hiding from Penny. He tells her that he knows when he goes inside, Penny will force him to choose what they do for the evening and that he feels like if he chooses something she’ll like, she won’t believe he was being earnest. Amy reminds him that winning Penny is something he did against everyone’s expectations and advice. Empowered by this evidence that he’s capable of having a desire and achieving it, he marches into his apartment and tells his wife that what he wants to do is have sex and then watch Star Trek: Discovery. She warns him that she’ll probably be looking at her phone most of the time, but otherwise she’s on board.
In the days that follow, Leonard surprises Sheldon with barbecue on “Chinese food night” and a new route on their drive to work. He is so enjoying his new assertiveness that he decides he will make a proposal to President Siebert (Joshua Malina). Leonard wants to be lead investigator on a plasma team, and he has an idea that would make him happy and, he believes, benefit the university.
When he takes his proposal to Siebert, he gets shot down in both English in Russian. However, he’s able to return to Penny beaming. Because he spoke up for what he wanted and threatened to quit, the university is going to make him co-lead on a photon-entanglement team, which he feels very satisfied by.
An added bonus of Leonard testing his strength of will is that Sheldon discovers the depth of his regard for his friend when he recognizes that his worry about Leonard demanding a new position isn’t rooted in a desire to maintain his role as the more successful friend. He doesn’t want Leonard to get hurt, so that’s nice.
While Leonard is finding the confident man cowering inside himself, Raj (Kunal Nayyar) inadvertently draws attention for not ruling out the possibility of alien civilizations in a paper he publishes.
It all starts with Anu (Rati Gupta) making a welcome appearance when Raj takes her to see the telescope room where he works. He grabs her attention by pointing out some optical flashes he’s observed that may indicate something alien-made, and she’s so excited that he apparently includes the idea in a paper.
During his subsequent lectures at the Griffith Observatory’s Planetarium, Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette’s (Melissa Rauch) scripted questions are rendered useless by audience interest in the CalTech astrophysicist who believes in aliens. Poor Raj winds up the butt of 1000 jokes at work, and as he tries to dig himself out, he winds up being accused of also believing in the Loch Ness Monster.