'Big Bang Theory' Season 11, Episode 15 recap: Sheldon's arch nemesis returns

“The Big Bang Theory” cannot stop putting Sheldon Cooper through the ringer. The latest episode finds him dealing with the fact that his greatest enemy is replacing his greatest hero.

The episode opens with the gang learning that Wil Wheaton has been picked to be the new Professor Proton in the reboot of Sheldon’s favorite childhood show. Obviously, this rubs him the wrong way as his rivalry with the former “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star has been going on for years. On the night of the show’s big premiere, Sheldon tells Amy that he’ll be spending the night trashing it on the Internet.

“You can’t criticize something you haven’t seen,” Amy cautions.

“Are you familiar with the internet?” he retorts.

To his surprise, he and Amy find they really enjoy the new show and follow along with the experiments. Sheldon is ready to admit that he, and his countless petitions to stop it, may have been misguided. At that moment, Howard shows up as a guest star on episode one.

The next night, Howard is forced to bring Sheldon to Wheaton’s house so he can apologize. In the process, he admits that he’d consider it a great honor to be on the show. Wheaton doesn’t offer him a spot on the show but politely asks if he can have Amy on to help promote women in science. He seems fine with the idea, but she is reluctant.

When he presses her on the cause, she reveals that she doesn’t want to do it because she has no interest in getting involved with Sheldon’s gripe. He gets upset at the reveal that she doesn’t do a lot of things just to spare his feelings.

When he asks the guys the next day, they reveal that it’s not just her, but they all do it. Still, Sheldon is only interested in making sure his fiancee isn’t being held back by him.

“Amy knew what she was getting into,” Raj says. “We warned her.”

Meanwhile, Leonard is working hard on his new book, a novel about a physicist who solves crime. When he gets stuck, Howard suggests he asks Bernadette. She’s been on bed rest and has been binge-watching crime TV shows.

She gives the rough draft a read and realizes that Leonard has written a sexy blonde girl into the novel that constantly undermines him. She suggests it’s based on Penny. Later, Penny suggests the opposite. It’s not until the girls hang out that Penny concedes that she’s the basis of the character.

She yells at Leonard about it and storms off, prompting him to call his mother for advice. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds for her to directly quote the character without knowing. That’s when Leonard realizes he’s off the hook as the character is neither based on Penny or Bernadette. The character is his mother.

The episode ends with Sheldon confronting Amy. He doesn’t want her to be held back from becoming a role model for other young girls who want to become successful scientists. Flattered by his decision to put his personal gripes second to her feelings, she appears on the show. As the credits role, he beams with pride before going up to the roof to scream his frustrations away.