"They can't cancel it! It ended on a cliffhanger!"
Oh Sheldon, sweetie, I've been harboring that kind of sorrow since Dark Angel got canceled—or, if we want to keep this strictly within the confines of the Sci-Fi/Syfy network's whims, since The Invisible Man got canceled. But Amy identified a deeper issue beneath Sheldon's dismay over the news that Alphas would not be returning to TV for a third season despite the cliffhanger conclusion to the second, and tried to break Sheldon of his "pathological need for closure." She gets an A for effort, even if, all training aside, girl really should've been prepared for Sheldon's resistance to her conditioning. She almost broke him, though. Almost. His face when Amy ordered him to prematurely pack up the dominoes was the dictionary definition of pathetic. I'm impressed that Sheldon made it long enough to outsmart Dr. Farrah-Fowler without finally succumbing to the urge to claw his own face into itty bitty bits of Sheldon confetti. I immediately pictured confetti made out of little die-cut Sheldon faces when he said that. Creepy... but also kind of cool?
Meanwhile, Raj stumbled upon Lucy's blog while internet-stalking her—at least he embraced being a creepster—and panicked when she referred to him as "effeminate." It was a valid concern despite having roots in typical Raj misunderstanding/overreaction/etc. Since we weren't privy to the exact context of how Lucy used the word, we can't really pass judgement on Raj's freak-out session. He is effeminate. He knows he's effeminate, and he also knows that it's been a big turn-off for women in his past. That Raj would do everything he possibly could to show Lucy how "manly" he could be was expected... right down to basically botching their date with bad, poorly prepared food and general overcompensation and weirdness.
While all three of storylines in "The Closure Alternative" had their bright spots, the Raj-and-Lucy arc won the bonus round for being sincerely sweet and giving Raj a role beyond that of the sometimes-shallow-ambiguously-gay-chronically-underused guy. I keep waiting for Lucy and Raj to fall apart because the idea of Raj finally having a relationship that works and just feels "right" seems too good to be true. This episode could've easily been the end of Lucy/Raj, given that both parties are typically too awkward to actually speak to each other, and Lucy was clearly unnerved by Raj's facade. But then they talked like real people and it was amazing; they used words and everything, and they were understanding about one another's insecurities and willing to listen to concerns, and while Lucy's blase response to the revelation that Raj read her blog seemed a little convenient, her willingness to address her use of the word "effeminate" without getting upset or defensive was great. Also, gold star to Raj for hearing her out and not getting bent out of shape over the word even though, honestly, she probably could've come up with a better synonym that didn't have such blatant ties to rather negative connotations. Civil, genteel, fastidious, cultured, refined, tasteful, well-mannered—you get it. There are lots of words out there that describe what Lucy highlighted as good Raj traits but don't imply that those traits are exclusively "womanly."
Once she explained herself, though, Raj understood, and she understood why he was acting weird, and they got over it the way healthy partners in healthy relationships do. Victory!
Then there's Penny and Leonard, the golden couple who, in the past, has repeatedly tried my patience with their on-again/off-again habits and seemingly eternal inability to move beyond their base characterizations of "awkward nerd" and "hot chick." Season 6 has had its rough patches when it comes to Leonard and Penny, but overall has made a noticeable effort to, well, make them suck less. After six seasons of Penny not understanding comics and then freaking out about how they somehow symbolize her and Leonard's incompatibility... it was just getting old, okay?
Leonard roped Penny into watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with him because it seemed like an ideal series for them to share. He was disappointed when Penny declared it "cute," and even more so when she could barely muster any enthusiasm to push through the rest of the season. So was Penny, but rather than let something as insignificant as a TV show shake the foundation of her relationship with Leonard, she talked things out with Bernadette and made one of the biggest breakthroughs we've seen from her when it comes to understanding Leonard and the others. It won't stop her from making snide comments about cosplay in the future, but that's fine. Penny doesn't have to love comics to be with Leonard. She doesn't have to be able to draw the Skywalker family tree or rattle off the U.S.S. Enterprise's registry number from memory. (Get your barf bags ready.) She just has to love him. Penny realized that her life is in a pretty good place right now, even slaving away at the Cheesecake Factory, and she has her friends to thank for that. She doesn't have to care about their favorite TV shows in order to care about them. Blah blah blah fuzzy feelings etc. I'm just glad she and Leonard didn't break up over Buffy.
What did you think of "The Closure Alternative"?
THE STRAY OBSERVATION ADDENDUM
– One-liner of the night: "If they didn't want to get yelled at by crazy nerds, they shouldn't have started the Syfy channel."
– Idk. I find it kind of hard to believe that Penny wasn't a Buffy fan. It always seemed to be one of the few shows the cool kids and the dorky kids watched.
– In case you forgot, Bernadette is a scary lady.
– Howard's creep tendencies were in rare form.
– How many angry phone calls over canceled shows do you think Syfy actually fields from the irate Sheldons of the world?
– Brewbacca's coffee house. Yessss.