Kudos to Chuck Lorre for masterminding the best possible season finale of "The Big Bang Theory" on Thursday night. Instead of an annoying cliffhanger or a "will they, won't they" moment, "The Countdown Reflection" closed out the season with one of the most beautiful moments in sitcom history.
Howard Wolowitz doesn't pull a Steve Urkel.
When "Family Matters" switched to CBS for its final season, Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) finally won the heart of Laura Winslow (Kellie Shanygne Williams). In what inadvertently became the series finale, Urkel was assigned to go up on the space shuttle and was nearly lost in space.
There was none of that cheap sitcom nonsense during "The Countdown Reflection." As a nervous Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) sat in his Russian Soyuz capsule, he thought back to the events of the previous week, which culminated in a rooftop wedding with his lady love, Bernadette Rostenkowski (Melissa Rauch).
There were no second thoughts or recriminations from either Howard or Bernadette. As he has shown in the episodes leading up to the finale, Howard truly loves his girlfriend, who now is his wife. He even credits her for making him a better man.
Because it was a last-minute wedding, all their friends, including Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik), went online to become ordained ministers. Co-officiating at the wedding, each cast member shared thoughts and buried feelings through a ceremony that was hilarious and touching.
Moving forward on "The Big Bang Theory"
Going into "The Countdown Reflection," the key players were in a state of flux. Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) had mended their relationship, but Leonard upped the ante by proposing in bed. Amy had mounted a campaign to make Sheldon focus more on her, even wearing a classic "Star Trek" outfit to bend his emotions to her will.
Those repressed feelings came flooding out during the wedding ceremony. To be honest, it was more than a little annoying watching Leonard and Penny snipe at each other. Amy, in a very self-centered mood, was more than irritating as she shifted the focus of the wedding onto her maid of honor dress.
Yet, Chuck Lorre redeemed himself beautifully with a simple closing scene that brought both tears and goosebumps. The core cast gathered in Leonard and Sheldon's apartment to watch the launch on television. For quite possibly the first time, Rajesh (Kunal Nayyar) admitted openly that he loved Howard and shared a gentle moment with Bernadette in the living room.
Even Sheldon was caught up in the moment, offering a "Boldly go, Howard Wolowitz" to his space bound friend. A man who does not like to be touched, Sheldon also reached out for the hand of girlfriend Amy, an act that left her -- and the audience -- speechless.
These moments are what sitcoms are all about. Thank you, Chuck Lorre -- you have boldly gone where few have gone before.