|The Russian Rocket Reaction|
Howard announces that he is going up into space.
Season 5, Episode 5
October 13, 2011
"The Wiggly Finger Catalyst"
"The Rhinitis Revelation"
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Leonard and Sheldon drool over a sword from Game of Thrones. They decide to start a fantasy sword collection together and haggle Stuart down to $210 from $250. Wil Wheaton comes in to pick up a rare Batman comic and invites everybody to his house for a party where other Star Trek stars and crew will be attending. Leonard accepts while Sheldon walks out on his nemesis.
At dinner, Sheldon compares his friendship with Leonard to Schrodinger's Cat. Penny recalls Schrodinger's Cat by remembering a cat getting stuck in her brother's truck and they didn't need to open it to know whether the cat was dead or alive. Amy is quite taken with Penny: “Homespun stories, knowledge of physics, and a bosom that defies it. You're the whole package, aren't you?” Howard joins them with some big news. NASA to be included on the deep-field telescope heading for the International Space Station and he is going up to install it as a payload specialist. Technically, he’s an astronaut. Bernadette is concerned about how safe the Russian space vehicles are and the training he has to go through.
In the car heading home, she is not happy he didn't talk to her about it first. He then starts to discuss it with him and she rejects him. She admitted her father was a cop and she had a hard time with the danger he faced wondering if he would come home every night. Howard mentioned his own father who never came back after he was eleven. Bernadette then sniped, “Oh, boo-hoo! You're not going into space!”
Back at the apartment, Amy wondered how Wil Wheaton got on his list of mortal enemies as everybody groaned. Convention. 600-mile trip. Wil Wheaton would rather be the lower-left corner on The Hollywood Squares.
Back at Howard's, Bernadette apologizes for her behavior earlier and told Howard she didn't want to be the one to get in the way of his dreams. They made up until Bernadette tells Mrs. Wolowitz about Howard's plans to go into space behind his back. She then starts yelling at him to stay on the earth.
Sheldon, Raj and Leonard agreed that Bernadette had betrayed Howard to his mother. Penny and Amy agree that what she did was wrong making Bernadette realize, “Oh God, you're right. I took our love and threw it under his bus-sized mother!”
Penny thinks Bernadette needs to fix this problem, but she wants her to make certain she loves and wants to marry “Howard Wolowitz.” Penny and Amy bite their tongues and don't say anything else about Howard’s faults. She goes to Howard and apologizes and that she was just worried about him. He also mentions he wanted to go to the moon, Mars, and the deepest depths of the ocean. This time she says that he got seasick on Pirates of the Caribbean.
Leonard and Raj head to the party without Sheldon even though Brent Spiner would also be there. Sheldon does show up and Wil surprises Sheldon with his last Ensign Crusher figurine...and signed it, too just like he should have years before. Wil is now officially Sheldon's friend. Brent Spiner comes by and opens Sheldon’s mint condition package those ending up on Sheldon’s mortal enemies’ list. Wil assures him that it won't take up much of his time. Brent offers him a signed Mr. Data for $20. Leonard haggled two signed Mr. Data figurines from Brent and a birthday invite.
- The TV Critic: "On paper I liked the Howard-Bernadette story. She is annoyed that he didn't consult her and worried about losing him. It's enough of a motivation to explain her decision to tell Howard's mother even when she could see that she had no right to stop him herself. I like that we see her wrestling with the problem and that ultimately she realizes she was in the wrong...I'm tempted to say the writers hearts were in the right place here. The idea of Sheldon acknowledging his need for Leonard and Bernadette and Howard overcoming a problem are decent developments. But the actual script let everyone down and the results were disappointing."
- The A.V. Club gave this episode an A-
- IMDB user reviews
- Title Reference: Bernadette's reaction to Howard going up into space in a Russian Rocket, as NASA has ended its shuttle program earlier this year.
- Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
- This episode was watched by 13.58 million people with a rating of 4.9 (adults 18-49).
- This episode aired in Canada on October 13, 2011 with 3.678 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.
- In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on November 24, 2011 with 1.579 million total viewers and a weekly ranking of #5.
- In Australia, it aired on October 24, 2011 with 1.369 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #5.
- Episode transcript 
- Sheldon wears his Flash distressed athletic jersey tee shirt, his Justice League "Star Power" t-shirt, his ManBot shirt (yellow on blue shirt), and the Batman Action Duo shirt.
- Penny wears a top by Urban Outfitters, "Truly, Madly, Deeply". As with so many UO items, this item too is discontinued, and you'll have to find it used.
- The reason why Wil Wheaton did not attend the convention Sheldon went to in 1995; he was the lower left hand corner on Hollywood Squares.
- Brent Spiner is uncredited in this episode.
- Second reference that Howard may travel into space for a piece of equipment he has designed. In "The Porkchop Indeterminacy", Howard remarks, "I’m working on a project that may take me up on the next Space Shuttle." That project is possibly the deep field space telescope he designed and certainly would require years to complete. Note that his statement was uttered before the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet (though the remaining shuttle flight missions were determined years ago) and NASA's reliance on the Russian space program and the Russian Soyuz rocket.
- Wil Wheaton buys the sketch cover of Batman #612 with original pencils by Jim Lee.
- Sheldon and Leonard buy a Game of Thrones sword replica of Longclaw, sword of Jon Snow to start their fantasy sword collection. Afterward, the sword is mounted to the right of their apartment door on the accompanying plaque that reads 'Winter is Coming'. It later hangs next to the front door.
- Leonard says, "Just Bilbo Baggins' sword over there." Sheldon then scoffs, "Two grown men with a Hobbit's dagger; wouldn’t we look silly?" In "The Precious Fragmentation", they would not have hesitated to start their sword collection with this replica. Further, as seen in "The Middle-Earth Paradigm", they both like Frodo, whom also wielded this sword.
- Stuart has Sideshow Collectibles Legolas and Gandalf Polystone Statues at the comic book store. Howard has the latter at Bernadette's apartment in "The Contractual Obligation Implementation".
- Howard's Sideshow Collectibles Aayla Secura Order of the Jedi Sixth Scale Figure and Darth Talon Premium Format Figure first appear in his bedroom.
- Amy says Sheldon is a left-handed monkey wrench.
- Leonard is a good negotiator and haggler.
- Bernadette's father was a police officer and she always worried about his safety. (This comment is ironically similar to the situation in ABC sitcom, "Roseanne", where Roseanne was concerned for her sister, Jackie's safety when she became a cop. Coincidentally, Laurie Metcalf, who played Jackie, guest stars in TBBT, as Sheldon's mother, Mary Cooper and co-creator, Chuck Lorre, was once a writer for "Roseanne").
- When Howard tells Bernadette about his father leaving him when he was 11, she surprisingly had no sympathy.
- Sheldon has a list of around 61 enemies; contained on an old 5.25" floppy disk (he started the list at age 9). 5.25" floppy disks were introduced in 1976 by Shugart Associates as a replacement for the older, bulkier 8" disks; they were the mainstay of desktop computer data storage until they were superseded near the end of the 1980s by 3.5" disks (which themselves were made all but extinct with the advent of CD, DVD, and USB drives). Penny used to be on the list.
- Howard is now the first out of the four guys to kick a woman out of bed.
- Bernadette says that Howard is like a baby bird; he once had an asthma attack from reading an old library book (Sheldon threw his back out handing it to him) and he also got seasick on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. In "The Gorilla Experiment", Leonard similarly found it amusing that Howard had a panic attack when he got his head caught in a sweater.
- Leonard tells Brent Spiner to go to his birthday party, even though in the Season 1 episode "The Peanut Reaction", he said that he didn't celebrate his birthday. However, there are indications at the end of that episode that he intends to begin celebrating his birthday.
- Brent Spiner as does Wil Wheaton plays an obnoxious or evil version of his real self.
- Two well-known Star Trek writers, Dorothy "D.C." Fontana and David Gerrold, appear as background extras at Wil Wheaton's party. Gerrold is notable for writing the classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Trouble With Tribbles," while Fontana wrote many episodes for the original series (including the popular episodes "Tomorrow is Yesterday," "Journey to Babel," and "The Enterprise Incident"), The Next Generation (the pilot, "Encounter at Farpoint," and others), and Deep Space Nine ("Dax") and serve as Gene Roddenberry's story editor.
- Leonard: For God’s sake, will you stop with the Schrödinger stuff?
- Sheldon: Would you prefer a simpler application of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, in which I could either know where you are or whether I like you, but not both?
- Sheldon: Mm. Tough decision. There’s no weaponry from Lord of the Rings, forged in a Chinese sweatshop?
- Leonard: Just Bilbo Baggins’ sword over there.
- Sheldon: Two grown men with a hobbit’s dagger; wouldn't we look silly? Okay, let’s go for it.
- Amy: I don't understand, what difference does it make if Leonard goes to Wil Wheaton's party?
- Penny: Well, Wil Wheaton is Sheldon's mortal enemy.
- Amy: Mortal enemy?
- Penny: Mm-hmm.
- Amy: Sheldon, I know you're a bit of a left-handed monkey wrench, but... you really have a mortal enemy?
- Sheldon: In fact, I have 61 of them. Would you like to see the list?
- Penny: Oh, say no, say no, say no, say no.
- Sheldon: You just got off the list, would you like back on it?
- Sheldon: Interesting, that you see betrayal in others, not yourself.
- Leonard: Going to Wheaton's party is not betraying you.
- Sheldon: Oh, of course, you would have to believe that. Evil always thinks it's doing right. Excuse me, stormtrooper, these are the droids you're looking for.
- Leonard: I'm going to a party. (Leonard is getting angry and frustrated) I'm not turning over R2D2 and C3PO over to the Empire!
- Sheldon: Not yet.
- Sheldon: You've already signed something Brent Spiner; your name on my list! From this moment on, you are my mortal enemy!
- Wil Wheaton: Don't worry; it doesn't take up a whole lot of your time.
- Bernadette: I'm kind of upset that you didn't include me in the decision.
- Howard: Would you like me to?
- Howard: Let's start this again. Bernadette, I was given an opportunity that would impact both of us. I was given the chance to head up to space and use my telescope.
- Bernadette: No.
- Howard: What?! No?!
- Bernadette: (shaking her head) No.
- Howard: Why?
- Bernadette: When I was younger, my dad worked as a police officer. There was not a day that I didn't worry that he was coming alive.
- Howard: Well, my dad left me and my mom when I was 13. I never seen him since,
- Bernadette: Oh, boo-hoo! You're not going to space!
- Howard: So, sex now?
- Bernadette: Sure. I just need to brush my teeth first. (Moments later)
- Mrs. Wolowitz: (After Bernadette secretly tells Mrs. Wolowitz about Howard getting accepted into a space mission) Over my dead body my son goes to outer space!
- Bernadette: (Entering Howard's room) I'm ready! (We now see Howard looking at her in disbelief.) (Later)
- Bernadette: I had no choice. I had to tell his mother. He can't go to space! He's basically like a little bird! You know he once got asthma for reading an old library book?
- Amy: You're kidding.
- Penny: No, I was there that day. Sheldon threw his back out handing him that book.
- Sheldon: In case you have forgotten, Schrodinger’s cat is a thought experiment…
- Penny: No, no, no, no, I didn't forget. Um, there’s this cat in a box and until you open it, it’s either dead or alive or both. Although, back in Nebraska, our cat got stuck in my brother’s camp trunk, and we did not need to open it to know there was all kinds of dead cat in there.
- Amy: Homespun stories, knowledge of physics and a bosom that defies it. You’re the whole package, aren't you?
- Brent Spiner: Oh, wow. I haven't seen one of these in years. (Rips open action figure packaging) Remember how we used to make things look like they were masturbating?
- Leonard: Can we get autographed dolls?
- Brent Spiner: Sure. Twenty bucks.
- Leonard: Ten.
- Brent Spiner: Eighteen.
- Leonard: Twelve.
- Brent Spiner: Sixteen.
- Leonard: Two for thirty. And you come to my birthday party.
- Brent Spiner: Done.
- Stuart: Oh, great. More guys. It's gonna be another Wil Wheaton sausage-fest.
- ↑ The Big Bang Theory - The Russian Rocket Reaction (TV Episode 2011) - IMDb
- ↑ The TV Critic's Review
- ↑ The Big Bang Theory: “The Russian Rocket Reaction” - TV Club - The A.V. Club
- ↑ TV Ratings Thursday: 'X Factor' Drops, Still Leads Fox Win; 'Whitney,' 'Prime Suspect' Hit Lows As NBC Has Worst In-Season Thursday Ever - Zap2it
- ↑ Top Programs – Total Canada (English), October 10 - October 16, 2011 - BBM Canada
- ↑ BARB via Wikipedia
- ↑ Free to Air TV Ratings, Week 44 (October 23-29), 2011 - Throng.com.au