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"The Pirate Solution" is the fourth episode of the third season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, October 12, 2009.


When Raj is faced with having to return to India, Sheldon hires him and they work long hours. Meanwhile, with no buddy, Howard starts hanging out with Leonard and Penny.

Extended Plot[]

The Pirate Solution 16

How did he know?

The guys are celebrating Columbus Day by watching movies written by Chris Columbus, including “Gremlins”. Penny is going to have Thanksgiving in Pasadena, since her family will be busy with her brother's trial at that time. Leonard might like him, as he is sort of a chemist (Meth manufacturer). Howard's mother fixes a tur-briska-fil. ("Turkey stuffed with a brisket, stuffed with gefilte fish. It's not as good as it sounds.") Raj then gets emotional and walks away. After Penny leaves, Raj returns and describes how his grant money has run out and without a job, he might be deported back to India. He has spent the last six months fooling around on the Internet. Sheldon thinks he shouldn't go back to India: he can be a stateless pirate instead. Another good thing, no women in that profession.

The Pirate Solution 18

Sheldon and Raj embarking upon their research together.

At the university, Raj laments that he won't be able to get hamburgers or Beefaroni back at home. Howard brings some good news. Dr. Laughlin wants someone to join his stellar research team. Raj has a good interview with him. Unfortunately, he must work with Dr. Catherine Millstone, a very attractive woman. So he can speak to her, Raj immediately downs two glasses of sherry and then makes a sexually inappropriate comment, leaving Laughlin and Millstone speechless.

Later, Howard is shocked that Raj was unable to get the job, and wants to know why. Raj, not wanting to admit the mistake he had made, claims that since he was Indian and Laughlin was British, their cultures hadn't gotten along since Ghandi. Leonard asks if Raj meant that Laughlin was discriminating Raj, because they could file a complaint. Raj lies and says that that the complaint has already been filed.

Sheldon then enters and announces that he has a solution for Raj. Sheldon wants to explore string theory from gamma ray dark matter annihilations and Raj can work for him. Raj prefers that he works with him; however, Sheldon prefers “for him”.

At Sheldon's office the next day, Raj decides that he can work with/for, who makes him undergo an interview which turns out to be his “Bazinga” to Raj. Raj has several reasonable conditions which Sheldon rejects and Raj accepts since he has no other alternative.

The Pirate Solution 25

Howard watching "Sex in the City".

Back at the apartment, Penny and Leonard are enjoying some time to themselves. Penny wants to get kinky by making out in Sheldon's spot. There's a knock and Penny figures that Sheldon found out; however, it is Howard who is lonely since Raj is now working late with Sheldon. Despite obvious hints that they want to be alone, Howard sits down to watch "Sex and the City" (it's revealed that Penny loves this movie/series and got Leonard to watch it).

Sheldon and Raj are focusing on their research at work with some disagreements. Sheldon begins by announcing that they were going to design an experiment to look for the annihilation spectra resulting from dark matter collisions in space. Raj attempts to lighten the mood with a joke about flashlights and dark matter, but Sheldon turns around and reprimands him. He explains about the seriousness of their research and the need to completely focus on their research. Raj resignedly agrees. They spend an indeterminate time staring at a mathematical formula on the whiteboard, thinking very hard (accompanied by background music of the opening guitar riff of "Eye of the Tiger").

The Pirate Solution 26

Raj and Sheldon made up.

Leonard and Penny emerge from the bedroom to find Howard fixing them breakfast. He was there early enough to witness their final climax together, which embarrasses Penny. He and Raj usually go after hippie chicks at the farmer's market on Sundays. This time, Leonard and Penny are less subtle and Howard leaves. But not before telling them how to finish their breakfast as he decides to spend time with his mom. Penny feels guilty, so Leonard invites him back easily, since Howard was waiting right outside the door.

At the university, Sheldon and Raj were arguing their work and Sheldon won't let him erase his figures. Raj has had enough and leaves. Sheldon goes to Raj's apartment to tell him that he was correct, though Sheldon won't admit that he was wrong. They reconcile and Raj will continue to work “for” him and his first job is to drive Sheldon home.



  • "An episode where very little seems to happen. If the show is going to pair Sheldon and Raj at work from now on then this could have amusing consequences but we shall have to wait and see." - The TV Critic's Review
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: Episode name comes from Sheldon's comment on Raj's emigration back to India to "wander the high seas as a stateless pirate".
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card [1]
  • This episode was watched by 13.07 million people with a rating of 5.0 (adults 18–49).
  • This episode aired in Canada on October 12, 2009.
  • Episode transcript [2]

Costume Notes[]

The Pirate Solution 27


The Pirate Solution 20

Prehistoric Monsters

The Pirate Solution 22


The Pirate Solution 23


Sheldon wears his Prehistoric Monsters shirt by Super 7, his OptiBlocks shirt, originally by Heavy Rotation, and his T-Rex shirt.
  • The OptiBlocks shirt is unique in that both Leonard and Sheldon have worn it.
The Pirate Solution 24

Wind Farm

The Pirate Solution 21

Moon Phases

Leonard wears a renewable energy shirt featuring an image of a wind farm, and a tee featuring moon phases.

Penny wears Wet Seal Hello Kitty flannel shorts.


  • First time Sheldon knocks three times and says Raj's name.
  • Howard makes scrambled eggs and salami for Leonard and Penny, saying it is the perfect meal for sex|après l'amour (sex). In two episodes prior, he expresses a similar sentiment regarding scrambled eggs and salami at the comic book store.
  • When Raj is asked what he is doing during the last six months, he replies, "You know, checking e-mail, updating my Facebook status, messing up Wikipedia entries." This fact is consistent with what he said in the last episode "The Gothowitz Deviation", "No, I'm behind on my Wiki-reading."
  • It is unlikely Rajesh didn't know astro- means "star," from Greek, as it is a standard note in introductory astronomy texts, although his mistake could've come from a lack of sleep.
  • Fourth episode of Season 3 and details Raj's job. Raj switches focus from trans-Neptunian objects to dark matter, after facing the possibility of deportation and an opportunity in stellar evolution research is squandered. Coincidentally, the fourth episode of Season 2, "The Griffin Equivalency", also deals with a significant aspect of Rajesh's career, as Raj is featured in "People magazine" for his discovery of a planetary body beyond the Kuiper Belt.
  • This is the first episode where Penny displays actual sympathy for Howard.
  • Penny's Hello Kitty shorts make a comeback after "The Nerdvana Annihilation".
  • Raj mentions Netflix which now allows stream movies on computers.
  • Tur-briska-fil is the second dish that Howard ever mentioned that came from his mother, with brisket being the first.


Leonard: What do you mean he's getting deported?
Sheldon: I believe it means that the U.S. government is going to expel him from the country. He can then either return to his native India, emigrate to another country that's willing to accept him, or wander the high seas as a stateless pirate. (long pause ensues) Personally, I'd choose pirate.

Raj: I don't want to go back to India. It's hot and loud, and there are so many people, (pauses) you have no idea, they are everywhere.

(Sheldon is doing some research)
Raj: Sheldon, are you busy?
Sheldon: "Of course," I'm busy.
Raj: Shall I wait?
Sheldon: Yes, please.
(Raj waits)
Sheldon: (8 seconds later) How may I help you?
Raj: I've reconsidered your offer to let me work with you.
Sheldon: For me.
Raj: Yes, for you.

Penny: Hey, want to get a little crazy?
Leonard: What are you thinking?
Penny: Let's slide over to Sheldon's spot and make out.
Leonard: (turned on) You are a dirty girl!

Howard: Well, usually, on Sundays, I go with Raj to scam on hippie chicks at the farmers market, but he’s still working with Sheldon, so I thought I’d come over here and make you guys scrambled eggs and salami. It’s the perfect meal for apres l’amour.
Penny: Oh, kill me.
Howard: By the way, I couldn’t help overhearing your big finish. Bravo, Leonard.
Penny: See, if you had killed me when I said kill me, I wouldn’t have had to hear that.

Sheldon: Dr. Koothrappali, as your superior, I forbid you from writing on my board!
Raj: You are not my superior.
Sheldon: I am in every way.
Raj: Oh, yeah? Can you do this? (performs complex finger trick)

Sheldon: (Knock, knock, knock) Raj. (Knock, knock, knock) Raj. (Knock, knock, knock) Raj.
Raj: (opens door) I’m busy.
Sheldon: Doing what?
Raj: (Performs finger trick again)
Sheldon: All right, you’ve made your point.