Did The Big Bang Theory Set The Stage For Penny And Leonard To Break Up?

the big bang theory leonard penny

(Image credit: Image courtesy of CBS)

Spoilers ahead for the Big Bang Theory Season 12 episode called "The Procreation Calculation."

The twelfth and final season of The Big Bang Theory is only just getting started, but viewers should start considering how the series is going to end, even if that isn't set in stone at this point. The show likely won't start any huge arcs that won't have time to end before the final credits role, and the events of the latest episode raise the question: will Penny and Leonard break up?

The episode saw Raj seriously considering going ahead with an arranged marriage while Howard and Bernadette tried to pass their wisdom as parents and spouses along to their friends. Penny and Leonard decided to take a test to determine how compatible they are -- a bit late, all things considered -- which led to the reveal that Leonard wants kids but Penny does not. Once the news started circulating among their friends (and her dad, thanks to Leonard), Penny faced pressure to give in and agree to have kids (although Amy eventually came to terms with never breast-feeding Penny's baby, and vice versa). She was really very matter-of-fact about not wanting children.

As for Leonard, he had always assumed that they would have kids, and he dropped the bombshell on Penny that he figured they'd have a child within five years. When he thought that Penny was telling him she was pregnant rather than confessing that she doesn't want to make babies, he was ecstatic. By the end of the episode, he resigned himself to never having children, and the issue ended with classic Big Bang Theory shenanigans as Penny rented the Bat-mobile for him to drive. Still, the gigantic issue of having or not having kids didn't seem altogether settled between them, and it may take more than a Bat-mobile for Leonard to agree with Penny.

Given how seriously everybody took the issue of Penny vs. Leonard on the issue of having kids, it's difficult to believe that The Big Bang Theory won't revisit the issue. It's also not an issue that can really be solved via compromise. Either they have children or they do not have children. Despite Bernadette's attempts to convince Penny that motherhood is wonderful, Penny didn't waver in her determination to live a life without kids of her own. She was happy to be Aunt Penny and love the kids around her -- or at least not throw any rocks at them -- but she didn't see any mini Pennys or Leonards in her future.

As for Leonard, his glee at the chance to drive the Bat-mobile could very well be short-lived. After all, it was only a rental, and he may come to the conclusion that driving the Bat-mobile once isn't the substitute for becoming a father, even though he did acknowledge that the Hofstadter line won't end with him since he has a bunch of nieces and nephews. If Leonard still wants kids and Penny is still determined not to have them, they may need to break up.

Of course, The Big Bang Theory might not want to end the series' longest-running romance in heartbreak in its final season, so there's every chance that Penny and Leonard will end the series in agreement about kids/no kids. We do know that one other couple will almost certainly have kids, and another wedding is in the works, so there's a lot to go down in the last batch of episodes. We'll have to wait and see. New episodes of The Big Bang Theory air this fall on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).