Warning: Spoilers ahead for the most recent episode of The Big Bang Theory! Be sure to come back once you’ve caught up!
A few episodes have passed now since Penny first ran into Zack, accepted a dinner invitation to meet his new wife, Marissa, and the couple ended up asking Leonard to donate sperm so they could have a baby. We knew from the promo for this week’s episode that Penny was going to become super shady in her attempts to keep Leonard from fulfilling his promise to the nice but dim-witted twosome, and now we know how some of the baby tension has been taken care of. Leonard has decided not to donate to Zack and Marissa after all, but it doesn’t all have to do with Penny. Here’s how everything went down.
When the show opened, Zack and Marissa were at Penny and Leonard’s apartment to talk to them in more detail about the donation. They thank Leonard and Penny for doing this and promise that they’ll be really good parents, and when Leonard asks what the next step is, Zack tells him the doctors want him to go into the baby-making palace on Monday, which is five days away. This is when Zack adds that it’s better for him to keep away from what I’ll call Penny’s candy jar until then, as well as not…procuring his own candy. When Zack apologizes for how long that wait will be, Leonard says it’s fine, since he waited 14 years to enjoy his own candy and 24 years to partake of someone else’s.
Zack is serious about trying to make sure this all goes off without a hitch, too, because he even left some vitamins for Leonard to take which are supposed to help increase his virility. Right after Leonard takes one, Penny’s dad Wyatt (who’s visiting from Nebraska) knocks, and Penny reminds him not to say anything about any of this baby stuff to him. After saying their hellos, Penny offers Wyatt a beer, which he accepts, saying, “You might as well have one, too. It’s not like you’re pregnant or anything.” Ouch! When Penny hears that, though, all secretive thoughts go out the window and to get her dad off her back she tells him that Leonard “wants to have a baby with my ex-boyfriend Zack.”
A few minutes later, when Penny remarks to Leonard how well the visit is going, he says it’s going good for her, because she threw him under the bus. Wyatt then tells them that the whole thing is strange, mostly because of the fact that Zack is Penny’s ex. When he asks if Penny’s really OK with this, she says that she supports her husband…but, you know, if Wyatt has a real problem he should just say so. But, Leonard breaks in to assuage Wyatt’s fears by saying he just wants to help two people who want a baby and can’t have one, which leads to Wyatt, ever the farmer, comparing Leonard to a prized stallion they had and “put out to stud.” As you can imagine, Leonard is quite happy at being compared to both a stallion and a stud, so he and Wyatt end the night on a high note.
Now, when Penny and Leonard are getting ready for bed that night, things get a bit tricky. When Leonard walks into the bedroom, Penny apologizes for throwing him under the bus and says she wants to make it up to him and starts kissing him. Leonard tells her he appreciates that, but he’s supposed to abstain and wants to do it to make the donation process as…fruitful as possible. She says OK, but then pulls off her robe to reveal that hot lingerie that we saw in the promo, and when Leonard says, “I know what you’re doing, so please stop,” she takes her seduction techniques a step further by pulling out a comic book and reading in the sexiest voice possible.
Leonard isn’t just going to put up with his wife’s sabotage, though. Oh no, he’s made a promise and he plans to follow through at any cost. The next morning, we watch Sheldon get up first thing, make a bowl of cereal, yawn and head to the couch only to find Leonard asleep there. He then quietly goes back to the bedroom, cracks the door, and asks for Amy, telling her that “there’s something out here.” When she instructs him to trap it under a cup because she’ll be out in a minute and can take care of it then, that’s when he informs her that this “something” is actually Leonard.
As you might imagine, this prompts Amy to make a quicker trip to the living room and ask what’s going on. After he tells them about abstaining and what Penny tried to do, Amy notes that it would seem her bestie isn’t really alright with operation sperm donation after all. Leonard tells them that he can see that, but doesn’t know why she won’t just come out and tell him that instead of trying to trick him into having sex, and also says that he respects her decision not to have kids, but this is his chance to leave something behind. Amy, being the wise woman that she is, reminds Leonard that doing this won’t make him a father, which is what he really wants.
Meanwhile, across the hall. Penny gets back from a run and Wyatt notes how long it took her. It turns out that she was avoiding him and actually took the time to hit up about four other places after her run, including getting a massage. When Wyatt points out that she’s likely avoiding him because she’s mad, he also says that she’s mad at Leonard and, mostly, herself, for allowing Leonard to think she’s actually OK with him donating to Zack and Marissa, when she clearly isn’t.
Then, Penny admits to Wyatt that she feels like she’s letting him and Leonard down with her not wanting kids. While Wyatt has obviously had some issues with a lot of what Penny’s done with her life (like getting drunk in high school and stealing a horse), he tells her that he just doesn’t want her to miss out and if this is really what she wants or doesn’t want then he’s on her side. Just then, Leonard comes in and tells Wyatt to back off, saying that all baby decisions are theirs and theirs alone. Penny tells him that it’s all been worked out because she and her dad talked, but Leonard is quite proud of how he handled it and Wyatt actually gives him props for being so authoritative.
This is when Leonard drops the news to Penny (and Wyatt) that he’s changed his mind about donating. He tells Penny that he’d really be heart-broken if there was a kid of his out there that he couldn’t be a real dad to him or her. Later, we see him make the call to break his decision to Zack, who at first assumes that Leonard means he doesn’t know how to donate instead of he no longer wants to donate. They almost had another candidate, though, when he suggests that he call Sheldon, who’s been jockeying for the gig and (not so) secretly wondering why Zack thought Leonard was a better fit, but we see Amy tell Sheldon in no uncertain terms that he won’t be donating anything and he has to inform Zack that he’s “not allowed.”
Well, while this settles the most pressing issue of how Leonard donating his sperm and having a biological child out in the world would impact his marriage with Penny, it still leaves a big question unanswered. Leonard is obviously way more concerned with parenting a child than just “leaving something behind,” and when you want to be a parent I can imagine it really sucks to be stopped from doing it for any reason. So, will he really be able to be OK with Penny’s choice to not have kids for the rest of his life? And, will Penny be OK with getting reminded (however gently and infrequently) that Leonard wants kids and she’s stopping him from having this major life experience?