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Recap / The Big Bang Theory S 11 E 2 The Retraction Reaction

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The Retraction Reaction is the 2nd episode of the penultimate (11th) season of The Big Bang Theory.

Plot Synopsis: Leonard gives out a brutally honest interview with Ira Flatow of NPR that he is dubious physics has a future. His boss forces him to retract this speech regardless of his opinion.


  • Brutal Honesty: Leonard gets chastised for this, as he has put the careers of countless physicist at risk.
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  • Didn't Think This Through: Leonard for accepting an interview with Ira Flatow about physics without even having a landmark accomplishment to gloat about.
  • Gargle Blaster: The guys get drunk on a bottle of "Romulan Ale" they bought at Comic Con (Howard suggests it's vodka dyed blue).
  • Mean Boss: In contrast to her previous appearances, Leonard's boss Janine Davis is a total Jerkass to him. Considering that she has been receiving numerous emails from donors questioning why they're giving money to the Physics Department if physics is a 'dead end', she has every reason to be pissed off at him.
  • Reality Ensues: During the interview, Leonard carelessly admits that physics have had very few breakthroughs in recent years and implies that the research is a dead end. Though he knows he made a mistake, he assumes that he didn't do that much damage, but is proven dead wrong throughout the first half of the episode. He becomes a pariah in the Physics Department, the funding is at risk of being cut, and his boss warns him that he'll be fired by the next week unless he writes a retraction claiming that he misspoke. The whole debacle goes to show that honesty isn't always the best policy.
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  • Took a Level in Kindness: At the beginning, Sheldon offers the last dumpling to whoever wants it. Back in "The Pulled Groin", he wanted it but Penny ate it up and so he called Penny fat. Though Penny complains "I'm still mad at you".
  • Tranquil Fury: Davis is calm and patient with Leonard even as she threatens to fire him if he doesn't write a retraction to placate the concerned donors for the Physics Department.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Leonard gets a lot of flack throughout the episode for his comments, since he has essentially dragged the careers of countless physicist, including his own friends, throughout the mud.

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