The Big Bang Theory- The Status Quo Combustion


Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)

It seems like everything is changing in the season finale of The Big Bang Theory, “The Status Quo Combustion.” This past season has been moving the show and these characters into new places, and gives us some insight into the next 3 years. In this year’s finale, Leonard and Penny announce their engagement only to be overshadowed by Raj’s announcement that he’s taken his relationship with Emily to the next, slightly awkward—for Raj, at least—stage.

Along with the development and the maturation of these two relationships, there are two quagmires in which the others are stuck. Howard and Bernadette are stuck dealing with Howard’s mother as all of the home health care people they’ve attempted to hire have left. Just when it seems that they will have to move in with her for the next few months, their salvation comes in the form of Stewart from the comic shop (more on that below).

Sheldon is stuck as well. The university has denied his request to switch his field of study from string theory to inflationary cosmology. But Sheldon’s quagmire doesn’t just involve that. Since Leonard and Penny are now engaged, Sheldon is facing the prospect that either he will have to move, or Leonard will. Since the second season, it’s been kind of like Leonard and Penny were Sheldon’s surrogate parents. This gets hinted at again in this year’s episode 21, “The Anything Can Happen Recurrence,” in which Amy laments that Penny has a special relationship with Sheldon that no one else does. In episode 22, “The Proton Transmogrification,” the Obi-wanesque Arthur Jeffries reminds Sheldon to appreciate the people that are still there for him, and when he wakes up, he hugs Leonard.

On top of professional and personal changes that are being forced upon him, Sheldon discovers the one place that he can go to feel better when he needs down time, Stewart’s comic shop, has been gutted by fire. While Steward was taking a shower at the car wash across the street, the hotplate that he was using to cook with in the back of his store caught fire and destroyed everything. That’s the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. Sheldon disappears. After not responding to calls or texts for a while, Leonard tracks his phone and discovers Sheldon in the train station, ready to get away to anywhere in order to think. I think about 4 months should do the trick.

There’s a beautiful scene at the train station as the parents (Leonard and Penny) allow their little boy the opportunity to strike out on his own for the first time. Perhaps for the first time in his life, Sheldon is striking out on his own. This experience is precisely what he needs to help him become more self-sufficient. He’ll be back, of course. But when he comes back, everything will be different. He will be different.

Just like Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory is growing up. There’s a different feel to the show when compared to earlier seasons. The awkward quarter-life crises, shenanigans, and dilemmas are giving way to full grown adulthood crises, shenanigans, and dilemmas. The cast and crew continue to prove themselves up to the task of maturing the characters and stories in a way that is organic and still funny.

Here’s to a great season, and looking forward to 8!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

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