As the title suggests, the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory is all about communication. The bulk of the half hour focuses on NASA’s Discovery program, which will include a message from Earth to an alien species in the event that there is contact with alien life. However, in the first few minutes of the show, we’re treated to Sheldon trying to communicate scientific facts to children via sing-a-along songs, which goes something like, “The itsy bitsy spider is not an insect at all because it has eight legs and two body parts.” It’s not as catchy when read, but hum the melody along, and you won’t be able to shake off these science facts out of your head.
Again, the new discovery class missions NASA has been working on are going to include a message from Earth meant for any alien life in space. It’s a great program, and Raj is among a handful of scientists that have been asked to submit a design proposal for its message as well as its delivery system. When he breaks this exciting news to his friends, he asks them if they’d like to help him out. Sheldon and Howard are quick to accept the offer, and immediately provide some of their own ideas for the project. Leonard, on the other hand, sits back and asks Raj what he had in mind for the design. Raj is displeased with the way the former two acted, and so he makes up his mind and decides to bring Leonard onto the project with him, and kick the other two guys out on the curb. As always, their alpha attitudes get in the way of collaboration, and Raj is not going to put up with their dictating tendencies this time.
Back at Raj’s place, Leonard and Raj contemplate their roles in the group. If Howard and Sheldon are the Alphas, then they must naturally be the Betas, the second in command. However, on second thought, they’re more of the Omega type. They also take their cues (aka get pushed around) by Betas. But enough talk about being pushovers. They finally have the chance to be the alphas by working on this project. The only problem is that these two don’t know how to take control of a situation, so much so, that they don’t even know where to begin on the project. It seems like these Omegas are missing an alpha in the house.
One of the group’s alphas gets a familiar three sets of knocks on his door. Penny has come looking for Sheldon to give her some wise advice. She has an audition for a movie role, but is torn on whether or not she should audition for this movie and give up her stable job as a pharmaceutical rep. Sheldon tries to tone down his tendency to force his ideas on people, and withholds his answer to her concern. As much as he tries, he can’t hold out that much, and ends up giving her his two cents, and telling her that she shouldn’t worry herself about making any career decisions since she hasn’t even gotten the role yet.
Our other alpha, Howard, is distracting himself by making molecular cocktails. He and Raj always talked about learning how to make cocktails like this together, so in order to get his revenge, he decided to learn on his own, and document his spite on Instagram. After explaining to Bernadette his strong personality, which naturally makes him the leader in the group, she shows us all who the real alpha is in the house by getting Howard to do what she wants.
Back at the Omega’s place, Leonard and Raj are considering ways to communicate with an alien species, which makes them reminisce on the beauty of E.T. They finally come up with an idea. In between all their science jargon, the basic idea to their design is to have a simple form of communication. A device that will communicate not only through sight, but also through other senses as well. They’ve figured it out! Unfortunately, it’s the same idea that both Sheldon and Howard had initially. They decide to give their friends another chance, and invite them to work on the project. After some passive aggressiveness, and a quick session of letting their feelings out, they all agree that the message should represent what earthlings look like. In the end, our spokesperson is none other than Sheldon Cooper, serving as a outer space GPS, and giving alien life directions to our home planet.
Finally, while the guys were hashing out their feelings and figuring out how to communicate with an alien species, Penny has an revelation about her career, and essentially about her life. Before entering the casting call room, she questions her decision to ever give up acting in the first place. She’s nervous and anxious about auditioning, but she attributes those feelings to her love of acting, but that love quickly vanishes upon entering the waiting room, where she’s greeted with about two dozen or so women who look just like her. she now remembers her reasons for quitting her craft.
In the end, Penny feels a newfound appreciation for her job, and celebrates her realization by doing a first, and taking Bernadette and Amy out to dinner.
“Do either of you know Beyonce? I’d love her to get behind it.”—Sheldon
“When I encountered alien life, I discovered that the key thing was not to sit in its spot.”—Leonard
“It’s advertising to predator races just how soft and squishy we are.”—Sheldon
“Oh, don’t be offended. You know, of the four of us, you have the most veil-like consistency.”—Sheldon