Sheldon is back to being Sheldon -- horrified at having to give up an assigned parking space for which he has no use (since he doesn't drive). This sets up a classic battle of wits between Sheldon and Wolowitz, with some zany antics and great one-liners.
As funny as that is, even more hilarious are the scenes featuring the ladies. Much criticism has been thrown at the characters of Amy and Bernadette as the series and characters have evolved but they provide some of the best scenes in this one. With poor Penny caught in the middle.
This one was so good, I watched it twice in a row. I'd rank "The Parking Spot Escalation" as one of the top 10 episodes of the entire series and definitely is the high point of Season 6 to date. Highly recommended.
Leonard is really just a secondary character here. I've noticed that TBBT is much funnier when Sheldon is the main character in any of the episodes.
EPISODE GRADE: A- (MVP: Jim Parsons)
Not much development on the Penny-Leonard front which is good if like me, you find the two characters the least funny and interesting in all the cast. Generally I think Leonard and Penny are no longer front and center in this show, with Howard and Sheldon developing relationships and also with the girls becoming more prominent in the series (which is definitely welcome in my book).
Now to the uncharacteristic Sheldon (and here is where you may see spoilers): In the end of the episode there's a scene where Howard finally gives up fighting Sheldon for the spot and goes to his office for the apology. Here we see Sheldon not accept the apology and go on to give the parking spot because he needs to be the bigger man, and even makes Howard say "Sheldon, you are the bigger man." This is completely out of character for Sheldon in my view. Sheldon is definitely self-centered, stubborn and not above petty argument and fights, but he has never been a megalomaniac and has never had the classic male ego that he's been written to portray in this episode in my opinion. I think this is to allow for a more macro story arc that sees Sheldon become more and more aware of his career's lack of development, but I just find it out of character for Sheldon to be jealous of Howard because he has been in space, and it's very out of character for Sheldon to make Howard apologize because he has always shown to have such low regard for social niceties.