The Decision Reverberation Season 12, Episode 20 - Aired April 25, 2019
After Leonard decides to stand up for himself and not try to please everyone all the time, he demands a new job at the university. Meanwhile, Raj worries he has become a laughing stock in his field when he publishes a paper which raises the possibility of alien life.
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Director: Mark Cendrowski
- The title refers to Leonard's attempt to not let others make decisions for him.
When a newly confident Leonard grows tired of being told where he can and can't sit in his own house, Sheldon leaves in a huff.
Penny: I mean, come on, when was the last time you did something totally selfish without worrying about what anyone else wanted?
Leonard: Uh, according to my mother, I took my sweet time being born.
Penny: How is that selfish?
Leonard: Apparently, she had dinner reservations.
Amy: Look, when you wanted Penny, you didn't care what anybody else thought or wanted, including Penny.
Leonard: That's true. Yeah, yeah, there was something I wanted, I went after it and I got it.
Amy: Now you're hiding from it on the stairs, so it all worked out.
Amy: Wow. Déjà vu.
Sheldon: Amy, you're a neuroscientist. you know the latest research into déjà vu suggests it's nothing but the frontal regions of the brain attempting to correct an inaccurate memory.
Amy: You telling me stuff I already know is definitely déjà vu.
Sheldon: How can I tell if I'm doing something for a noble reason or a selfish reason?
Amy: Try saying the thing in your head and see if you can add the words, "That'll show 'em."
Sheldon: Leonard's about to demand a job that I don't think the university will give him. I'm worried he's making a giant mistake. But maybe I only think that because deep down I don't want him to succeed.
Amy: The fact that you're worried about your motivation supports the idea that you genuinely care for your friend.
Sheldon: I do. Thank you, Amy. You know what? After I've talked to Leonard, you've earned yourself a bonus lecture on Sponge Hulk.
Amy: That'll show me.
When the group gather in the apartment, Leonard mentions a 7:15 showing of the new Avengers movie, but Penny doesn’t think that gives them a lot of time to eat. Leonard suggests eating afterwards, but Sheldon doesn’t want to eat at 10 at night. Leonard just wants them to make a decision, saying he’s good either way. Sheldon and Bernadette are hungry now so they decide to eat before. Bernadette and Sheldon want to see the movie in 3D but it makes Leonard queasy. When Leonard relents and agrees to see it in 3D, Penny tells him he shouldn’t do things that make him feel bad. Sheldon claims Leonard is a textbook “satisficer”, someone who seeks out a satisfactory option rather than what pleases him most. Leonard insists he’s just trying to find an option that will make everyone happy. When Bernadette asks what would make him happy, Leonard says them making a decision.
Later that night, Penny puts a hot towel on Leonard’s forehead as she asks about his headache. He says it’s better since he threw up. Leonard thinks he would have been okay have been better if they didn’t sit so close, but he didn’t want to disappoint Sheldon who picked those seats. Penny tells Leonard he has got to stand up for himself. Penny asks when he last did something totally selfish without worrying about what anyone else wanted. Leonard mentions that his mother said he took his sweet time being born, which was apparently selfish because she had dinner plans.
When Raj shows Anu to the telescope room where he spends most of his evenings, she is surprised there isn’t a telescope in sight. After Raj explains it’s in Hawaii, he shows her a screen displaying live information from the Keck telescope. Raj recently observed optical flashes, which could be light bouncing off a natural object or could be a sign of something alien made. The mention of aliens gets Anu excited, so she and Raj start making out.
When Amy finds Leonard sitting on the steps of the apartment building, she wonders whether to ask what’s up. Leonard explains that Penny is going to make him decide what they’ll do tonight without taking her feelings into consideration and he doesn’t know whether he’s up for it. Leonard questions whether being a people pleaser is so bad, as it’s gotten him this far. Leonard worries if he picks something Penny likes then she’ll think he’s trying to please her, so he has to pick something she won’t want to do. Amy points out that when Leonard wanted Penny he didn’t care what anyone thought, even Penny. Leonard realizes he did go after something he wanted and he got it.
After Leonard finally heads to the apartment, he tells Penny he has decided what he wants to do tonight and he didn’t take her feelings into account. He wants to have sex and then watch Star Trek: Discovery. Penny is fine with his but warns him she’ll be on her phone for most of it. Leonard wonders whether she means the sex or the show, before deciding he doesn’t care.
Howard and Bernadette are in the audience as Raj wraps up his lecture at the planetarium. After he opens it up for questions, Howard raises his hand to ask a two-part question: how long did it take light from his new star to reach Earth and is it true that Raj gets his friends to ask questions? When Raj takes a question from a woman in the audience, she mentions that Raj wrote he couldn’t rule out the light flashes being evidence of alien civilisation. She asks whether that means Raj thinks it’s aliens, but Raj says he was just illustrating that there’s many unknowns and, as scientists, they can’t preemptively rule any possibility out. Raj attempts to change the subject, but the crowd are too excited about the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
As Leonard and Penny unpack a takeaway in the apartment, Sheldon says the Chinese food smells funny. Penny explains it’s barbecue. Leonard says he picked it after Sheldon told him not to be a “satisficer” all the time. Sheldon claims he didn’t want Leonard to stop being a “satisficer” as that’s what he likes best about him. After Leonard says that’s what they’re having for dinner whether Sheldon likes it or not, Sheldon insists he is nothing but flexible. However, when Leonard takes Sheldon’s spot on the couch, Sheldon wonders whether the whole world’s gone mad. After Leonard says he’s fed up of being told where to sit in his own house, Sheldon and Amy leave in a huff.
As Leonard drives Sheldon to work, Sheldon wonders whether they are. Leonard says he’s trying a new route and doesn’t care whether Sheldon approves of his driving. Leonard is fed up of being afraid of stepping on people’s toes and not saying what he wants. Leonard admits he has always wanted to be the principal investigator on a plasma physics study. He is going to put together a proposal for Siebert and if he doesn’t let him, there’s plenty of other universities that will. When Sheldon casts doubt on his chances, Leonard thinks he doesn’t want him to be successful.
As they walk along the corridors of the university, Raj tells Howard his talk ended up on an alien conspiracy blog. After a member of staff mocks Raj as he walks by, Raj says that’s been happening all day. Howard tells him people are just having fun so he should relax. When Raj enters the telescope room, it’s festooned with alien figures and decorations.
Amy has a feeling of deja vu when she finds a glum Sheldon sitting on the stairs of the apartment building. After Amy asks why he’s there, Sheldon says he wants to know how to tell whether he’s doing something for a noble reason or a selfish reason. Sheldon explains he’s worried about Leonard demanding a job at the university that he doesn’t think he’ll get. Sheldon is worried that Leonard’s making a huge mistake. Amy argues that if Sheldon is worried about his motivation it supports the idea that he genuinely cares about his friend.
In the apartment, Leonard shows Penny the proposal he is going to give to President Siebert tomorrow. When Sheldon comes over, he tells Leonard he doesn’t think he should ask to be in charge of a plasma project. Leonard thinks Sheldon can’t stand the idea of him succeeding. When Penny wonders what’s the worst that will happen if Leonard asks for it and doesn't get it, Leonard says he’s not going to take no for an answer and will quit if he doesn’t get the job. Penny is stunned that Leonard is considering quitting and argues that’s something he should run by her first. Deciding to talk about it now, Leonard tells Penny he’s not happy in his job right now. Leonard says he put together a strong proposal which is good for him and the university, so they’re going to give it to him. In President Siebert’s office, he tells Leonard no. After Leonard says he’s not taking no for an answer, Siebert tries again in Russian.
Back at the planetarium, Raj tells the audience that a lot of people have been claiming he said he found alien life. He wants to make clear that is not what he said, but it is one possible explanation and he doesn’t think that's something to mock. Raj says a lot of scientific theories seemed fanciful in the past, so what science-fiction ideas of today will be the reality of tomorrow? Raj ponders whether there will be colonies on Mars, matter transporters, perhaps the Loch Ness Monster is real. Raj argues the only way science moves forward is for them to follow the evidence wherever it leads, even if it makes them sound crazy sometimes. Later, Howard shows Bernadette an article headlined “Caltech physicist claims Loch Ness Monster is real”.
When Leonard returns to the apartment, Penny asks if he got the job. Leonard says he did not, so Penny worries he quit. Leonard explains he told Siebert he would quit, he walked out the door and then started crying. Eventually, Siebert called him back in and said while they couldn’t give him the role he wanted, there was an opening for a co-lead on a photon entanglement team. When Penny asks what he wants to do to celebrate, Leonard says he doesn’t want to decide another thing. After Penny suggests they do SoulCycle, Leonard asks for a minute to think of something better.
When Sheldon and Amy climb the stairs of the building as he talks about “broccoli Hulk”, they find Leonard once again sitting on the stairs. Amy wonders whether he’s still hiding from Penny, but Leonard admits his legs hurt after SoulCycle. Amy tells Sheldon to keep Leonard company, so Sheldon talks to Leonard about a Hulk made of sherbet.