The love of Howard’s life, Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), returns in ‘The Hot Troll Deviation’. In the episode’s opening, Howard’s having lunch at The Cheesecake Factory with Sheldon, Leonard and Raj, when Bernadette—who waitresses there—passes by. He hasn’t seen her since breaking up; unsure how to act—sophisticated and relaxed, friendly, noncommittal or cold and distant—he opts for pathetic and frightened, hitting the floor hard enough to break something and hiding under the table.
Not to worry, though, Katee Sackhoff also returns in episode 4, giving Howard guidance in matters of the heart—not the real Sackhoff, mind you, but the same adolescent, “self-starter,” fantasy who shared a bubble bath with Howard in last season’s “The Vengeance Formulation.” This time, the two share Howard’s bed.
“Oh ravish me Howard; my loins ache for you,” she deadpans; but just as he’s about to commence a passionate night alone, Imaginary Bernadette appears. She’s there, of course, because Howard’s still hung up on the real Bernadette. “I’m confused,” Howard says and suddenly there’s another voice, this one belonging to “Star Trek” legend George Takei. Takei, we’re led to suspect, represents Howard’s latent homosexual tendencies.
When Howard goes to Penny—who works with Bernadette—for help, she refuses unless he confesses the dark, embarrassing transgression that made Bernadette dump him. Turns out, Bernadette caught Howard having sex with Glissinda the Troll beneath The Bridge of Souls while playing the online video game ‘World of Warcraft’. Why, Bernadette asks when the pair finally talk, was Howard in his room, ‘clicking’ a troll’s brains out, when Bernadette was right there in the house, one bedroom over?
In the end, Howard and Bernadette go for a second ‘first date’. With some help from Imaginary Sackhoff, Howard gets a goodnight kiss—with a little tongue thrown in for good measure. As Imaginary Sackhoff and Imaginary Takei argue from the backseat of Howard’s car about whether the couple should have sex, Howard moves in, but gets shot down; Bernadette isn’t ready. To her thinking, they’re starting anew and she needs time to get to know Howard again. ‘Told you’, imaginary Takei gloats, smirking at Sackhoff.
Elsewhere in the episode, Sheldon and Raj are still working together—which began in last season’s ‘The Pirate Solution’—and still not getting along; their latest argument revolves around Raj putting a desk in Sheldon’s office—against Sheldon’s strict order forbidding it. Raj’s new desk is no small, run-of-the-mill affair, either; but rather, it’s a space-sucking behemoth that almost pushes Sheldon’s desk into the hall and partially blocks the entranceway.
The scene in which Sheldon confronts Raj, is hilarious—“the opening salvo,” as Sheldon describes it, “in what will be an escalating series of juvenile tit-for-tat exchanges.” Raj ends up on the losing end of that tit-for-tat—at least this week—when he inadvertently blows himself up. He vows, however, that “This is not over.”
‘Deviation’ was another very funny episode. The addition of Takei to balance Imaginary Sackhoff was an especially amusing touch; the pair plays is like a heterosexual angel and a homoerotic demon sitting atop either of Howard’s shoulders, battling for supremacy. Next week’s ‘The Desperation Emanation’ marks the latest return for Amy Farrah Fowler, Sheldon’s obnoxious soul mate—and bane to all others. I can’t wait.