The Status Quo Combustion Season 7, Episode 24 - Aired May 15, 2014
With his career in flux Sheldon struggles to deal with even more changes in his life, leading him to make a drastic decision. Meanwhile, Raj and Emily's relationship takes a step forward, while an injured Mrs. Wolowitz puts a strain of Howard and Bernadette's life.
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Director: Mark Cendrowski
Viewers: 16.73 million Adults 18-49 Rating: 4.8/18
- The title refers to the fire at Stuart's comic book store which was one of the many changes in the episode that altered the status quo, particularly for Sheldon.
- This episode is the first time we learn Mrs. Wolowitz's first name is Debbie.
Penny: [on the phone] No, mom. It's the same guy I've been going out with for the past two years. Yeah, the scientist. Well, it's complicated. He works with lasers and atomic magnets. No, I did not see it coming. No, we have not set a date. No, I am not pregnant. Yeah, this is a first for our family.
Howard: Hang on, I know a place where you could you stay and earn some money at the same time.
Howard: I just have to warn you: it will involve humiliation, degradation and verbal abuse.
Stuart: So, what's the catch?
Bernadette: But we have jobs, we can't babysit her twenty-four hours a day.
Howard: What if we use our vacation time?
Bernadette: I wanted to go to Hawaii, not Hell.
Bernadette: Sorry, I'm late. The leaf blower broke so I had to hand dry my mother-in-law.
Leonard: How's your mom holding up?
Howard: She's okay, but we just lost another nurse.
Amy: How many's that now?
Howard: Two, and I know what you're thinking: she's eating them.
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As the gang gather in the apartment, Leonard asks Howard how Mrs. Wolowitz is doing. Howard says she's doing okay but another nurse has quit. When everybody is there, Leonard and Penny tell the gang the news that they're engaged. As the gang celebrates the news, Raj says he thought him and Emily having sex was going to be the big news. After the group moves over to Raj to congratulate him, Leonard wonders what they're doing. Bernadette explains that Leonard and Penny propose all the time, but Raj having sex never happens.
At the university cafeteria, Raj is still basking in the afterglow and keeps reminding his friends that he had sex. When Sheldon shows up disconcerted, he explains he was just called into President Siebert's office and told he must continue his work with string theory. When Sheldon tells them he's considering leaving the university, Leonard urges him not to make any rash decisions. Later, another nurse walks out on Mrs. Wolowitz, leaving Howard and Bernadette to wonder how they're going to take care of her.
When Leonard video chats with his mother to tell her the news of his engagement, she's already heard it from Sheldon. Beverly admits that while she had her misgivings about Penny, as Sheldon speaks so fondly of her, she accepts she's good enough for her. Meanwhile, Penny phones her mother to tell her the news, realizing it is a first for their family that she's not getting married because she's pregnant. When Bernadette joins Amy and Penny, they ask Penny what the living arrangements will be now she and Leonard are engaged. After Bernadette realizes Penny isn't working, she offers her the job taking care of Mrs. Wolowitz, telling her she'll pay her anything she wants. Later, Penny runs out of Mrs. Wolowitz's house, telling Bernadette to keep her money.
Back in the apartment, as Sheldon writes an appeals letter to the university, Leonard approaches him to talk about their living situation. When Leonard tells Sheldon he and Penny might want to live together without Sheldon, Sheldon angrily dismisses the suggestion. Later, in Amy's apartment, Sheldon complains to Amy about the university forcing him to go back to string theory and Leonard suggesting they not live together any more. As Amy listens to Sheldon complain about Leonard, she tries to paint him as a bad roommate, hoping Sheldon might choose to live with her. Sheldon rejects the notion of change and insists Amy's not moving in, Leonard's not moving out, everything will stay the way it is.
While Leonard cooks dinner for Penny in the apartment, they wonder whether they should set a date for their wedding. Amy arrives looking for Sheldon, worried about him after he stormed out of her apartment. When Amy doesn't take the hint that they're trying to have a romantic meal together, Penny tells her to get out. Elsewhere, when Sheldon turns up at the comic book store, Stuart is clearing out charred merchandise following a fire. When Sheldon asks Stuart when he will re-open the store, Stuart says he doesn't mean to be rude but his life is kind of falling apart. Sheldon tells Stuart about all the recent changes in his life, and how he hates all the change and wants it to stop. When Stuart responds sarcastically to Sheldon, he leaves telling him he's not the only one whose day has been a disaster.
Back in the apartment, growing worried about Sheldon, Leonard goes online to track Sheldon's phone to see where he is. When Leonard see Sheldon's at the train station, he decides to go get him as it's dark out and he's alone. At the comic book store, Raj and Howard comfort Stuart about the fire. When Raj offers Stuart a place to stay for a few nights although it would affect his plans with Emily, Howard tells Stuart he has a place where Howard can stay and earn money at the same time. Stuart isn't fazed when Howard tells him the job will involve humiliation, degradation and verbal abuse.
At the train station, Penny and Leonard approach Sheldon, telling him they were worried about him. Sheldon tells them not be melodramatic, he's just getting on a train and leaving forever. Sheldon plans to live off the land, by stopping at malls and buying what he needs. Leonard tells him he knows he's upset, but it's nothing they can't work through if he comes home. Sheldon says he's reached his breaking point and needs to leave now, he is overwhelmed by all the changes and he needs to get away to think. Penny takes Leonard aside to suggest Sheldon's idea to get away might be good for him. Leonard says he can't take a trip like this by himself, but Penny points out he is a grown man. Penny tells Leonard they can't protect him forever and that he has taught Sheldon well. Leonard tells Sheldon if he needs to do this, he won't stand in his away. Penny tells him to stay safe and call them.
At Mrs. Wolowitz's house, Stuart encourages Howard and Bernadette to go home and he's got everything under control, telling them the job is a dream come true for him. Back at the apartment, Amy finishes a phone call with Sheldon. Amy says she thinks he sounds like he's doing pretty well, but she then starts hitting Leonard with a pillow, asking him how he could let Sheldon go.