The Big Bang Theory Recap with Spoilers – The Empathy Optimization

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The episode opens with Penny, Bernadette and Emily debating the merits of Batman V. Superman as the guys watch on in an amazement. Sheldon enters the living room and declares himself to be 100% well after a brief illness, but no one seems to be particularly thrilled. We get a series of flashbacks showing that Sheldon was particularly obnoxious throughout his sickness, alienating all of his friends in the process. Sheldon doesn’t have much of an excuse for his actions, other than to note that Leonard had never given him a replacement bowl of chicken noodle soup (Leonard had brought him chicken and stars soup instead.)

During their evening Skype session, Sheldon mentions that all of his friends are mad at him because he acted like a complete jerk to them while ill. Amy tells Sheldon that he can be tough to deal with when sick, which is why she stayed at her neurobiology conference three full days after it had ended.

Leonard, Howard and Raj go to the comic book store without Sheldon. After realizing how much they’re enjoying themselves, they decide that they should all take a trip together without Sheldon and settle on Las Vegas (in a party bus) as their destination. That evening, Leonard and Penny discuss their vacation plans until Sheldon overhears. Luckily, Sheldon hates Vegas and doesn’t want to go, but gets offended when Leonard says that Sheldon wasn’t invited anyways.

Sheldon skypes Amy again to complain, but Amy quickly shuts him down. Amy tells Sheldon to apologize and tells him that he needs to work on his empathy skills. After giving it a few tries, Sheldon feels empathy for the first time and realizes he’s been a giant butthead to all his friends.

Sheldon starts by apologizing to Leonard. While his apology initially comes off as sincere, Sheldon’s plan backfires when Leonard refuses to let Sheldon come on their Vegas trip. Leonard says that Sheldon hurt a lot of people while he was sick, so Sheldon says he’ll apologize to everyone if it means getting to go on their trip together.

Sheldon begins his “Sheldon Cooper Apology Tour” by apologizing to Howard and Bernadette by playing a song on the pan flute and giving them commemorative t-shirts. He then apologizes to Penny while she’s in the shower and apologizes to Stuart, inadvertently cluing the poor comic book store owner to the fact that he wasn’t invited to the trip to Vegas either. Sheldon’s apology to Raj also goes off without a hitch, but his apology to Emily falls a bit flat when he insults her dermatology career. When Emily sticks up for herself (she seems to be the only person not okay with having a sociopath in their friend group) she ends up fighting with Raj and storming off.

That evening, Sheldon tells Penny, Leonard and Howard about Raj and Emily’s fight when Raj barges in and starts yelling at Sheldon. Sheldon apparently went over to Emily’s apartment to apologize again but caused her to cry. Raj says that Emily won’t go to Vegas if Sheldon’s going, so Sheldon says that the best way to apologize to his friends is by not going on their trip.

That weekend, the gang hops on the Party Bus to Vegas and grab some glasses of champagne. Unfortunately, Leonard’s toast to a fun weekend is interrupted by Sheldon hopping out of the bathroom (along with Stuart). Sheldon apologizes to Emily one more time, this time without coming off as a jerk, and then leaves the party bus with a reluctant Stuart in tow. As the bus starts to drive off, Emily says she feels a little bad for Sheldon, which leads to the bus stopping once again. Leonard sticks his head out and tells “the pain in the ass” to get in, and so Sheldon (once again, followed closely by Stuart) runs to the bus in joy.

The episode ends with Sheldon asking Emily if she’s glad that she patched things up with Raj. Emily says “Not really” as she watches Raj drunkenly dance on the stripper pole as Penny and Bernadette toss singles in amusement.