We’re introduced to a new character in this episode, but like most sitcoms, very few characters are actually reoccurring. Let’s see if this one makes the cut.
Sheldon’s New Friend
During Sheldon and Tam’s usual lunch date in the library, Sheldon spots a girl reading a science textbook…for pleasure. This is exciting for Sheldon and with Tam’s prompting, he scrounges up the courage to go talk to her. Libby and he become quick friends and even make plans to have lunch together from now on.
Georgie sees his brother’s new friend and declares at dinner that”Sheldon’s got a girlfriend.” This prompts surprise from all his family members and Meemaw asking if Sheldon now needs the talk. Sheldon explains that he already knows about human reproduction and when asked how he knows, Missy claims she told him. How that nine-year-old found out about the birds and the bees before her genius brother we may never know.
The next day in school Georgie catches George spying on Sheldon. George reveals that he’s surprised to find out that Libby is black and after some bickering with his son, Georgie quips: “There’s some books in [the library] about Martin Luther King, maybe you should go read one.” This episode is already leagues better than last weeks.
On a Road Trip…
This causes a new dynamic in the Cooper household. Sheldon is on the phone for hours with Libby, much to Mary and Georgie’s dismay. Mary, because she worries about Sheldon becoming close to an older student, and Georgie because, once again, Sheldon is getting special treatment.
It’s not only at the library and at home that Libby begins taking up a lot of Sheldon’s time. During lunch, the three of them are in the science lab observing rocks and even go to the riverbed in search for tektites. At first, I was surprised at Sheldon’s acceptance and even affinity for Geology. Anyone who knows adult Sheldon Cooper knows that he is very particular about which forms of science are ‘real’ science. But, perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.
Libby, Sheldon, and Tam make plans to go to see an IMAX film on evolution but the issue arises when Sheldon realizes it’s in Houston. His parents have a long discussion about it where Mary is hesitant, George thinks it’s just a part of him being in high school and Meemaw says he should go. After the long discussion, Mary talks to him and says she can’t allow him to go to Houston on his own with his friends but offers to drive him herself. Sheldon doesn’t want his mommy to hang out with him and his friends. When Mary doesn’t budge, Sheldon does what any angry nine-year-old boy would do…he aggressively cleans.
I found this part to be so clever. As an audience who may know of adult Sheldon’s tendencies, we think we know all the quirks. As an audience that is watching a nine-year-old boy, we have some expectation on how he is going to react. I was not expecting enraged Sheldon to be an immaculate cleaner. Well done.
Eventually, though, the cleaning has to stop. Mary agrees to let Sheldon go if she gets to meet Libby first. Mary is very reassured when Libby tells her that she’s had no driving tickets or been in any car accidents. Upon further discussion to impress Mary, Libby says she’s been babysitting for years and is very confident in her abilities with driving Sheldon and Tam. This hits Sheldon hard. He excuses himself from the road trip and in the next scene we see Sheldon crying. He’s sad that he wasn’t seen as Libby’s equal but Mary explains to him that there are all kinds of maturity, not just the equal intelligence that Libby and he had. Sheldon says he doesn’t want to have friends, Mary says she bets that he’ll have a lot when he gets older. I thought this would have been the perfect time for Sheldon the narrator to have jumped in, but he didn’t.
The last episode left me a little worried about continuing to cover this show but this episode definitely redeemed itself. After Sheldon decides that geology a hobby and not a science, it’s clear that this episode is an allusion to the BBT episode where Sheldon gets drunk and has a rowdy night with geology books. It all makes so much sense now!