Hear that cheering? That's me, thrilled that this arc has come and gone. But at the beginning of tonight's episode—"The Donation Oscillation"—things certainly didn't look good. Marissa and Zack begin by telling Leonard he shouldn't have sex in the days leading up to his sperm donation. Oh, and they're hoping for a boy, so they want him to keep that in mind when he's, you know, doing his thing. Somehow Leonard remains committed to making Zack and Marissa parents.
But then, for reasons I don't quite understand, Sheldon wants Zack to choose him for the sperm donation instead of Leonard. Maybe that awful virus that infected Leonard in the last episode has now crept into Sheldon's brain? I don't know how else you explain this, because it came out of nowhere.
Around this time, Penny's dad, Wyatt, comes to visit. Penny asks Leonard not to tell her father that she doesn't want a baby, or that he'll be donating sperm to Zack. Of course, per sitcom rules, both topics come up within a minute of Wyatt's arrival. Wyatt makes a snide remark that Penny can drink all the beer she wants, because she's not pregnant. It's an awful comment, and Penny isn't pleased. But Wyatt's got more pressing matters to deal with: Leonard's sperm donation.
Wyatt wants to know whether Penny is really OK with Leonard donating his sperm; she says yes, she supports her husband. But then adds that if Wyatt is not OK with this, he should voice his opinion. Meanwhile, Leonard tries to explain why he's doing it, but bottom line: I'm still not on board.
Penny then hopes that if she seduces Leonard in bed, it'll change his mind (and break Marissa and Zack's rule). When that plan doesn't work, she disrobes to reveal a superhero-meets-cheerleader bikini-lingerie combo and starts whispering Batman phrases into his ear. Leonard does the unthinkable: He leaves to spend the rest of the night curled up on Sheldon and Amy's couch. Wow. Never get in the way of a man and a sperm donation to his wife's ex-boyfriend, I guess?
The next morning Leonard has a heart-to-heart with Amy and Sheldon. Amy says maybe Penny isn't on board with this idea as much as he thinks she is. Leonard—as clueless as ever—says, "But Penny says she is...although she also said I look dope." He adds that if Penny has a problem with it, she should say something. "She tried to seduce you! If that’s not a cry for help, then I don’t know what is!"
Leonard says he respects Penny for not wanting to have kids, but donating his sperm to Zack and Marissa is a chance to leave a part of him behind. Amy reminds him that donating his sperm isn't going to make him a dad. "It's going to be their baby, not yours." Suddenly it dawns on me: What if this whole storyline was just paving the way for a Big Bang Theory spin-off where Zack and Marissa's kid is old enough to live on his/her own and moves into Leonard and Sheldon's old apartment? And Leonard is the landlord? (My God, look at what this show has done to me.)
Anyway, back to "reality." Penny comes home, and Wyatt asks if she's avoiding him. He thinks Penny's mad at herself for not wanting a baby, which is why Leonard's about to go through with his sperm donation. Penny isn't amused and says it's really crappy to make her feel bad about not wanting kids. Wyatt insists he's not trying to make her feel bad, but he still wants to know if she's upset about everything. "Yes," Penny says. "I feel like I’m letting everybody down. I hate disappointing Leonard, but I really hate disappointing you."
Wyatt says she could never disappoint him, even if her high school years were a bit rough. He adds that being her dad is the best thing that's ever happened to him, and he just doesn't want her to miss out on being a parent. "But if this is what you want—or don't want—I'm on your side."
Penny says thank you, and they hug. Leonard "storms" in and says he needs to talk to Wyatt. Unaware of what just happened, he tells his father-in-law to back off. "If Penny and I don't have kids, that's for us, and you need to stay out of it." Penny says it's all good now, she had a talk with her dad, and he's on their side. Leonard is just relieved he can drop the tough-guy act.
With Wyatt out of the frame (he's actually only five feet away in the kitchen), Leonard tells Penny he's decided not to go through with the donation. "I think I was just fooling myself," he says. "I would be heartbroken if I had a kid out there and I wasn't his dad." Penny's voice cracks as she tells him she knows he would be heartbroken. I half-expected the writers to decide that Penny's had a change of heart and wants to have a child with Leonard, but thankfully they don't. Instead, the two embrace and except for a couple jokes about how Wyatt overheard the entire thing, the episode ends.
So Donationgate 2019 is in the books. However, with nine episodes left, I don't think this is the last we've heard about Penny's decision not to have a baby. I'm OK with that. As long as Leonard's not donating his sperm, or Penny isn't feeling pressured to give him a child, I'm good with whatever decision the Hofstadters make for their future. At least now we'll know they're both on the same page.