The Big Bang Theory returned from its holiday hiatus with “The Egg Salad Equivalency,” in which something (or someone) seemed to be rotten in the state of California.

The episode began with Alex – whose attraction to Leonard has been percolating unnoticed all season – giving Leonard a hint even he couldn’t miss by asking him out to dinner. (Also of note: Leonard and Sheldon were playing Giant Jenga at the time, which has exposed a vast, gaping hole in our lives which we never previously knew existed.)

Leonard shared his flattered excitement at Alex’s interest with Howard and Raj. Raj, upset at finding his (heretofore unknown) long-term plans for eventually dating Alex thwarted, spilled the beans to Sheldon, who reacted in patented Cooper fashion and solicited Penny, Bernadette, and Amy to help solve “his” problem.

Sheldon’s “Council of Ladies” proved less than helpful, however (all three were preoccupied with the implications of Alex’s flirtations on Leonard and Penny’s relationship), which left Sheldon to confront the problem himself. He did the obvious thing, insulting Alex’s mental capacities due to her unfortunate womanhood and showing her pictures of diseased genitalia to cool her ardor for Leonard.

To the shock of absolutely no one but Sheldon, Dr. Cooper was subsequently called in to discuss his inappropriate language with Mrs. Davis (Regina King), head of Human Resources. The meeting goes better than expected (by which we mean that Sheldon isn’t fired), but along with insulting Mrs. Davis, Sheldon reveals inappropriate behavior which Leonard, Howard and Raj have exhibited in the past, and all three wound up answering to HR alongside Sheldon. (The insults to Mrs. Davis kept on coming.)

Meanwhile, Penny confronted Leonard about his offer from Alex, for which he later apologized with a meager-but-successful cello solo. Penny admitted her feelings of insecurity around science-girls, while Leonard couldn’t suppress a grin after learning that he was not alone in questioning his relationship-sufficiency. Penny decided to resolve her insecurity by doing what she wants to do best, and act smartly sexy while looking fabulous.

The Sheldon Situation (by now a hole dug deeper than he is tall) was ultimately resolved with Sheldon’s marginally effective apology to Alex, and a prescribed harassment seminar. Unfortunately, Sheldon promptly reassigned the seminar to his beleaguered assistant; at least Alex will be able to throw the book at him if he says the word “ovaries” to her again.

The Big Bang Theory will be back next week with “The Bakersfield Expedition.” The official summary says:

While the guys take a road trip to a comic book convention dressed as Star Trek: The Next Generation characters, the girls stay home and try to interpret a comic book.

What did you think of ‘The Egg Salad Equivalency’?

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