Warning: Spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory. Proceed with caution if you're not caught up!
Well, this potential Nobel Prize is still causing trouble on The Big Bang Theory, and poor Amy is now in the middle of a meltdown over it. As you may remember, the previous episode saw Drs. Pemberton and Campbell coming closer to winning the Nobel war, as they went on a media tour to get the public on their side when it comes to who should be nominated, even though they only accidentally confirmed Amy and Sheldon's theory on super asymmetry and actually have little idea how it works.
To fight back and try to make sure Amy and Sheldon get the credit (and Nobel nomination) they deserve, Caltech invited other scientific luminaries to a luncheon so that the newlyweds could talk up their work and try to get the scientific community on their side. But, Campbell and Pemberton also showed up and when they were proving to be a hit with the assembled scientists, Amy lost her shit and yelled at them in front of everyone.
And, the fallout from that event has been swift and not so kind to our fair Amy Farrah Fowler. When the episode opened, Amy was telling the guys, who were all assembled for lunch at work, that Ms. Davis (guest star Regina King), who is the head of HR at Caltech, wanted to see her. The guys began to tease her about being naughty, and the fact that Sheldon used to have to go to HR frequently, but Amy immediately begins to freak out because she's afraid that she's really in a lot of trouble about the luncheon incident.
Before Amy has a chance to head to Ms. Davis' office, though, Sheldon gets a text that he's wanted in HR, too, so they head there together. When they arrive, President Siebert is also there and Ms. Davis informs them in her calming HR voice that he wanted her there so that everyone is clear on what's happening next regarding the Nobel Prize and their potential nomination. She also tells them that they aren't there to point fingers, and has to tell Sheldon to stop not-so-covertly pointing his finger at Amy.
As you might imagine, Siebert is pissed. He tells them that Amy's behavior at the luncheon has probably gotten all around the scientific community by now and that it could ruin their chances of the Nobel nomination. Siebert also tells Amy and Sheldon that Caltech is cancelling all of their speaking engagements and interviews, noting that they are to say nothing else about it publicly because Caltech is officially in damage control mode. From now on, they are to sit back and do nothing.
Then, probably in an effort to convince Amy and Sheldon to let the school handle things from here on out, Ms. Davis uses her super calm voice to remind Amy that, for her especially, this Nobel Prize is bigger than her. If she and Sheldon win, Amy would only be the fourth woman to win a Nobel in physics, meaning that she could become an inspiration to budding female scientists everywhere for years to come. And that, ladies and gentleman, was the very large science straw that broke Amy's emotional back.
Amy hadn't been thinking at all about the implications of winning a Nobel on anyone other than herself and Sheldon. Likewise, she hadn't been thinking about what it would mean to not get nominated because of her actions at the lunch for anyone other than herself and Sheldon. Now, though, the pressure to fix this is on, not just for her, but for future generations of female scientists.
Later, when Amy and Sheldon are talking to Penny and Leonard about the situation, it's clear that Amy is beginning to panic and worry. Meanwhile, Sheldon is just annoyed that they've been relegated to doing nothing to help their own case, so Penny suggests a massage to help him relax. As could be expected, though, he only lets Amy massage him, and even then he has to smell her hands first, so that is a no-go.
Leonard comes to the rescue by suggesting they head to a sensory deprivation tank, and while Sheldon is unsure at first, Amy manages to convince him that it might be nice to have no distractions as they try to calm down and forget their troubles for a bit. So, after being reassured that they will use separate tanks because Sheldon doesn't want another sharing a womb situation like with his twin sister, they all head to a facility.
As they prepare to enter the tanks, the operator tells them that people sometimes have very different reactions to floating in a completely dark tank with no sounds or other external stimuli, but if they feel uncomfortable they can hit a panic button. Sure enough, it's not long before we see that Sheldon is enjoying his experience and beginning to see pretty colors, while Amy is inundated with visions of Ms. Davis telling her she's letting everyone down which then turn into visions of the hundreds of female scientists who won't have her as an inspiration flooding her mind as they yell the same angry words at her. Again, poor Amy.
When the operator opens the tanks, Sheldon actually asks for more time. Amy, on the other hand, is much more stressed than before and pops up screaming, "I’m a failure! I can’t do this!" Oh, Amy.
When they get home, Sheldon is calmly curled up on the couch, smiling with a cup of tea and talking about how amazing the sensory deprivation tank was. But, Amy is yelling and angrily cleaning the refrigerator. Luckily, Sheldon notices that she's still mad and asks what he can do. When Amy says she doesn't know, he looks online for tips when someone is freaking out. This would have been nice, but when he sees that taking a walk is a suggestion, he promptly tells Amy he's going for a walk and abandons her. Oh, Sheldon.
Later, he's talking to Penny and Leonard and telling them that he tried to console her. Leonard is suspicious and asks what he means by "console," and when Sheldon reveals that he asked what he could do, Amy didn't know so he took a walk, went home and saw that she was still mad so left again to see Penny and Leonard, his gut reaction that Sheldon didn't actually try that hard is confirmed.
After Leonard tells Sheldon that there might not be anything he can do, because sometimes people just need to be angry for a while, Penny pipes up with some sound thinking. Her thought is that Sheldon probably doesn't know what to do because Amy is always taking care of Sheldon, not the other way around. If you figure that this means he went to research ways to help an angry and anxious significant other, well, you just don't know Sheldon as well as you think you do.
Oh, no. Sheldon assumes Penny's words mean that by being calm himself, he's actually taken away the one thing that could give Amy comfort at this difficult time: taking care of his emotional needs. So, he rushes across the hall to pretend to be in a state that will cause Amy to forget her issues and pay attention to him. But, it doesn't work. For possibly the first time ever, Amy tells Sheldon she doesn't know what's going on with him but she doesn't have time for it. When he tells her he doesn't know how to help her, she sits sadly on the couch and starts to cry.
But, then, Sheldon does something sweet. He announces that he's going to come over and hold her, asking if she'd like to smell his hands first. When she declines, he sits beside Amy, embraces her and sings "Soft Kitty" to her. It makes Amy smile, and she tells him that it's helping, but since this is Sheldon, he shushes her and says, "I'm singing," before continuing the song.
It seems like it's a good thing that Amy got a full version of the song, though, because the next day a still unsure Amy heads into Ms. Davis' office and tells her that she was right about the Nobel being bigger than just Amy, but she was wrong to keep her on the sidelines as they try to do damage control because she's a strong woman and can handle it. The episode ended with Ms. Davis pulling a large bottle of booze out of a cabinet, which Amy had actually asked for when she offered her water, so it's probably a safe bet that Ms. Davis will help Amy continue to rally and fix this mess she inadvertently made worse.