This week’s The Big Bang Theory may seem like a filler episode, but it might have actually set up Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) for a series finale fate similar to Chandler and Monica's endgame in Friends. With only 10 episodes left before the long-running sitcom wraps up, CBS is already starting to set-up the final stage for its beloved characters.
The latest episode of The Big Bang Theory felt out of place in the sense that it didn't have anything to do with the two of the biggest subplots that the show is treading: Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy's (Mayim Bialik) Super Asymmetry paper, and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny's (Kaley Cuoco) kid-or-no-kid dilemma. Instead, "The Meteorite Manifestation" focused on two minor narratives, one of which tackled the Wolowitzes' issue with their neighbor's brand new balcony overlooking their deck. They enlisted the help of Sheldon, who is knowledgeable when it comes to zoning laws in California, to navigate the situation in the hopes that the terrace would be taken down. However, things got a bit tricky when Sheldon found out that his friends' own deck was also built illegally. Fortunately, he decided to keep his mouth shut about it, only reporting the neighbor's balcony.
While the episode left the impression that the issue was already resolved, this might just be the start of a mini-arc for the Wolowitzes leading to The Big Bang Theory's finale. Assuming that this whole situation blows up and the Wolowitzes’ own zoning misdemeanor comes to light when their neighbors rat them out in retaliation, they might be forced to leave their home entirely and relocate somewhere else. This effectively ends their regular run-ins with the gang, which could be an effective way to end the show, just as it was for Chandler and Monica.
In the final season of Friends, Chandler and Monica decided to move outside of the city, leaving their iconic apartment behind as they become parents to twins. The move had been in the works for a few episodes before , wrapped up. In fact, the series even chronicled their hunt for a brand new house paving the way for a final appearance of Chandler's ex-girlfriend, Janice. Despite the rest of the gang remaining in the city (though Joey eventually moved to Los Angeles for his spin-off), the Bings' move marked the end of an era for the New York gang.
The same could happen with the Wolowitzes in The Big Bang Theory, even if leaving their home would be for an entirely different reason. After moving back to Howard's mother's place following her death, he and Bernie have done a few renovations around the house to make it feel like their own. But if things are blown out of proportion with regard to what could be an ugly rift with their unknown neighbor, they may just be forced to find somewhere else to live for their own sanity. Bernadette and Howard play a similar role to Monica and Chandler, as both are the most family-centric couples among their respective groups. It would make sense for them to decide to move to a bigger house for their growing family. Having an inciting incident such as the potential conflict with their neighbor, however, would be a good spin on the beaten sitcom trope.
With any luck that mysterious neighbor could even be Mark Hamill, which will make for a fun plot twist. Last season, Howard found Hamill's dog lost in their backyard, which paved the way for the Star Wars icon to officiate Amy and Sheldon's wedding as a favor for Howard. And since The Big Bang Theory is already going all out with A-list stars coming in, it makes sense to have Hamill back for a cameo.
The Big Bang Theory season 12 airs Thursday nights on CBS.