Warning: Spoilers ahead for the most recent episode of The Big Bang Theory. Be sure to come back once you've caught up!
Way back when Amy and Sheldon came up with the basic idea for their theory of super asymmetry after their wedding, you can bet that they'd thought it would be a long road. But, there's no way they could have known that the theory would lead to so much drama between themselves, a competing duo of physicists, the Nobel Prize committee and the president of Caltech. After months of trouble, both personal and professional, because of their idea, the newlyweds might finally, really, be on the way to getting their Nobel Prize. Here's what went down.
When the show opens, Amy and Sheldon are eating with President Siebert in his fancy Caltech dining room, but he seems to have arranged the lunch so that the two can make peace with Dr. Campbell and Dr. Pemberton, who are still on top when it comes to public perception and who seems to deserve the Nobel Prize for the theory of super asymmetry.
Sheldon remains largely quiet (he's really learned his lesson), but Amy apologizes to their competitors for her behavior during the luncheon weeks ago quickly and sincerely. Unfortunately, Campbell and Pemberton can't just take the apology. They have to rub in the fact that they still look better publicly than Amy and Sheldon, and note that her yelling at them during the luncheon probably just means she's insecure and knows that they'll be awarded the Nobel.
Campbell and Pemberton remain calm throughout, but Amy is having a hard time dealing with their attitudes, especially since they keep saying things that prove they don't understand the theory at all. Siebert notes that if they don't stop sniping at each other, the Nobel might go to someone else altogether, so Campbell and Pemberton leave with all their quiet, and totally unfounded, surety intact.
But, as they're walking out with Siebert, they run into Kripke, who says a generous hello to Pemberton, having gone to college with him and knowing him very well. When Kripke gets to Amy and Sheldon, though, he reveals that he hates Pemberton because he stole his thesis in college, and had a habit of stealing other people's ideas even back then.
Amy asks Kripke if he's sure, and he offers to make some calls and see if he can get proof, because he really doesn't want Pemberton to end up with a Nobel Prize. Amy tells him that she's not sure, because the whole thing seems kinda sleezy, but luckily for her, Kripke says "sleezy is where I thrive," so, you know, no problem there!
But, actually, there is a problem there! See, Amy and Sheldon aren't totally cool with the moral / ethical implications of using this info to trash Pemberton and keep him from Nobel contention. They don't want the nomination just because he's out of the running; they want it because the committee realizes they're the ones who really deserve it.
At dinner with the gang that night, Amy and Sheldon bring the dilemma up to everyone and the room is divided. Penny and Howard think it would be wrong to ruin Pemberton's whole career by exposing his college cheating (because it was a long time ago), and also agree that they should get the Nobel simply because they deserve it, not because they pushed Pemberton out of the running with some underhanded business.
Bernadette and Leonard, however, feel that Amy and Sheldon deserve the Nobel and sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to get what should be yours when the situation is as muddled as this. Plus, Leonard adds that if Pemberton has made a habit of stealing others' ideas for this long, maybe he doesn't even deserve to have a career. Meanwhile, Raj wisely points out that even though they want to win, they know this isn't the honorable way to do it, and this is why they haven't already told Kripke to get his evidence for them.
When getting ready for bed that night, each of the couples is still debating Amy and Sheldon's options, and it leads to a sweet moment between the potentially prize-winning duo. After going over what it would mean to follow each option with regards to Pemberton, Sheldon tells Amy, "I love talking to you. It’s like talking to me, but with a girl's voice." Awww...of course this compliment is actually a compliment for himself. But, when dealing with Sheldon you take what you can get.
Across the hall, Penny and Leonard are also talking about the choice their friends need to make before wrapping up for the night. While Penny says she's proud of them for taking the high road and not turning Pemberton in, our new, more go-gettery Leonard says that it only works if they end up with the nomination, because if they don't all their moral high ground will go undecorated with a much deserved Nobel Prize.
This is when Leonard realizes something. He understands that Amy and Sheldon aren't cool with the idea of destroying Pemberton's life to knock him out of the running for the Nobel, but now that he knows there's evidence that the man has been a cheater, liar and plagiarist for decades, he doesn't have to stand by and do nothing. That's right, friends...nice, never-gets-his-hands-dirty Leonard contacts Kripke and gets that evidence for Amy and Sheldon.
Unfortunately, when he leaves Kripke's office he runs into Amy, who notices that he's acting funny and tells Penny as much after work. Well, Penny spills the beans about Leonard's plan, which leads to Amy eventually telling Sheldon and the two of them running across the hall to tell Leonard that they meant what they said, and don't want him to sully himself by doing this for them.
Now, this is when things take a turn for the extreme, because not only do Amy and Sheldon take the proof from Leonard, but they decide to meet with Campbell and Pemberton to hand it over to him, so that no one else can use it against him either. I'm sorry...WHAT?! That's an old, pushover Leonard type of move, right? I mean, let's not get crazy...
Well, just when it looks like this is the end of the road when it comes to publicly shaming and ruining Pemberton, something even wilder happens. Campbell is aghast and pissed that his partner actually did steal Kripke's thesis. He starts yelling at him about how his name is tied to Pemberton's, and if this gets out it could make him look bad and even destroy his career, as well. Pemberton cops to the fact that he really did steal the thesis, but says everything is fine now that they have the proof because no one will see it.
This is when Campbell decides to tell Pemberton that Linda, Pemberton's soon-to-be ex-wife, was right about him. And, not only that, but Campbell goes on and on about how much he's been talking to Linda and hearing about their divorce proceedings from her. When Pemberton inquires as to why he's been communicating with Linda so much, Campbell reveals that he's in love with her!
Pemberton promptly throws Sheldon's ice tea in Campbell's face and the two fall about the floor in Siebert's fancy dining room making quite the scene as they roll around fighting each other.
The next day, Amy and Sheldon are eating lunch in his office when Campbell drunkenly bursts in and announces that Pemberton is out. Someone put all that evidence they handed over online, he lost his job at Fermilab and will clearly not be getting the Nobel nomination. Oh, and because Campbell is drunk, he tells Amy and Sheldon that "someone" is actually him and he's the one who told on Pemberton and ruined his career, adding that they should now form a team for the Nobel nomination.
Amy throws Campbell out pretty fast, but this does lead them to a solution to the Nobel problem. Now that there's not another team in the running, they can take Campbell up on his offer. But, the chance of that is pretty slim. For one thing, he doesn't know anything about super asymmetry and letting him be nominated with them will legitimize all the claims he's been making for months. Secondly, there's no way they can trust Campbell and are smart enough to know that being tied to him in any way is a bad idea. The man sold out his best friend!
So, Amy and Sheldon still sort of have Campbell to content with, but at least Pemberton is out of the way, and their collective conscience is totally clear on that front, because they tried really hard to do the right thing. It's not their fault that they were handing Kripke's proof over to someone who actually hated Pemberton more than they do.