Warning: Spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory. Be sure to catch up before reading on!
We all know that Sheldon has had some major difficulties understanding what the people around him need, especially when it comes to their emotional lives. He's been known to be selfish and tone deaf when it comes to handling other people's, sometimes delicate, feelings and it's gotten him into some hot water, even recently, with both friends and his new bride, Amy. But The Big Bang Theory just showed that he (finally) really knows how to step up when it comes to treating Amy right, and it's all thanks to their recently published theory on super asymmetry. Here's what went down.
As the episode opens, Amy and Sheldon are filming Fun with Flags (possibly the last we'll see), and when Amy goes to check comments on her phone she sees that they've gotten a comment from Fermilab, the particle physics and accelerator laboratory in Chicago, letting them know that a team of scientists has confirmed their theory with an experiment. Obviously, this interrupts Fun with Flags, and Sheldon and Amy proceed to yell "We did it!" so many times that when Leonard and Penny overhear them, they assume the "it" is something totally different, with Penny telling him, "Awww, remember when they only did it on her birthday?"
Later, Amy and Sheldon are meeting with President Siebert in his office and he's clearly excited about the news that their theory has been proven, noting that it could even mean that the two get a Nobel Prize. There's some cause to worry, though, because when Siebert tells them that Caltech has other Nobel Laureates and they'd be numbers 39 and 40, Sheldon calls number 39. When Amy asks what difference it makes, he just smiles gleefully. Obviously, Sheldon's selfish and competitive tendencies are rearing their ugly heads, and he's looking to make sure that his accomplishment is set in stone before Amy's. Oh, Sheldon...what are we going to do with you, son?
Siebert also let the couple know that the team from Fermilab, Dr. Campbell and Dr. Pemberton were on their way to Caltech to talk to them about their findings, and when we next see Amy and Sheldon they're being introduced to them by Siebert in his fancy, semi-private dining hall. As they talk, though, Sheldon gets a surprise when he finds out that Campbell and Pemberton weren't looking into super asymmetry at all, and confirmed their theory with a failed experiment that had nothing to do with it. Also? The Fermilab team doesn't even fully understand super asymmetry or Amy and Sheldon's theory on it. Sheldon is very much taken aback by this news, as we figured he would be, but this isn't even the biggest shocker he finds out about them.
Sheldon decides to do some digging on Campbell and Pemberton, and finds out that they've actually been doing their own press tour about their findings, which kind of makes it look like they got to super asymmetry first. While Sheldon is at lunch with the guys, he tells them about this, worrying that the Chicago crew is planning to try and steal the credit for it. While Raj tells him not to worry, because it will be clear that he and Amy got there first, Leonard decided to throw cold water on that idea. He pointed out that the man who came up with the theory for the big bang (nice touch, show writers) went unrewarded while the scientists who did the experiment which accidentally proved his theory went home with the Nobel Prize.
It seemed, at first, like a terrible idea for Leonard to point this out, but it was actually a good thing that he did, because it prompted Sheldon to talk to Campbell and Pemberton. He told them to give up trying to steal credit for super asymmetry, and they said they wanted to work together to get the best chance of getting noticed by the Nobel committee. Unfortunately, no more than three people can share one Nobel Prize and those dudes were hoping Sheldon would be cool with cutting Amy out of a shot at the award. Their thought is that since she's not even a physicist and is married to Sheldon, he'd be able to smooth any ruffled feathers and keep her from making trouble about it. Oh boy...
While Sheldon is mulling this idea over at dinner with Amy, she can see that something is clearly bothering him. So, he fesses up about what those Fermilab fatheads had to say, and she seems shocked but tells him that the idea actually makes sense. Sheldon tells Amy that he wouldn't do that to her, but she thinks maybe he should. She says that getting a Nobel Prize has been a lifelong dream for him, and if doing this means he's one step closer to it, she doesn't want to be the reason that he doesn't get a shot. When Sheldon says that she's the only reason he's come this close at all and asks if she really wants him to do this, Amy just answers that she wants him to be happy and the two hug.
But, and this is a big "but," guys. During this conversation, Sheldon has been doing something that has taken 12 seasons for him to master...he's been paying attention to Amy's body language. It was clear that Amy wasn't 100% happy about this idea, just that she was willing to take one for the team that is her and Sheldon. Of course she wants a shot at a Nobel Prize, she worked her brain-loving ass off to help get this theory published and deserves any awards that come because of it. And, this is why what Sheldon does next is so important.
The next day, Sheldon barges into Siebert's office and tells him that there's no way he'll stand by and let Amy be cut out of the recommendation to the Nobel committee. Sheldon is even ready to fight Siebert on it, knowing that this will cause friction between Caltech and Fermilab, and how much Siebert wants to add to his roster of Nobel Laureates. Surprisingly, Siebert just congratulates Sheldon on his commitment to Amy and says he's behind him all the way. After all the trouble that this theory has caused for Amy and Sheldon, it's really good to see that he understands how hard they worked together to make it a reality, and to see him step up and put his own interests aside to support his wife.