Jesse Cowell/My Damn Channel
Maane Khatchatourian
October 19, 2012 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Michael Parmelee/CBS

Image Credit: Michael Yarish/CBS[/caption]

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Howard Wolowitz returning from space! Our favorite NASA astronaut (no offense, Buzz Aldrin) landed home safely during tonight’s episode of The Big Bang Theory, but didn’t quite receive a hero’s welcome. In my favorite episode of the season, Howard was abandoned by all his loved ones, while Penny and Amy proved that girls rule and boys (like autotrophs) drool.

Howard had a panic attack while parachuting down in the space capsule, but managed to regain his sanity on solid ground. He exits the plane and is greeted by chants of “Howie,” a herd of photographers, and dozens of fans only to realize that “Howie” is Howie Mandel. Fortunately, Bernadette is prepared to make his day better. The newlyweds head home to start the honeymoon they never had, but a sick, red-nosed, nasally Bernadette (who can’t turn on Howard, despite her ardent effort) falls asleep mid-kiss.

In the meantime, Penny, Amy, Leonard, and Sheldon decide to play Pictionary — girls versus guys. The always-condescending Sheldon scoffs at Penny’s decision to wage a battle of the sexes, but ultimately lets his big brain and even bigger ego get the best of him. Amy and Penny crush them mercilessly. I especially loved Sheldon’s depiction of polish, which he read as Polish (think sausage and Madame Curie). The battle turns into a full-fledged game war that includes rounds of Where’s Waldo, dizzy long division, wrestling, and naturally, pie-eating.

With Bernadette asleep, Howard (who’s probably still harboring an Oedipus complex) decides to visit his mother, who’s getting more action than him. He catches her fooling around with the family dentist (he hears their “whispers” from outside the door) and leaves before the situation gets even more awkward. Next up, he’s dissed by Raj, who has made plans for the night with his new BFF Stuart. And of course, the rest of the gang is too busy gorging themselves with blueberry pie to give him the time of day. So our Rocket Man goes where all great heroes end up: alone in a diner, eating his emotions away. At least he eats cheesecake instead of pie.

My favorite scene from the entire night was the wrestling match between Penny and Sheldon. She pins him down within seconds and kisses him into submission. When Sheldon asks Amy to help him out, Amy joins in on the smooch fest. All together now, “awww.”

Here are the 10 best lines from tonight’s episode:

“You had a good run, fake Wolowitz. We’ll remember you with nostalgic fondness. The way we do the dial-up modem, the VHS tape, or … or Leonard’s gym membership.” –Sheldon

“He left a boy, he returns a boy-sized hero.” –Sheldon

“I think they’re here for me, Ringo.” –Howie Mandel

“Let’s go home so I can tear off those little pants.” –Bernadette

“Just keep in mind astronauts lose a lot of muscle tone in space, so you might have to do most of the heavy lifting.” –Howard

“It’s not a present, it’s the present.” –Sheldon

“That was amazing. You made me feel things I ne…” –Bernadette

“All games are made up. They’re not found in nature. You don’t just dig in the ground, come across a rich vein of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.” –Sheldon

“She has a distinct advantage in all tavern-based competitions. Pool, beer pong, wet T-shirt contests — they’re all out.” –Sheldon

“Just for the record, I have never entered a wet T-shirt contest. I’ve won a few, but that’s just because I spill when I’m drunk.” –Penny

“Bernadette’s a little under the weather and my mom’s kind of under my dentist.” –Howard

“It’s like we both had these holes in our lives, but now we fill each other’s holes.” –Raj

Read more:

‘Big Bang Theory’ behind the scenes: Sheldon’s taste in T-shirts explained — VIDEO

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin landing on ‘The Big Bang Theory’

‘The Big Bang Theory’ cast on last season’s finale and their top moments of all time — EXCLUSIVE

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