"The Bon Voyage Reaction" is the twenty-fourth episode and the season 6 finale of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Thursday, May 16, 2013.[1]


Penny is thrown for a loop when Leonard is offered a temporary job overseas, but the news is an even bigger shock to Sheldon. Raj wants more out of his relationship with Lucy than she can handle and their relationship comes to a crossroad, which leads to Raj undergoing a major transition.

Extended Plot

While eating at the Caltechcafeteria, Raj is describing the time he spent with Lucy where he was on video chat and stared into her eyes for twenty minutes until he realized that her screen had frozen (still calling it one of his top three dates). Leonard wonders if they are ever going to meet and hang out with her, Raj says that she is not comfortable around other people. Sheldon pipes in that he felt the same way until he started identifying others with beloved Star Trek characters. To him, Leonard is "an unnamed red shirted crew member (famous for being killed on away missions)" and Raj is Lt. Uhura. Howard joins them and tells Leonard that he may have gotten him a job. Sheldon feels that Leonard's job is to cater to his every whim.  Howard learns that Stephen Hawking has an expedition going to the North Sea to test hydrodynamic simulations of black holes and they now need an experimental physicist. Howard recommended Leonard for the opening in the team. Sheldon reminds him that it is not a good idea for the unnamed crewman in the red shirt to go off on an expedition.

On the way home Sheldon tells Leonard that most drownings occur near ships. Leonard then concludes that Sheldon doesn't want him to go since he will be alone. Changing the subject Sheldon asks Leonard who would win in a fight, him or a shark. Leonard actually thanks Sheldon for his blend of concern and selfishness; however, Leonard tells him that it is such a great opportunity that nothing he says is going to stop him. Sheldon then plays his trump card that Leonard's relationship with Penny might suffer. Leonard then stops his car, and angrily stares at Sheldon who says that he should have opened with that. 


Raj showing Lucy the ISS.

Raj is showing Lucy the International Space Station passing overhead near Venus through his telescope. Raj mentions that Howard was up there and only brought him back the typical "My friend visited the space station and all I got was this lousy T-shirt ". Raj then brings up Leonard's request to meet her and asks if they could all hang out sometime. When Lucy hears that there are six of them, she complains that that is a lot of pressure with being stared at and personal questions like "Where are you from?" or "Why did you lock yourself in the bathroom? ". Then Raj suggests just meeting one of them. Lucy's social phobia - she is uncomfortable even just being in a room with three people who are all inclined to be well disposed towards her -  is getting out of hand and posing problems for their relationship. 

Telling Penny that he has a great opportunity.

At dinner at Penny's she describes spilling drinks all over her shirt and getting her biggest tip ever. Leonard tries to explain what the goal of the Hawking expedition which impresses Penny. Since he would be gone all summer, Penny is surprised and says that she'll come and visit him which is not practical since he is on a ship. Penny is worried that Professor Hawking will roll overboard; however, he is not coming and is only sponsoring the trip to test his theory. Penny compares it to Leonard sending her to kill spiders in his bathtub. Leonard is worried that their relationship has been going so well that he hopes that being gone won't screw it up. Penny tells him that if he is going to screw it up, it's more likely that he would to happen if he stayed. Penny then tells him that it sounds like a great opportunity based upon what she didn't understand and that he should go. Leonard tells her that that is great and to also keep an eye on Sheldon. Penny then reminds him of what happened when she took care of his goldfish. Leonard then quips that she should just flush Sheldon down the toilet and get him a new one.

While the gang is having take-out in Apartment 4A, Leonard tells his friends not to throw him a party. Howard quips that they don't often get a chance to throw a "bon voy-age" party for someone actually going on a "voy-age". Raj enters, Amy greets him, he whispers to Howard and Leonard tells him that there is a beer in the refrigerator. Again, Leonard insists that he doesn't need a party to which Sheldon remarks that they need it for closure before you die at sea. Penny quietly tells Sheldon to shut up. Bernie remarks that one of the things that got her through Howard's trip to outer space was getting married before he left. Penny quietly tells Bernadette to shut up. Raj joins them with a request. Amy is amazed that he can now talk and wants to cut open his brain to see what is going on in there. Raj wants one of them to meet Lucy. Sheldon tells him that his schedule is awfully full. It's Leonard that he wants her to meet since his best friend Howard is a bit too Woody Allen/brassy. Penny suggests that one of the ladies meet her. Raj agrees and turns to Bernadette which offends Penny. Raj finds Penny too pretty and that could intimidate Lucy, which Penny understands, but offends Bernadette ("I'm not pretty enough to scare your girlfriend?!"). Amy tells him that she is the best choice since she was an outsider from the very beginning and they welcomed her in making her feel loved. Sheldon then jumps out of nowhere and says he will meet Lucy, causing confusion among the rest of the gang.  


Amy meets Lucy.

Amy, Raj and Lucy are about to have dinner. Amy is explaining how she met Sheldon and then the rest of the gang that made her feel loved which Lucy says is nice to hear. Amy suggests that all of them get together next week. Raj tells Lucy that she doesn't have to if she doesn't want to. Amy replies that they should ignore him since he doesn't realize that she understands the severity of Lucy's social anxiety. Raj objects to her talking to somebody about social anxiety if they have a social anxiety which makes them society anxious, Amy then gets annoyed and tells him that she is a neurobiologist and that she is more qualified to know what is not working in his girlfriend's brain. Amy is also talking to Raj as if Lucy is not even there. Raj reacts that she is not his girlfriend although he immediately asks Lucy if she could be. Lucy is getting more uncomfortable when Raj adds that if she says no, he will never be happy again (Not to put you on the spot.) Lucy runs off to the bathroom. Raj tells Amy that they might as well eat since she is not coming back soon.

Penny and Sheldon are shopping for the party which makes no sense to Sheldon since the store didn't have a party section. Sheldon wonders why Penny of all people is encouraging Leonard to go. Penny says that since she is his girlfriend she is supporting him. Sheldon mentions that she might not continue being his girlfriend since there is a tradition that men at sea turn to each other. Sheldon goes on that all Hawking proves is where things came from, why things work and what the ultimate end of everything will be. Sheldon feels that he is working on the real big questions. Penny realizes that Sheldon, the genius, is actually jealous of Leonard. Sheldon explains it that he is not jealous, he is just unhappy that it is happening to Leonard and not to him. Penny tells him about another commercial she had also auditioned for. Though she was jealous and wanted to rip out her fake blonde hair, she smiles and said that she was happy for her. That's what friends do. Sheldon interpreted it as that they lie so they don't look petty. Penny shows him how to smile and say "I am so happy for you."

Raj is skyping with Lucy and apologizes for Amy since she got way out of line. Then the screen appears to freeze. Real-time Lucy reappears and she tells him that Amy was not the problem, he was! Raj admits to pushing too much. Raj first says that she is better in one-on-one situations and then invites her to Leonard's going away party. The entire emphasis will be on Leonard and she can wear brown and blend into the couch. Raj almost begs her to come. At first she is unsure and then she very reluctantly agrees.


Raj can talk to Penny!

Another formal party at apartment 4A. Bernadette and Leonard are discussing when he got seasick the day he got stuck on the "It's a Small World" ride at Disneyland. Howard and Leonard agree that his trip is working on the frontiers of science and a trip of his lifetime; however, Howard's trip of a lifetime was going into space. Howard is proud of him and will miss him though space still beats water. Amy asks where Lucy is and Raj says that she is just running late. Sheldon offers a toast to his best friend Dr. Leonard Hofstadter. He says that he has a wonderful opportunity ahead of him and that he couldn't be happier for him and then smiles. He looks over at Penny as they know where he got that from. Howard tells Sheldon that it is great for him to pretend to be happy for Leonard and that it must have killed him when he went into space. The festive mood of the party quickly changes when Raj then gets a text from Lucy, telling him that she isn't coming, their relationship is too much and that they shouldn't see each other anymore, clearly showing that Raj went way too far and pushed Lucy too hard. Raj excuses himself while his friends tell him that they are sorry. Sheldon breaks the tension telling Howard that it didn't kill him when he went into space because they send monkeys into space. 


Penny and Leonard's final hug.

Sheldon, Penny and Leonard are sitting at the curb at LA International Airport. Penny sighs and says "Well, here we are."  They tell each other that they are really going to miss the other and try to kiss when Sheldon tells Penny that they are in a red zone and need to move to a white zone. Leonard tells Penny that they can e-mail and phone easily. Penny asked if he had enough inhalers and Dramamine mentioning the "It's a Small World" incident. Sheldon sees an officer and gets even more nervous. Leonard gives Penny a present which Sheldon quickly describes (a heart-shaped locket with a photo of Leonard's face, which she puts on later) and tells her to move. They tell each other goodbye and "I love you". Sheldon yells out to the officer that they just love each other and aren't smuggling drugs. Penny kisses Leonard and hugs him tightly.

Penny stops by to check on Raj on the way back from the airport. Raj says that he feels about the same and invites Penny in. She can't stay long because Sheldon is in the car with the window cracked open and he is going to finish the activity book in about thirty seconds. Raj explains that he finally found someone right for him and he drove her away. Penny then hugs Raj. They both miss their other halves. Raj starts to cry complaining that he can't find anyone and that he is unlovable. Penny assumes that that is the booze talking though Raj denies having anything to drink since last night. Both of their eyes open surprise upon realizing Raj has finally gotten over his inability to speak around women while sober. Raj is now crying for a whole different reason. Penny also bursts into tears happy for him.

Girls' night in Penny's apartment has them drinking wine and Raj is on talking non-stop. He goes on and on about Lucy as the girls glance at each other. Amy asks Bernadette if he ever shuts up. Raj goes on and on through the credits until the show and season 6 is over.



  • The TV Critic: "It's felt like a season of tiny steps forward for the gang. ...It just wasn't very funny and hasn't been especially funny for most of the season. Statistically it doesn't seem to be any worse than the previous two seasons. ...[The Big Bang Theory] could be here for another decade churning out essentially the same story week after week."[2]
  • The DR Club gave this episode a B+.[3]
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode an A-.[4]
  • IGN gave this episode 7.3/10.[5]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The title refers to the reaction that they all have to Leonard leaving for an overseas job for the summer, or Raj being able to talk to women after Lucy saying goodbye (Bon Voyage) to Raj.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 15.48 million people with a rating of 4.8 (adults 18-49).[6]
  • This was the third time a season finale ended with a cliffhanger of leaving for a scientific expedition (Season 2's The Monopolar Expedition, Season 5's The Countdown Reflection).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 20.34 million.
  • This episode aired in Canada on May 16, 2013 with 3.569 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #2.
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on with 3.569 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #3.[7]
  • Episode transcript [1]

Costume Notes



Leonard: Anyway, Stephen Hawking’s team is looking into that and I've been invited to join them.
Penny: Wow, Hawking, good for you!
Leonard: Well, it is. You know I’d be gone for a while.
Penny: For how long?
Leonard: Three - four months.
Penny: Whoa. When would you leave?
Leonard: A couple weeks.
Penny: Wow. OK. Well, I’ll just come visit you.
Leonard: That’s the thing. You can’t. I’ll be on a ship in the North Sea.
Penny: On a ship. Aren't they afraid Hawking will just roll overboard?
Leonard: He’s not going to be there. He’s sending a team to research his theory.
Penny: Oh, sure. Like when you send me to kill spiders in your bathtub. Well, OK. Four months.
Leonard: Yeah, I’m a little worried because things between us have been so great. And I’d hate to do anything to screw that up.
Penny: Oh, sweetie. If you’re going to do anything to screw things up, it’s going to be while you’re here, not while you’re away.

Leonard: Really, you guys do not need to throw me a going-away party.
Howard: Are you kidding me? How often can you say bon voyage to somebody when they’re actually going on a voyage?
Amy: Hello, Rajesh.
Howard (in Raj accent): Hello, Amy. Nice to see you. What can I say? It’s funnier with the accent.
Leonard: There’s beer in the fridge. Anyway, you guys really don’t need to make a big deal.
Sheldon: Leonard, you’re being selfish. We need to give you a proper send-off so we’ll have closure when you die at sea and crabs eat your face.
Penny: Sheldon, sweetie, shut up.
Bernadette: You know, one of the things that helped me get through Howard being in space for so long was getting married before he left.
Penny: Bernadette, sweetie, shut up.
Raj: Okay. I have a request to make.
Amy: And now he can talk. I want to cut open your brain and see what the heck’s going on in there.
Raj: The only person allowed inside this head is Dr. Phil. Anyway, I, I spoke to my new lady friend about meeting you all, and she thought it would be easier for her to start with just one.
Sheldon: Oh, gee, I don’t know. My schedule’s a little busy.
Raj: Actually, I was thinking Leonard.
Leonard: Oh. Thank you, Raj. I’d be honored.
Howard: What the hell? I thought I was your best friend.
Raj: You are, but you’ve got kind of a big personality, with your flashy clothes and your Woody Allen swagger.
Penny: You know, maybe she’d be more comfortable meeting a girl first.
Raj: Good idea. Bernadette?
Penny: What the hell?
Raj: Well, you’re very pretty. That could be intimidating to another woman.
Penny: Oh, yeah.
Bernadette: (she is so very cross) Hey, you don’t think I’m pretty enough to scare your girlfriend?
Howard: Calm down, Bernie. You’re very scary.
(Bernadette is now even more cross at what Howard had said)
Amy: It should be me.
Raj: Why? So you can make jokes about cutting open my brain?
Amy: A, that was not a joke, that was a sincere request. And B, more importantly, I was the outsider to this group, and I know how frightening that can be. But you guys took me in and made me feel loved, like I was family.
Sheldon: Fine, I’ll do it.

Penny: Well, here we are.
Leonard: Yep, I’m really going to miss you.
Penny: I’m going to miss you too.
Sheldon: Penny, we’re in the red zone. The white zone is for loading and unloading. We’re breaking the law.
Penny: Yeah, but here’s no space in the white zone.
Leonard: Anyway. We can email and I think the phone connections are pretty good.
Sheldon: Uh, you have to get out of the car right now. I’m not going to jail for you.
Leonard: Would you just relax?
Sheldon: Oh, I see a space in the white zone. Quick, circle the airport.
Penny: Did you bring enough inhalers?
Leonard: Yes.
Penny: And extra Dramamine? You remember what happened on “It’s a Small World.”
Leonard: Yeah, I’m covered.
Penny: OK.
Sheldon: Oh, dear lord, a police officer is looking in our direction. We've been made.
Leonard: Calm down, I’m getting out. Something I want to give you.
Penny: Oh, Leonard.
Sheldon: It’s just a heart shaped locket with a picture of Leonard’s face in it he got at the mall. Now move, move, move.
Penny: I love you.
Leonard: I love you too. (They kiss and hug.)
Sheldon: Don’t worry, officer. They just love each other. We’re not smuggling drugs. (Gives a thumbs up.)

Amy: So after I started dating, Sheldon and I met Leonard and then everybody else and they've all been so wonderful to me.
Lucy: That’s really nice to hear.
Amy: Maybe next week we could all get together.
Raj: Lucy, you don’t have to answer that. Don’t put her on the spot. Am I right? Tell her she’s putting you on the spot. Go ahead. Tell her.
Amy: Ignore him. He’s a little nervous because he doesn't think I understand the severity of your social anxiety.
Raj: Are you crazy? You can’t talk about social anxiety to someone who has social anxiety. It makes them socially anxious.
Amy: Excuse me, but I’m a neurobiologist. I think I’m a little more qualified than you to understand what’s not working in your girlfriend’s brain.
Raj: Don’t call her my girlfriend. We haven’t discussed whether we're girlfriend and boyfriend yet. Now that it’s out there, are you my girlfriend? By the way if you say no, I’ll never be happy again. Not to put you on the spot.
Lucy: I think I have to go to the bathroom.
Raj: We might as well go ahead and eat. She’s not coming back anytime soon.

Penny: Are you OK?
Raj: No.
Penny: I’m so sorry.
Raj: No, it’s my fault. I finally find somebody who is right for me and I drove her away.
Penny: Oh. Raj.
Raj: Penny, I miss her already.
Penny: I known how you feel. I miss Leonard too
Raj: Wh-what is wrong with me? Why can’t I ever have love?
Penny: You will.
Raj: No, I won't. I-I-I’m unlovable.
Penny: That’s just the booze talking.
Raj: No, it's not. I haven’t had a drink since last night. (Both realized what he said and look shocked.)
Penny: You‘re talking to me.
Raj: I am.
Penny: Ahh!
Raj: And now I’m crying for a whole different reason.
Penny: Oh, me too!
(Both are crying tears of joy.)

Sheldon: Would you like to hear a classic Sheldon Cooper factoid?
Leonard: (crossly) What do you think?
Sheldon: Great. (Leonard gets annoyed, with an 'Oh no, here we go again' look on his face) I’ve been doing some reading about vehicular safety. Did you know that the highest number of drowning accidents happen on or around boats?
Leonard: Interesting that you would bring that up when I might go work on a boat.
Sheldon: Well, that’s the thing about factoids, they’re interesting.
Leonard: I know what you’re doing. You don’t want me going on this research trip because you’re afraid to be alone.
Sheldon: I’m not afraid to be alone. On land. On the sea, it would be terrifying. Because of all the drowning.
Leonard: Sheldon.
Sheldon: Fine, no more drowning talk. I’ll change the subject. Oh. Who do you think would win in a fight, you or a shark?
Leonard: Look, I appreciate your signature blend of concern for me and incredible selfishness. If I get the chance to do this, there is nothing you can say that’s going to stop me.
Sheldon: Very well. Things between you and Penny have never been better. I hope four months apart doesn’t change anything. (Leonard stops the car and stares at Sheldon in anger) I should have opened with that, huh?

Howard: I’m proud of you, Leonard. Working out on the North Sea for months, that’s really something.
Leonard: I know. As far as science goes, this is the adventure of a lifetime.
Howard: Maybe your lifetime. I went to space.
Leonard: It’s not a competition.
Howard: You’re right, you’re right. I’m really proud of you, and I’m gonna miss you when you’re gone. And space beats water.

Sheldon: Um, can I have your attention, everyone? (Clinks glass) That’s, uh, B-flat, for those who don’t have perfect pitch. I would like to propose a toast to my best friend, Dr. Leonard Hofstadter. He has been presented with a wonderful opportunity, and I couldn’t be happier for him.
Leonard: Thank you, Sheldon. That must’ve been very hard for you to say.
Sheldon: Well, I mean it. I’m really happy for you. (to Penny) And that’s how you get a toothpaste commercial. Cheers.

(The ending scene of Raj with the girls in Penny’s apartment)
Raj: So I guess what I’m saying is I get where Lucy’s coming from.
Penny: That’s great. Do you want some wine?
Raj: Uh, no, water’s fine. Anyhow, I’ve been thinking about it a lot and, and I totally see why Lucy did what she did. (Scene of Penny) I pushed too hard. But you know what? (Scene of Bernadette and Amy) If I back off and give her enough space, maybe there’s still a future for us. (Scene of speaking Raj) Yeah, the funny thing about life is that, you know, sometimes…
Amy: (she whispers crossly to Bernadette) Does he ever shut up?
(Bernadette frowns and says nothing. pan to all three girls getting really fed up with Raj's jabbering)
Raj: … but then it turns good again, and that means it’s better than if it had never been bad for a while.
(Raj's jabbering speaks over Executive producer credit)
Raj: I know that now, thing’s aren’t good, they are in fact very very bad...
(Raj's jabbering speaks over the ending credits)
Raj: but at least my heart is starting to heal. Slowly but surely. And oh how I cried. It was like a little, uh, thunderstorm on my face. But I’m a man, okay? So I need to pull myself together, pick up a pen and get it all out in my journal. I mean, it’s not all bad, right? Having my heart broken has allowed me to finally speak in front of you, (Raj's jabbering speaks over Chuck Lorre's vanity card) so, you know a silver lining...
(Warner Brothers fanfare plays just as Raj's jabbering has finally finished and Season 6 of "The Big Bang Theory" is now over)



  1. The Big Bang Theory - The Bon Voyage Reaction (TV Episode 2013) - IMDb
  2. The TV Critic's Review
  3. The Bon Voyage Reaction/S6E24 - The DR Club
  4. The Big Bang Theory: “The Bon Voyage Reaction” - TV Club - The A.V. Club
  5. The Big Bang Theory: "The Bon Voyage Reaction" Review - IGN
  6. Live+7 DVR Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory' Again Leads Adults 18-49 Ratings Increase & Tops Total Viewership Gains; '90210' Earns Biggest Percentage Increase in Week 34 - Zap2it
  7. Top Programs – Total Canada (English) May 13, 2013 – May 19, 2013 - BBM Canda
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