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"The Lizard-Spock Expansion" is the eighth episode of the second season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, November 17, 2008.


Howard accidentally gets the Mars rover stuck in a ditch while trying to impress Dr. Stephanie Barnett. Stephanie finds herself more interested in Leonard than Howard and dates Leonard instead.

Extended Plot[]

File:Leonard and Stephanie.jpg

Leonard with Stephanie at her apartment.

The Lizard-Spock Expansion 01

Always the same tie.

Sheldon, Raj and Leonard are arguing about what to watch on TV. Sheldon suggests Saturn 3. Raj wants Deep Space Nine. Leonard, trying to be funny, suggests Babylon 5 as a compromise. Raj suggests rock_paper_scissors|rock, paper, scissors. Sheldon says there is too much chance of a tie, and suggests Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock. As they tie anyway, Howard enters wearing an eye-patch; it's his latest technique for picking up women|chicks. Howard explains that this costume along with his negs (Negative Compliments meant to throw a woman off their game) are all a part of his plan to pick up women. He then tries it on Penny, but miserably fails.

The Lizard-Spock Expansion 24 - Move your scooter

Just move your stupid scooter.

Back to television, Sheldon doesn't want to watch The Clone Wars TV-series until he's seen The Clone Wars movie, so that George Lucas can disappoint him in the order which he intended. Leonard still wants to watch it, and when Sheldon offers to play rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock for it, Leonard caves in. They get an urgent call from Howard who is at the Mars rover lab and says he's in trouble. As they head to the university to help Howard, Raj and Sheldon debate whether Star Trek The Motion Picture or Star Trek 5 is the worst of the series, and whether Star Trek 4 or Star Trek 2 was the best.

When they arrive, Howard then explains he got the Mars rover stuck in a crevasse while trying to impress Stephanie Barnett, a girl he picked up at the bar. Howard appoints Leonard to drive her home as she doesn't have permission to be there. On the way home, Stephanie passionately kisses Leonard. He felt guilty about it, but after confirming that Howard didn't have a shot with her Leonard makes out with Stephanie. After they determine they can't fix the situation, Howard has them steal all the security recording and wipe the information discs.

The Lizard-Spock Expansion 02

A guest at Caltech.

A news broadcast informs the gang that because of the loss of data, NASA is unlikely to determine the cause of the Mars rover's "malfunction." Leonard heads out to meet Stephanie at her place, Leonard and Stephanie make out and proceed to initiate sex, while Howard continually calls about having dinner at his mother's house.

At the Laundry room, Penny notices Leonard's new clothes and asks who's the girl he's dating. Leonard then fills her in and she assures him that he is not a bad person for stealing Stephanie from Howard. Leonard goes to Howard's house to inform Howard that he is dating Stephanie, but before he is able to do so, Stephanie calls Howard to inform him about it. Howard then says Leonard is dead to him.

Later, Leonard tries to talk to Howard, but he continues to pretend Leonard is dead to him. Stephanie stops by and tries to speak with Howard; he acknowledges her, but doesn't speak to her. Stephanie then mentions that her roommate Lisa would be disappointed to not meet Howard. She had just gotten out of a relationship. Upon hearing this statement Howard is overjoyed and acknowledges both their existences.

In the final scene, Howard is seen sending a voice message to Lisa on the phone, apologizing for how the date had ended, when the boys call his attention to the news announcement which told that the Mars Rover, which had been stuck in the crevice, had found conclusive data that there may have been life on Mars, but they will never know who to credit for this discovery. The episode ends with Howard saying, "Son of a bitch".



  • Title Reference: When Raj wanted to play Rock-Paper-Scissors to determine what program they will watch, Sheldon proposes they play Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock, which is an expansion to Rock-Paper-Scissors as well as a reference to expansion packs.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card [1]
  • This episode was watched by 9.76 million people with a rating of 3.8 (adults 18–49).
  • Episode transcript [2]

Costume Notes[]

The Lizard-Spock Expansion 29 - S02E08Robots


The Lizard-Spock Expansion 27 - S02E08Evolution

Robot Evolution

The Lizard-Spock Expansion 26 - S02E08Destroyer

Ames Bros Destroyerscal

The Lizard-Spock Expansion 30 - S02E08Unknown


Sheldon starts with his light blue Robots tee, red Robot Evolution tee, then wears his Ames Brothers "Destroyer" t-shirt, and finally a light gray tee with an unknown design.

Chess Tournament

The Lizard-Spock Expansion 32 - S02E08Record

Turntable/Heavy Rotation

The Lizard-Spock Expansion 31 - S02e11 wildlife

Unknown Wildlife

The Lizard-Spock Expansion 31 - S02E08Unknown2


Leonard wears a red tee from an unknown chess tournament (might be Harlem), his blue turntable shirt by Heavy Rotation (discontinued), a dark tee from a wildlife sanctuary featuring a squirrel, and a dark colored tee with unknown design (it's that darn jacket, again).

Crown Buckle


Studded belt

For his entering scene, Howard sports a shiny blue rayon turtleneck, an obnoxious belt buckle with a golden crown inside a shield, a black and gold studded belt; pointy gold slip on shoes; and black leather pants. Back at the apartment, he wears an ensemble of blue, including his checkered blue slip on Vans. Later when Stephanie reveals that she's inviting Howard to meet her friend Lisa, he's wearing a city scape belt with a Batman logo cutout buckle. In the final scene he's back to his metallic Superman logo buckle.


  • Sheldon is a fan of Saturn 3, Raj likes Star Trek: Deep Space 9, and Leonard proposes watching Babylon 5 since numerically, it's between the two. (Not to mention, Sheldon loathes Babylon 5.) This results in arguing over which is better, and only resolves to somewhat agree that Star Trek 5 is worse than the others (see the Note). Sheldon hating "Babylon 5" was also mentioned in"The Staircase Implementation" when a flashback shows when Leonard is first introduced to the Roommate Agreement.
Rock Paper Scissors Spock
  • "Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock" is an expansion of the classic rock/paper/scissors game by Sam Kass, which turns the classic three-way game into five-way, while keeping the original associations in the three way game, as so:
    • scissors|SCISSORS cuts paper|PAPER
    • PAPER covers rock|ROCK
    • ROCK crushes lizard|LIZARD
    • LIZARD poisons SPOCK
    • SPOCK smashes SCISSORS
    • SCISSORS decapitates LIZARD
    • LIZARD eats PAPER
    • PAPER disproves SPOCK
    • SPOCK vaporizes ROCK
    • And it has always has, ROCK crushes SCISSORS
  • The DEFCON (Defense Readiness Condition) numbers do indeed count down, with a lower number indicating a higher-level of emergency than a larger number.
  • On the series My Babysitter's a Vampire, the protagonists Ethan, Benny and Rory draw lots by playing Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock.
  • In the season 1 episode, "The Grasshopper Experiment," Leonard lightly scolds Sheldon for having left with Raj's date, saying friends should not do such things to each other; however, he himself practically does the same thing in this episode, one difference being that he intended to date Stephanie, while Sheldon had no romantic intentions. Although, it is more likely that Stephanie made the move on Leonard.
  • The ringtone on Howard's cellphone (which is heard occasionally in future episodes as well) is "She Blinded Me With Science ringtone" by Thomas Dolby, which was used as the theme music for the unaired pilot episode. Also Sheldon refers to "hind quarters", which he also mentioned in the unaired pilot.
  • The events of this episode would come back to haunt Howard, when Sheldon accidentally revealed Howard's involvement in the destruction of the Mars Rover to an FBI agent, costing Howard his security clearance in "The Apology Insufficiency". The discovery of evidence of life is strangely omitted.
  • Sheldon has not seen the 2008 "The Apology Insufficiency" Clone Wars movie yet, which doesn't make sense because as a Star Wars fan, he would likely have camped out to see the movie, like when he and Leonard had watched Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002. Also, Sheldon claimed that he wanted to be disappointed in the correct order George Lucas intended; however, while many fans agree that the movie was disappointing, the show was much better.
  • Leonard and Stephanie hooking Howard up with her roommate is a possible reference to Leonard and Howard's "Girlfriend Pact", which would later be introduced in Season 3.
  • First episode of the "Dr. Stephanie" trilogy
    • S02E08: "The Lizard-Spock Expansion" - Howard tries to seduce Stephanie by showing her the Mars rover, however Stephanie ends up interested in Leonard
    • S02E09: "The White Asparagus Triangulation" - Sheldon worries that Leonard and Stephanie's relationship is not progressing well enough and goes to Penny, Raj, and Howard for advice on how to stop Stephanie inevitably ending the relationship with Leonard - Leonard and Stephanie are officially in a relationship by the end of this episode, in part, thanks to Sheldon
    • S02E10: "The Vartabedian Conundrum "- Stephanie has moved into the apartment without Leonard even noticing; Leonard wants to slow things down with Stephanie.


Sheldon: Oh, look! Saturn 3 is on.
Raj: I don't want to watch Saturn 3. Deep Space 9 is better.
Sheldon: How is Deep Space 9 better than Saturn 3?
Raj: Simple subtraction will tell you it's six better.
Leonard: Compromise. Watch Babylon 5.
Sheldon: In what sense is that a compromise?
Leonard: Well, 5 is partway between 3 and…never mind.
Raj: I'll tell you what. How about we go 'Rock-Paper-Scissors'?
Sheldon: Ooh, I don't think so. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in the game of 'Rock-Paper-Scissors', players familiar with each other will tie 75-80% of the time due to the limited number of outcomes. I suggest 'Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock'.
Raj: What?
Sheldon: It's very simple. Look -- Scissors cuts Paper, Paper covers Rock. Rock crushes Lizard, Lizard poisons Spock. Spock smashes Scissors, Scissors decapitates Lizard. Lizard eats Paper, Paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes rock, and as it always has, Rock crushes Scissors.

Stephanie: I’m sorry. I totally interrupted you. What, what, what were you saying?
Leonard: Just said Howard’s a terrific guy. He’s got a great sense of humor, he loves his mother, a lot, some people say too much.
Stephanie: I really like that you’re such a loyal friend.
Leonard: Yeah, I am loyal. You know, if you look at the big picture. Just, out of curiosity, did he ever have a shot with you?
Stephanie: Are you insane? The guy was wearing an eye patch.
Leonard: Then why did you?
Stephanie: He said that I could drive a car on Mars.
Leonard: Got it. So, can I see you again?
Stephanie: You haven't finished seeing me now.

Announcer: A NASA spokesman states that due to the loss of data, they will most likely be unable to determine the cause of the Mars Rover’s malfunction. This is not the first time an exploratory mission to Mars has ended in disappointment.
Howard: Thank God for Plan B.
Penny: Howard, didn’t you say you worked on the Mars Rover?
Howard: No, you’re mistaken.
Penny: Yeah, when we first met, you said that if I went out with you, I could drive a car on Mars.
Howard: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Mrs. Wolowitz: (to Howard) Who is it?!
Howard: Leonard!