On May 16, after 12 long seasons and 279 episodes, The Big Bang Theory's run as television's most watched and most beloved sitcom finally came to an end. To cap its entire run, the series aired an hour-long, two-part finale - "The Change Constant" and "The Stockholm Syndrome." While it's become fairly common nowadays for series finales to end on bittersweet notes (or to subvert audience expectations in as many ways as they can), The Big Bang Theory thankfully stayed true to itself and provided long-time fans with an ending that was almost completely satisfying.
In the hour-long finale, The Big Bang Theory provided almost all of its characters with heartfelt happy endings, meaty emotional material, significant amounts of individual growth, and significant reveals and milestones for all of its central relationships. Everything the series managed to accomplish in the episode felt organic, and nothing seemed like it came entirely out of left field. But there were a few disappointments in the episode - mostly concerning smaller matter of closure, which are nonetheless super significant for fans.
10 CLOSURE: ONE LAST CINNAMON APPEARANCE
Does this really count as closure? For us, it does. Raj's most abiding, long-term relationship with a woman has been with the tiny, four-legged love of his life, the adorable little Cinnamon Koothrapalli. In recent seasons, the sweet little puppy hasn't been used as much as she once was, so we've been a little worried about her as of late.
Thankfully, however, the series' final few episodes more than delivered in that regard, showing that Raj and his fluffy little girl are just as close as they ever were, and that Raj is as protective of her as ever. Plus, in the case of the finale, Cinnamon's appearance also allowed for a fond farewell to the fan favorite character of Bert, who would be puppy sitting for Raj while he was in Stockholm.
9 CLOSURE: LEONARD AND PENNY ARE EXPECTING
It was a reveal that came at the top of the series finale's second half, and a reveal that had been in the making since the series' pilot: Leonard and Penny have a baby on the way. While Penny has consistently admitted that she's never had any desire to have children, Leonard has always expressed interest in starting a family. It remained a point of contention for them throughout the series, and the final season in particular.
But the series finale quickly and conveniently resolved any lingering tension. By having a time jump of two months take place between the first episode and the second, the series was able to omit all the details about the unplanned pregnancy's occurrence and any discussions or disputes that may have followed, instead focusing on the happy expecting couple.
8 NO CLOSURE: NO FAMILY MEMBERS MADE AN APPEARANCE
The Big Bang Theory has never shied away from embracing the zany, larger-than-life family members of its main characters. Characters such as Mary Cooper and Beverly Hofstadter have played major roles in the series, with Beverly driving the series' third-to-last episode in a truly emotional arc. But given the series finale episode's core focus -the awarding of the the highly esteemed Nobel Prize in Physics to some of our most beloved characters- it felt more than a little odd to not have their family along for the ride.
While both Sheldon and Amy refer to receiving text messages from their family members - Sheldon's mother, meemaw, sister, and brother and Amy's parents - none of these characters are allowed to make an appearance for the award themselves. Which is a shame, really, given the star power that these characters bring with them, including Laurie Metcalf, Kathy Bates, Teller, and June Squibb.
7 CLOSURE: THE FIRST SIGHTING OF MICHAEL AND HALLEY
Since Howard and Bernadette welcomed baby Halley into their family, The Big Bang Theory guaranteed that the children wouldn't become a fixture in the series in any way. In fact, we were all but assured that we would never see them, given the ways that the introduction of a child (or multiple children) can change the status quo of a thriving series.
It also allowed for The Big Bang Theory to incorporate a warm tribute to Howard's late mother, who was never seen but only ever heard via her distinct voice. Until the series finale, both little Halley Rostenkowski Wolowitz and Neil Michael Rostenkowski Wolowitz were only ever heard, and not seen. But the finale changed all of that, introducing the adorable little toddlers as their parents prepared to travel to Stockholm.
6 CLOSURE: SHELDON AND PENNY HAVE A FINAL HEART TO HEART
For many viewers - whether casual, passionate, or television critics - the friendship that blossomed between physics genius Dr. Sheldon Cooper and bubbly girl next door Penny was arguably one of the series' highlights, particularly in the earlier seasons. As later seasons focused less and less on their bond, and more on their respective romantic relationships, The Big Bang Theory lost some of its heart and magic.
But the series finale more than delivered in both areas, allowing Penny and Sheldon to have multiple meaningful moments. Perhaps the best of them all found the duo stopping at the Cheesecake Factory, Penny's former place of employment, for a heart to heart about how far they had both come in their lives since they met one another.
5 NO CLOSURE: NO RETURN OF WIL WHEATON
The Big Bang Theory's series finale definitely featured appearances by a lot of welcome recurring players, including President Siebert, Barry Kripke, Bert Kibbler, and comic book store owner Stuart Bloom. But one character who was sadly not given the chance to make one last, definitive appearance was none other than Sheldon's lifelong nemesis, Wil Wheaton.
With Sheldon's new-found success, it would have been the perfect opportunity to have his arch rival Wil Wheaton show up unexpectedly. Whether it would have been for more bickering, or as a way for the duo to bury the hatchet once and for all, a final meeting of these two minds was sorely missed.
4 CLOSURE: THE ELEVATOR IS FIXED
It was one of the series' most enduring running gags, and it was bound to be resolved in the series finale. As expected as it may have been for The Big Bang Theory to repair the apartment building's long non-functioning elevator, it was still entirely satisfying. Having been rendered non-operational after a science experiment went terribly awry, there has never been a point in the series where the elevator ever worked.
Episode after episode, the gang have been forced to trudge up and down the many, many flights of stairs in the building, no matter what they've been carrying. So, when Penny casually strolls out of the elevator and reveals it was fixed with seemingly no notice at all, it made for one of the finale's - and the series' - most satisfying moments.
3 CLOSURE: SHELDON AND AMY WIN THE NOBEL PRIZE
There was really no other way this storyline could have gone - and we're more than fine with that. After the long, grueling suspense the series injected into the final season with the dueling candidates for the Nobel Prize, it was more than a relief to learn - within the finale's opening minutes, at that - that Sheldon and Amy were finally being recognized and rewarded for their years upon years of hard work.
It was a moment that was entirely earned, by the series as well as its characters, and made for a truly wonderful way to unify all of the series' central characters in one place, for one goal, and with one clear emotional drive. Sheldon and Amy both delivered incredibly meaningful speeches, after many years of showing just why they deserve this distinction, and we couldn't be prouder of them.
2 NO CLOSURE: RAJ IS STILL ALONE
While the series' main characters all deservedly received the happy endings they had been working toward from the beginning of the series, we can't help but be disappointed about the way Raj's story ended. As the series' most romantic character, Raj spent the entire show looking for the girl of his dreams and waiting for his fairytale romance. He went through countless relationships, most of which ranged from bad to worse.
In the end, he still never got the happily ever after he should have gotten, at least romantically. While he's clearly fulfilled in his work and his friendships, it would have been the icing on the cake to at least have the hint of a suggestion that Raj would find someone. Even just seeing him meet someone new - and not the already married Sarah Michelle Gellar - would have done enough.
1 CLOSURE: SHELDON FINALLY THANKS HIS FRIENDS FOR ALL THEY'VE DONE FOR HIM
Sheldon Cooper has always been a loud, oblivious, and strongly opinionated man. Some people have often speculated about whether his aloof characterization could be due to a diagnosis of some form of autism, which even the cast and creators have discussed (though the series has never confirmed anything either way). It's always been hard for Sheldon to express his feelings - and perhaps hardest of all for him to show any form of gratitude to others. But the series finale more than made up for that fact.
In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Sheldon cast aside the self-serving speech he had been planning to give, instead opting for a simpler, more genuinely emotional one. "I have been encouraged, sustained, inspired, and tolerated, not only by my wife, but by the greatest group of friends anyone ever had," he stated, before individually recognizing each and every one of his friends. He closed his incredibly touching speech with one final amazing sight to behold: a genuine apology. "I apologize if I haven't been the friend you deserve, but I want you to know: in my own way, I love you all." If that's not character growth, we sure don't know what is.