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"The D & D Vortex" is the sixteenth episode of the twelfth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Thursday, February 21, 2019.


When the gang finds out Wil Wheaton hosts a celebrity Dungeons and Dragons game involving William Shatner, Joe Manganiello, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kevin Smith, deception and betrayal are the path to make it to the one open seat.[1]

Extended Plot[]


The long and the short of it.

Dr. Sheldon Cooper and Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler are guest stars on Wil Wheaton’s Professor Proton science show. Both try to explain their Super-Asymmetry theory with Sheldon getting hopelessly complicated. There is a knock at the door and William Shatner joins them as an extra special guest. Sheldon gets excited exclaiming “Captain on the bridge! Captain on the bridge!" He wants to call him Captain, but Shatner just says to call him Bill. Then Sheldon wants to be called Science Officer Cooper. When Bill agrees, Sheldon gets so excited that he vomits all over him.

After the guys see the clip, they make fun of poor Sheldon who is convinced that he is going to see the guy that played Captain James T. Kirk again since he believes that Shatner thinks the world of him.


Put her there, Science Officer Cooper.

Sheldon goes to Wil Wheaton's house to apologize though Wil is obviously busy. Sheldon then hears a Dungeons and Dragons game being played with William Shatner and some others which Wil denies as he closes the door on Sheldon.

The guys are having dinner in Apartment 4A when Sheldon returns all excited about Wil's secret celebrity D&D game. He is sure that Shatner is in it. Leonard and the guys decide to graph who else that Wil knows that might be in the game. Penny quips that “this” is going to be the rest of their night. Amy figures that it'll be the rest of their lives. Howard finds a picture on Instagram where Wil is playing D&D with Shatner, Kevin Smith, Stuart and others. The guys wonder why Wil invited Stuart and not them. The girls tell each other that they know the answer to that question.

Stuart enters the Wolowitz kitchen with Howard, Raj, Leonard and Sheldon waiting for him. He's late. Stuart claims that it was a crazy night at the pharmacy. They plummet Stuart with questions causing him to breakdown telling him that he doesn't know the answers about who was there and how they get in the game.

Wil received a call that from Stuart can't play anymore because he is under way too much pressure and that he's said too much to the guys. Wil doesn't really understand him.

Howard is trying to call Wil, but his phone number is blocked. He gets him and pretends to be William Shatner who is supposedly hanging out with Christopher Walken. Wil guesses that it is Howard.

Sheldon is going for a walk in a Wild West video game when Wil calls Leonard and invites him to fill Stuart's spot in their D&D game. Leonard accepts; however, Wil tells that he has to keep it a secret especially from Sheldon.

At the game Wil is the dungeon master playing with Leonard, William Shatner, Kevin Smith, Joe Manganiello and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The players are up against a monster and they argue how to deal with it. Kill it or talk to it to death. Kareem asks Leonard what they should do and he just exclaims that he is having the greatest day of his life ever. Bill then comments that someday he'll meet a girl.


Penny learns about Joe Manganiello.

Leonard returns home and tells Penny that the “lecture” he went to was the greatest one ever. Penny figures he just went to House of Pies again. Then Leonard breaks down slowly telling her about the game and that Bill Shatner, Kevin Smith and some tall guy named Kareem was there. Penny is surprised he didn't know who Kareem was. He then mentions Joe Manganiello who gets Penny excited because in was in the movie Magic Mike.

Penny joins Bernadette and Amy with the exciting news about Joe Manganiello and the D&D game. Bernadette hadn't seen Magic Mike all the way through since Howard made them leave after he found out it wasn't about magic. Amy saw it one “or seven” times. Penny and Amy now have an urge to go play D&D!

Penny, Bernadette and Amy arrive on the Professor Proton set to confront Wil. As they flirt with Wil he figures out that Leonard had told them the secret. And he guesses right that it was Joe Manganiello that they were interested in.

In the cafeteria, Leonard just can't stop smiling which puzzles the guys. Wil calls and throws him out of the game since Leonard had told the girls. Looking sad, the guys ask him and he admits that he had been in Wil's game. This hurt the guys; however, Leonard said that they would have done the same thing. Sheldon says that there is now an open seat in the game!

Leonard, Raj, Howard and Sheldon go over to Wil's house to get into the game. Wil opens the door and says, “No. No. No. And hell no.” to Sheldon. After they plead, Wil complains that they just want to play with celebrities which sucks since he doesn't know if they like him or just that he is a celebrity. During the pleading, Leonard reveals to the guys that Joe Manganiello is in the D&D game. The guys apologized and then Sheldon adds that he doesn't even consider Wil a celebrity. Wil shakes his head and closes the door.


The Posse flirting with Wil to get in the game.

At Apartment 4A, the guys are starting a D&D game. Leonard feels bad and calls Wil to invite him to join them. Sheldon wants Wil to bring a snack. Wil declines because he is already playing with his friends and the girls. Shatner says that he is going to go all “Wrath of Khan” on the ogres. Kevin Smith tells him to put another dollar in the Star Trek jar. Amy is gushing over Joe Manganiello. Penny is ready to attack the ogres to which Bill likes her “moxie”. Penny thinks that he is using grandpa words. Amy tells Wil that they won't tell their husbands though Wil wants to send them a photo of them all together. The guys get a message on their phones and find the photo. Amy has her head on Joe Manganiello, while tiny Bernadette looks up at Kareem who had his head cut off. Leonard figures that they deserve what they got.



  • Title Reference: The title refers to Wil Wheaton's celebrity D&D game that is supposed to be secret.
  • Taping date: February 5, 2019
  • This episode was watched by 13.48 million people with a rating of 2.3 (adults 18–49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 21.82 million.
  • This episode aired in Canada on February 21, 2019.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card. [1]


  • Caroline Preece at Den of Geek! - As guest star-heavy episodes go, The D & D Vortex is a fun but incredibly low-key example. The Shatner cameo was heavily advertised for obvious reasons, but he doesn't fit into the style of the show as well as, say, Mark Hamill did last season. It's all a bit stilted. And with Shatner, Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin Smith and Joe Manganiello all stuffed into one 20-minute episode, the missed opportunities become more apparent. Preece at Den of Geek! -
  • IMDb user review [2]



Amy: Imagine you're looking in a mirror. The image you see looks just like you. That's called symmetrical.
Sheldon: Now imagine you have a billion mirrors, and each of them reflects one thing about you correctly and a billion things about you incorrectly. And imagine the set of incorrect things are floating in an abstract N-dimensional hyperspace. Now imagine there was never a mirror to begin with.

William Shatner: Hello.
Sheldon: Captain on the bridge! Captain on the bridge! You're William Shatner.
William Shatner: You can call me Bill.
Sheldon: Ooh, can I call you Captain?
William Shatner: No.
Sheldon: Please?
William Shatner: No.
Sheldon: [whispering] Please?
William Shatner: Sure.
Sheldon: And w-will you call me Science Officer Cooper?
William Shatner: This has got to stop.
Sheldon: I think you know how to make it stop.
William Shatner: [handshake] Put her there, Science Officer Cooper.

Howard Wolowitz: So, Sheldon, did you get William Shatner's autograph, or maybe his dry cleaning bill?

Amy: Why are you damp?
Sheldon: I was trying to peek in Wil's window, and he turned the sprinklers on.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: What do you think, Leonard?
Leonard Hofstadter: I think this is the greatest day of my entire life.
William Shatner: It's all right, buddy. One day, you'll meet a girl.

Leonard Hofstadter: Kevin Smith was there, and-and, uh, this really tall guy named Kareem.
Penny: Wait, wait, K-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?
Leonard Hofstadter: I don't know, it was, uh, Kareem something Jabbar. How do you know him?
Penny:: How do you *not* know him?
Leonard Hofstadter: Well, I know him now 'cause he was there.
Penny: Wow. That is so cool.
Leonard Hofstadter: Oh, a-and that, uh, the guy who played the werewolf on-on "True Blood", he was there.
Penny:: What? Joe Manganiello?
Leonard Hofstadter: Uh, yeah.
Penny: From "Magic Mike"?
Leonard Hofstadter: What's that?
Penny: [showing him photo] Okay, okay. Did he look... like this?
Leonard Hofstadter: He had his clothes on, but yeah.

Bernadette Rostenkowski: I never got to see that movie.
Amy: Seriously?
Bernadette Rostenkowski: Yeah, Howie made us leave as soon as he realized it wasn't about magic.

William Shatner: I was about to go all Wrath of Khan on the ogres.
Kevin Smith: Oh man, that’s it. Put another dollar on the Star Trek Jar, Bill.
William Shatner: Worth it!

Penny: Yeah, let’s teach that ogre, what my broadsword tastes like.
William Shatner: I like your moxie.
Penny: Aw, and I like your grandpa words.

[This quote is brought to you by Priceline....just kidding!!" Both Kaley and Bill starred in Price-line commercials for awhile together.]