- Viewership: 18.5 million
- Rating: 12.2%
- Share: 22%
- Date: May 16, 2019
When you're the longest-running multicamera comedy in TV history, there's a lot of pressure to give fans a satisfying finale—and "The Big Bang Theory" managed to do just that. The second half of the two-episode finale is the highest-rated episode of all 12 seasons, according to IMDb, with 9.5 out of 10 stars.
The episode tugged at viewers' heartstrings from the start: with a montage of clips from the show's 12-season run. Then, it turned its attention to none other than Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), of course. After he and Amy (Mayim Bialik) win the Nobel Prize in Physics, they both struggle with the media attention that comes with it. Penny (Kaley Cuoco) eventually convinces Sheldon to accept change in a very special way: by riding the elevator that's finally been fixed after 16 years, giving closure to the show's longest-running joke.
The second part of the season finale sees Amy, Sheldon, Penny, Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Howard (Simon Helberg), Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) flying to Sweden for the Nobel Prize award ceremony. After a series of events in which Sheldon disappoints his friends and regresses socially, he gets a stern talking-to from Amy. Then, on the fly, he decides to discard the acceptance speech he wrote as a child and instead acknowledges Amy and his friends.
In the series' final moments, the gang shares one last meal in Apartment 4A as an acoustic version of "The Big Bang Theory" theme song plays.