New promo photos for this week’s upcoming episode of The Big Bang Theory have appeared online, featuring guest stars, tea, and cardiovascular exercise. Minor spoilers ahead.

The Big Bang Theory returns from a week off this Thursday night with “The Tenure Turbulence,” and these still photos give a tantalizing peek at what the episode has in store for the geeky gang. Check out the photos right here:

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As previously reported, “The Tenure Turbulence” will feature the return of guest stars Regina King and John Ross Bowie. As Sheldon’s academic nemesis Barry Kripke, Bowie is a hilariously familiar face (and lisp) on The Big Bang Theory; King, who first featured in “The Egg Salad Equivalency,” will make her second appearance as Ms. Davis, the university’s head of HR.

It will be interesting to see if Ms. Davis and Sheldon’s relationship changes this time around. Between the smile she’s giving Kripke and her bewildered grimace in the next photo, we don’t have much confidence that Davis will side with Dr. Cooper in the future. (Not that we trust anyone who can smile while working an elliptical machine anyway!) We also wonder what role Ms. Davis will play in the tenure selection – if her word carries serious weight, no wonder Sheldon may be trying to atone for his prior egg-salad-y sins.

The stills also illustrate that Penny can seriously rock a little cocktail dress – but we pretty much knew that already. The official summary for “The Tenure Turbulence” says nothing about dresses, however.

Leonard, Sheldon and Raj fight for tenure at the University, and the competition heats up when the girls get involved.

The Big Bang Theory airs at 8 p.m. on CBS.

What do you expect in ‘The Tenure Turbulence’?

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