Last night’s episode focused on the fallout from Penny and Leonard’s break-up, and of course, it was all about Sheldon. He ran into Penny when he went to get his mail, unsure whether he was supposed to be avoiding her. He understood that there were certain social protocols to be followed–like not telling Penny that Leonard spent a lot of time looking at pictures of her, smelling the pillow she used to sleep on, and crying (although he slipped up on all counts).
Sheldon was relieved when Penny told him they could still be friends: “It was a lot of work to accommodate you into my life. I’d hate for that effort to have been in vain.” Ever the creature of habit, cutting Penny out of his life would require some adjustment on his part, and whether he would admit it or not, he likes her company and finds her interesting. Walking up to the stairs, he noticed spaghetti in her grocery bag and invited himself over for dinner. He asked if she would cut up hot dogs to put in the sauce just like his mother makes it.
He went into his apartment, where the guys were waiting with Chinese food they had ordered. Howard chastised Sheldon for talking to Penny, saying that he had to pick sides. If he was a good friend, he had to be on “Team Leonard.” In an unusually considerate turn of character, Sheldon was determined to be a team player, so to speak. He ate the food Leonard had gotten for him: “Well, of course I’m hungry! And as I have no plans to eat with any other team, I will consume my tangerine chicken with the appropriate gusto.” And so it went for the rest of the night. Sheldon pretended like he was just going for a walk instead of going over to have another dinner with Penny. He got the hot dogs out of their fridge and hid them in his pants.
Howard didn’t make it easier for him by saying he would accompany him outside. Sheldon walked out with him to keep from seeming odd and suspicious, at which point a huge Rottweiler chased him. He showed up at Penny’s door looking very disheveled and holding a single hot dog: “I had to trade the others for my life.” He ate the spaghetti she made and enjoyed it, even though all the food was giving him a stomach ache.
Meanwhile, Raj was hanging out with Leonard, even though he felt like he was the friend of last resort (“If we were the Justice League, I would be Aquaman”). They watched a movie, and out of nowhere Raj announced that he hadn’t been with a woman in a year. He wanted to go out and meet someone, and with Leonard as his depressing loser of a wingman, he would look like a catch. Leonard attempted to console him: “Don’t worry, you’ll meet a girl someday. And she’ll be beautiful. And kind, and sexy, and funny, and everything you ever wanted in a woman…You’ll fall hopelessly in love and give her your heart. She’ll take it and grind it into pathetic little pieces.”
Sheldon returned to his apartment with excuses for where he had been. He got lost. Actually, the GPS on his phone didn’t work because satellites were down from solar flares. Actually, his phone battery died. In the middle of the night, Sheldon woke up Leonard to confess that he had been hanging out with Penny: “We had dinner last night. She made me spaghetti with little hot dogs cut up in it. Well, a little hot dog. I gave up the other 5 hot dogs to a real dog. A real big dog. A hellhound.” Leonard asked why he had eaten Chinese food with them when he was going over for dinner with Penny. Sheldon said he didn’t want to upset him, and Howard had informed him of the “bros before hoes” rule. Leonard assured Sheldon that he didn’t care if he was friends with Penny, and Sheldon was relieved that he didn’t have to lose sleep over emotional turmoil any more.
In the laundry room the next day, Leonard and Penny had an awkward run-in, but they slipped into easy conversation about Sheldon. It was an amusing custody battle of sorts–Leonard would take Sheldon to buy shoes, so Penny could take him to buy sheets and towels. She was going to take him to Disneyland with her coworkers, but Leonard warned her that Goofy scares Sheldon, and don’t let him eat too much junk food and then ride Space Mountain because he would throw up.
Penny brings Sheldon back late wearing Mickey ears and with arms full of souvenirs. Penny sends Sheldon back to his room to put on his PJs and brush his teeth. Leonard offers her a cup of coffee, and together they look in on a sleeping Sheldon and realize that the two of them can be friends again.