|The Russian Rocket Reaction|
Season 5, Episode 5
October 13, 2011
"The Wiggly Finger Catalyst"
"The Rhinitis Revelation"
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Howard is given an amazing job opportunity by NASA - as a payload specialist, he will travel into space via a Russian Soyuz Rocket to install his team's deep field space telescope on the International Space Station. Everyone is proud of him, but it doesn't go down well with Bernadette, who is upset that Howard didn't consult her first. When he does, she still says no because she is worried about his safety. After telling on him to Mrs. Wolowitz (who is unwilling to let him go), Howard kicks her out. After talking to Penny and Amy, Bernadette feels guilty and decides to apologize to Howard. He forgives Bernadette and they kiss. During the kiss, Mrs. Wolowitz is heard again, making it clear that Howard's "tuckus is not leaving this planet!".Meanwhile, Sheldon takes offense when Leonard decides to attend a party held by Wil Wheaton, after they were invited while at the comic book store. He refuses to go and feels betrayed by Leonard, comparing his friendship with him to Schrödinger's Cat, as he will be simultaneously his friend and NOT his friend. Sheldon aptly refers to this state of friendship as "Schrödinger's Friendship." When the night of the party comes, Leonard finds out that Brent "Data" Spiner will be there. After much thought, Sheldon shows up, only to have Wil Wheaton give him the very thing that caused his hatred towards Wil: a signed, mint-condition, limited-edition Wesley Crusher action figure. Sheldon immediately forgives him and gives Wil Wheaton a rare hug. However, Brent Spiner soon becomes Sheldon's enemy, when he opens the figure's mint condition packaging.
"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 TV Critic's Review
- 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 4.6 (adults 18-49).
- This episode aired in Canada on October 13, 2011 with 3.678 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1. In England, 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.
- This episode contains the 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 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 "'Roseanneseries).
- 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 superceded 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).
- 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.
- Captain Sweatpants is at Wil Wheaton's house.
- 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, storm-trooper, 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.
Howard: What?! No?!
Bernadette: (shaking her head) No.
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, boohoo! 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 to tell on him on his mom! He can't go to space, he's basically like a little bird! One time he got asthma for reading a big book!
Amy: I think that's a little exaggerated
Penny: No, I was there that day. Sheldon broke his back 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?