My wife and I had rewatched all the previous episodes over last weekend to prepare for the show's return, so the start of the season and subsequent episode "arc" was very fresh in our minds. We did very much enjoy the episode, and laughed a lot, but noticed that Penny's characterization is changing/has changed (yes, this will take some getting used to...) Previously, she was a bit more meek, ditzy, whatever you call it, but last night, we obviously saw her as a more "in charge" character. If you'll remember, though, in the last episode, we did very much see many of those same characteristics (in taking care of Koothrapali), so this isn't really a change, just furthering that character arc.
On a technical note, did anyone else notice that CBS shorted us in actual show runtime (~19:27 sans commercials, verses standard 20-21 minute normal runtime). I have to wonder: is this is result of the strike, the advertisers, or what?