"The Big Bang Theory" Season 5 finale, "The Countdown Reflection," ended on a spacey note. Everything moves forward in the episode with the exception of the Leonard-Penny relationship. It was satisfying to see the main story arc move forward, but the episode also had few laughs compared to a typical episode. The absence of laughs is balanced by a touching moment.
The finale is tied together by Howard's (Simon Helberg) journey to space and his marriage to Bernadette (Melissa Rauch). The episode begins with Howard waiting in the space shuttle, mentioning that he is already married. It is a bold move to give away everything at the beginning. The days leading up to liftoff are presented as a series of flashbacks.
Bernadette decides she doesn't want Howard to leave without getting married to him first. They initially decide to go to City Hall, but miss the deadline. Raj then comes up with an idea of getting married on the roof. The entire gang decides to get ordained online so they can all officiate. It's a perfectly nerdy wedding.
Leonard and Penny
One of the running jokes through the episode was Leonard's (Johnny Galecki) proposal to Penny (Kaley Cuoco) during "coitus" in the previous episode. His proposal was ridiculous, but adding to the humor, Leonard resents Penny for not taking it seriously. Sheldon announces the incident to the entire gang making for many Leonard-centered jokes throughout the episode.
Raj, the party planner
Raj (Kunal Nayyar) revealed that he is an excellent party planner, coming up with the idea that Howard and Bernadette should get married on the roof of the apartment building, so it can be photographed from space by Google Earth. He decorates the rooftop with a huge heart, in the middle of which the nuptials take place. It is the perfect wedding for a man who is about to fly into space and his soon-to-be wife.
Sheldon and Amy
Amy (Mayim Bialik) reveals that she is as self-absorbed as Sheldon (Jim Parsons). When Howard and Bernadette decide to get married at City Hall, Amy insists on wearing her maid-of-honor dress. When the plans fall through, Amy searches for another couple for whom she can stand in as a maid of honor. When she gives her speech at the ceremony, she says she'll be happy to be maid of honor again if the marriage "craps out." Her arrogance is both hilarious and annoying. She provides the funniest jokes of the episode, even with a cloyingly bad personality.
Sheldon is self-absorbed, but gives the viewer the biggest surprise at the end. While the gang watches Howard's liftoff on TV, Sheldon is overcome with emotion and takes Amy's hand. This is a leap forward for their relationship, as it involves an emotional response from Sheldon.
After the wedding, the episode jumps back to the liftoff. The gang watches on TV. Bernadette is frightened, so Raj takes her hand. Leonard and Penny forget about their problems and hold hands, as well, followed by Sheldon taking Amy's hand. It is the most touching moment of the season as the gang, and the viewers, watch Howard fulfill his dream.