The Escape Hatch Identification Season 10, Episode 18 -  Aired March 9, 2017

The Escape Hatch Identification

When Raj can no longer afford his apartment after cutting himself off from his father's money, Leonard and Penny offer up Sheldon's old room. After Sheldon struggles to let go of his old room, he offends Raj and causes trouble in Leonard and Penny's relationship.

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Guest Stars: Kevin Sussman as Stuart, Christine Baranski as Beverly Hofstadter

Writers: Steven Molaro (Story), Eric Kaplan (Story), Anthony Del Broccolo (Story), Steve Holland (Teleplay), Jim Reynolds (Teleplay), Tara Hernandez (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 13.08 million Households Rating: 8.7/15 Adults 18-49 Rating: 2.8/12

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to the theory, posited by Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, that Sheldon is upset about Raj moving into his old room in Apartment 4A because it acts as an escape hatch, ensuring Sheldon isn't trapped in a new life with Amy in Apartment 4B.

Episode Quotes

Raj: I'm sorry, guys. Sheldon was upset, Leonard and Penny were fighting. I just wanted to go someplace where I wasn't causing problems.
Howard: (sighs) I'll say it again. India.

Bernadette: What's so funny?
Howard: Raj is looking for a cheap place to live, and I wrote "India."
Bernadette: Don't post that; be supportive.
Howard: Maybe you should be supportive of my hilarious jokes.

Sheldon: What if she's correct? Doesn't that say something troubling about us?
Amy: I don't know. I just think you're the kind of person who likes a contingency plan.
Sheldon: That is true. Did you know I figured out in which order I would eat all my friends in the event of an apocalypse?
Amy: You need to stop hanging out with your brain so much. It's not a good influence.

Penny: Well, it's like that science thing. For every action, you have a gigantic and annoying reaction.
Leonard: Just when I thought you couldn't get any hotter.

Amy: This isn't about me and Sheldon. This is about Rajesh moving in with Leonard and Penny.
Beverly Hofstadter: Interesting. They've found a need to take yet another roommate. Seems they're avoiding some harsh realities themselves.
Sheldon: I had no idea all our relationships were such a disaster. Boy, you're good.
Beverly Hofstadter: That is the word on the street, dear.

News Stories

Title Date Posted
1018 'The Escape Hatch Identification' Press Release March 3, 2017

CBS has released the synopsis for the next episode of The Big Bang Theory, "The Escape Hatch Identification", which airs Thursday, March 9. Christine Baranski returns as Leonard's mother, Dr. Beverly Hofstadter.  Full story


In the apartment, Leonard and Penny are sitting on the couch reading Raj’s latest Facebook post, which says he can’t afford his rent so he’s asking friends if they know a cheap place to live. Elsewhere, Howard is laughing in bed after he responded to Raj’s Facebook post to say  a cheap place to live is India. Howard and Bernadette wonder if they can help him out, at least without letting him move in with them. Meanwhile, in their bedroom, Sheldon is begging Amy to let him get a lifesize Spiderman statue for the room. Leonard and Penny realize they have Sheldon’s old room and that they should at least offer it to Raj. Howard and Bernadette think they could make room in the garage for Raj; they know it sounds like an awful place to live, and they’re hoping Raj will think so, too. Amy insists there will be no lifesize statues in the apartment. 

As Raj packs up his belongings from his apartment, he gets a phone call from Howard offering him a place to stay. Raj is thankful for their offer, but his conversation with Howard is interrupted when Raj gets a call from Leonard offering Sheldon’s old bedroom. Raj really appreciates that, so he goes back to Howard to compare the offers and see who will give him the nicest place to live. After Raj admits to Howard that he’s got Leonard on the other line, Howard wants him to go live with Leonard and Penny. When Raj tries to get a mini-fridge from Leonard, Penny is on the line and gives him an ultimatum. 

Leonard and Penny arrive in the lobby of the apartment building as Sheldon and Amy are checking their mail. As they climb the stairs of the building, Sheldon tells them he’s heard that Raj will be moving into his old room. Sheldon insists he’s fine with it and supports Raj in trying to get his finances in order, but Leonard and Penny expected him to have a problem with it. After Leonard and Penny go into their apartment, Sheldon tells Amy he’s upset that everybody just assumes he’ll have a problem with things - though he is outraged about the situation. Inside their apartment, Sheldon explains to Amy that it’s been his room since before he even met Leonard. Sheldon realizes it’s irrational but admits he’s feeling replaced. Amy tells Sheldon it’s not an easy time for Raj, either. 

In the apartment, as the gang minus Sheldon and Amy sits down to eat, Raj wants to know if he can get anything for anybody. Penny insists he doesn’t need to serve them. Raj thanks his friends again for helping him move. Meanwhile, Sheldon and Amy leave their apartment with a gift for Raj. When they get inside Apartment 4A, Sheldon wants to give Raj his gift before they sit down to eat. After Raj thanks Sheldon for the gift - a blank notebook to write down all the ideas he has in the room, Sheldon tells Raj he knows how difficult this time is for him, pointing out how humiliated Raj must be. After Raj says Sheldon is such a jerk, Amy takes Sheldon back to their apartment to eat. 

Back in the apartment, Sheldon starts a video chat with Beverly. Sheldon admits he’s feeling down because of the Raj situation. Beverly points out that having moved in with Amy, Sheldon’s old room represented an escape hatch from being in a permanent relationship with Amy. Now that it’s gone, he feels trapped. When Amy gets offended that Beverly’s putting such ideas in Sheldon’s head, Beverly suggests Amy has similar feelings, too. 

Back in the apartment, Raj tells Leonard and Penny that moving in there might have been a bad idea, since he’s only been there one day and he’s already causing problems. Penny insists they’re happy to have Raj and that it was Sheldon who caused the trouble. Then, Sheldon comes to apologize to Raj. As Sheldon explains how Beverly helped him come to this conclusion, he mentions Beverly’s theory about Leonard and Penny’s need to take in another roommate as a buffer to cover up insecurities in their relationship. 

Later, in the apartment, Leonard starts a video chat with his mother. Leonard and Penny tell her that just because they helped a friend out in a special circumstance doesn't mean they’re scared of being alone together. After Beverly says Sheldon mentioned that Penny wanted her brother to live with them too, Leonard starts to come around to Beverly’s point of view. 

When Raj sneaks into Howard and Bernadette’s bedroom while they sleep, they wake up screaming as he tries to talk to Howard. Raj explains that he texted Howard but he didn’t hear back. When Stuart arrives with a baseball bat, Raj explains he was causing trouble at Leonard and Penny’s, who were fighting, so he wanted to go somewhere he wasn’t causing trouble. 

As Sheldon tosses and turns in bed, he wakes Amy up. He explains to her that he can’t sleep because of Beverly’s theory about him considering his old room an escape hatch. Sheldon worries that if Beverly’s correct, it says something troubling about their relationship. Amy is not so bothered; she think it just shows Sheldon is somebody who likes to have a contingency plan. Meanwhile, Stuart sets up the couch for Raj, who is feeling dejected. When Raj points out they’re both down on their luck and could try getting a place together, Stuart warns him off ruining the good thing he’s got going mooching off Howard and Bernadette. 

Back in their bedroom, Sheldon tells Amy in which order he’d eat his friends in the event of an apocalypse. Meanwhile, Raj talks Stuart in Howard and Bernadette’s living room. After explaining that he’s doing this to stop being spoiled, Raj wonders if Stuart feels bad for sponging off his friends; Stuart does not. 

The next morning, when Penny joins Leonard at the kitchen counter, they’re both surprised to find a note from Raj saying he moved out. They both feel terrible, so they wonder if they should go get him back? Penny points out that Leonard thought having Raj there was a sign of troubles in their marriage, but he says that’s only because his mother got in his head. Penny agrees with Leonard that they should go get Raj back, but first Leonard goes across to Sheldon’s apartment to shout that Raj’s dog, Cinnamon, is loose in the building. 

In Howard and Bernadette’s living room, Leonard and Penny apologize to Raj if they made him feel uncomfortable. They really weren’t fighting about him, so Leonard and Penny tell him they want him to come back. Howard says Raj is always welcome there if he wants to change things up. When Raj agrees to stay at Leonard and Penny’s, he insists it’s only temporary. 

In their apartment, Sheldon tells Amy he’s proud of their relationship. With Leonard and Penny taking in Raj, and Howard and Bernadette taking in Stuart, they’re the only couple who doesn’t need to fill the holes in their relationship with a third party. Behind them, there’s a life-size Batman statue.