True to form, Sheldon started off this week's episode, "The Friendship Contraction" with one of his well-known emergency preparedness drills. This, of course, involved waking up Leonard in the middle of the night and having him choose which catastrophe they would be training against. This was well done continuity, as Sheldon's often made reference to survival kits and training against zombies and various other problems (Canada invading California is also apparently a worry). It didn't surprise me that as an audience, we finally got a chance to see one of these drills in action as don't believe we have before. Leonard was, of course, very unhappy -- I know I would be. These drills apparently happen every three months and interrupt a good night's sleep.
The next day at work, Leonard is tired and grumpy, complaining to Howard and Raj about the drill only to find Sheldon graded him poorly in every drill category. As often is the case with Sheldon, he moves directly from insults to reminding Leonard he is obligated by the well-known and extremely detailed roommate agreement to drive Sheldon to the dentist later that day. Of course Sheldon cannot take the bus home from the dentist as they put him out for his cleanings because apparently "he's a biter." Leonard refuses and, at Sheldon's suggestion, officially opts of the agreement making them roommates only and friends no more.
Meanwhile, Howard explains excitedly he's going to be doing some training with NASA for his upcoming space travel. He and Raj discuss how every astronaut is provided a nickname from his fellow astronauts and they must go over what Howard's would be. Raj professes if he were an astronaut his nickname would be Brown Dynamite -- you gotta love him. He suggests Howard try to sway the astronauts into giving him the name Rocket Man.
Later at the apartment, we see the gang, including Bernadette and Amy but sans Sheldon, eating takeout. This was a scene I have much missed. Sheldon joins them shortly after, having taken the bus home from work as Leonard is no longer obligated to drive him.
Sheldon tells Amy she can take him to the dentist to which she declines, as she will be busy studying the effects of alcohol on monkeys. Someone's gotta do it! This exchange offers Penny the chance to zing Sheldon about his relationship with Amy, saying that in terms of girlfriends he doesn't "use them for what they're for, so what do I know." I laughed a lot at this; it's funny because it's true.
Sheldon then offers up the opportunity for someone else to drive him, but no one wants to take him to any of the appointments Leonard previously has. Feeling disheartened, Sheldon goes to the comic book store in an attempt to become better friends with Stewart, the beloved but very sad owner. He makes small talk with Stewart before jumping into his quandary about the dentist, which Stewart also declines to help him with.
Later, back at the apartment, Sheldon tells Leonard he doesn't need to go to the dentist and that he's found a home service that will come and do it for him. They usually specialize in dogs, but they've agreed to check him. Frankly I was surprised by this approach from Sheldon, I would have thought the mixture of germs and smells from dogs would have put him off to the idea -- although we never find out if he would have gone through with it. Leonard offers to take him to the dentist if Sheldon agrees to admit that he's a 30-year-old man who cannot function on his own. True to form Sheldon refuses.
Shortly after, there's a power outage in the building, which makes Penny happy that it isn't only her apartment without power. She reveals she sent the power company a Starbucks gift card and some photos of her in her bra in order to sustain her electricity. Sheldon goes into emergency mode, unloading some items such as glow sticks. Leonard one-ups him by retrieving his light saber from the closet, which also made me laugh. I have to admit, in a power outage, I'd want one of those, too!
Sheldon is always so prepared and is generally always right, so I really enjoyed that his dependency on others was so blatantly obvious and that Leonard could also upstage him at the same time. I was kind of hoping this might resort in some incredibly small growth from Sheldon, but alas, it did not.
While Sheldon offers Leonard and Penny entertainment in the form of the game Red Dwarf, they decline in favour of wine and bubble wrap at Penny's place. Not long after, Sheldon interrupts them, announcing he's making smores. Leonard and Penny can see he's lonely and Leonard starts to soften, as he usually does with Sheldon.
He goes back to their place and says that he will drive Sheldon to the dentist and his other ventures if Sheldon will show appreciation for it. To which Sheldon quickly retorted "Every time?" like it was the most absurd thing he's ever heard. Leonard then softened to this too, in favour of Sheldon's suggestion of one day a year being "Leonard's Day" where Sheldon gives him a card of appreciation for everything does for him. However, Leonard's day does not entitle Leonard to breakfast in bed, sitting in Sheldon's spot or control of the thermostat. I liked this whole exchange, it was fun and cute -- but I do still wish sometimes Leonard wouldn't always be the one to compromise himself in favour of Sheldon. It really would be nice to see Sheldon give an inch, at times. Especially after Penny finds out from the building manager that someone (Sheldon) flipped the breaker switch, killing the power and instigating the whole black out scenario.
We close with some resolution on the Howard nickname front. Raj excitedly tries to help Howard by calling Howard's phone while he talks via Skype to someone I believe is actually a real life NASA astronaut. They're hopeful the astronaut will hear the Rocket man ring tone and suggest the name. However, upon hearing Howard's mother call after him about his breakfast of Froot Loops getting soggy, he unfortunately ends up with the nickname, Froot Loops. Can't win 'em all Howard.
What did you guys think? Should Leonard have bent to easily to Sheldon again? Did Bernadette still seem upset about Howard going into space to you? Will we ever see Leonard's Day actually celebrated? Until next week!