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"The Precious Fragmentation" is the seventeenth episode of the third season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, March 8, 2010.


After the guys come into possession of a genuine "Lord of the Rings" prop ring, Sheldon will do anything to possess it.

Extended Plot[]


Examining the ring.

The guys are returning from a garage sale with a heavy box of stuff they got for $60 without the dinner that Penny was expecting. They find an original script from "Ghostbusters II" with actual slime on it, an actual "Alf" doll, (which brought back such memories for Howard, since his mother got him one when he was eleven and he wished that Alf would bring his dad back from Melmac.), Mr. T's head on a Mr. Spock doll, an Indiana Jones connect the dots, an Aquaman action figure, and a "Lord of the Rings" ring. The sad part was then Penny didn't know that Adam West was TV's Batman.

Howard checks with "a guy" who says the ring is the real deal used in the movie series worth $15,000 on the black market. Leonard insists on returning it to director Peter Jackson. Penny is told to hold it till they decide what to do with it. Penny is willing, but is a bit peeved that the first piece of jewelry her boyfriend gives her is a prop from a movie and she doesn't even get to keep it.

That night Sheldon tries to steal it off of the sleeping Penny's neck whom he startles and slugs him. Penny tells Leonard that she just punched Sheldon when he tried to take the ring and Leonard replied, “That's my girl.”

Raj's lawyer/cousin tries to negotiate with them to sell it and get a jet ski. No dice. Then they try a holding contest, last one holding onto the ring gets it. Somehow they get up the stairs and to the hallway dropping the apartment keys in the meantime. Penny walks by with a very little bag from Victoria Secret's causing Leonard to drop out and disappear into Penny's apartment. Sheldon was right about the power of sex.


Penny has something from Victoria's Secret.


Penny and Leonard.

Later in the apartment, Howard has to explain to his mother while Raj is messing up Howard's lies. ("I am so glad we came to this Gentile strip club! Howard, here's more bacon to tuck into the shiksa's G-string!!") Then they decide to talk about Sheldon's mother and grandmother. His Meemaw had to have sex to have his mother and she had sex because she LIKED it. Sheldon then starts to talk about falling water to make them want to use the bathroom. It works on Sheldon. Now all of them have to go so off to the bathroom they go. Later while asleep, he dreams that he won it, goes to the bathroom to clean and sees himself in the mirror as Gollum from LOTR. In the morning, the ring can't be found. Leonard explains he found the three of them sleeping on the couch and the ring on the floor with no-one touching it, and sent it back to Peter Jackson as he had wanted to at the start. When challenged, he points out that who ever won it would be hated by the others thus ending their friendships. Case closed. Back in Leonard's room he pulls the ring out from under the bed saying. “Hello, my precious!”

Sheldon with bandaid

After Penny punched Sheldon.

Not everyone knows the truth, because at night Leonard and Sheldon get into another fight over with Penny in the bed between them. She leaves saying that she should go back to dating dumb guys from the gym.



  • "A decent episode by the mediocre standards the show has set itself. You know what silly arguments are coming and they play out just fine. But I still dream of where the show could go if it wanted to." - The TV Critic's Review
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: Gollum (who covets the ring in Lord of the Rings) is known for saying, "My precious", and how the friendships of Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj start to break up because of the ring.
  • This is the most watched episode of the third season with 16.31 million viewers with a rating of 5.9 (adults 18–49). It was also the episode with the most viewers of the whole series up until the fifth season's episode, "The Friendship Contraction".
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card [1]
  • This episode aired in Canada on March 8, 2010, with 2.232 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #9.
  • Episode transcript [2]

Costume Notes[]

AV Club by Heavy RotationFlash Lightning Red Lantern


  • When the guys squat to grab the dropped key outside the Apartment door, Simon Helberg (Howard) can be seen briefly smiling out of character.
  • Sheldon says "Resistance is futile!" in reference to The Borg in Star Trek when it is about to assimilate another species.
  • Howard jokes that his dad must've went to Melmac, ALF's home planet. Though Alf stated as early in his pilot episode of the show that Melmac was destroyed by a nuclear war, so Howard's joke would hint Howard either forgot about Melmac's fate or he doesn't have a good account of the show.
  • Sheldon wears the Red Lantern shirt from the Green Lantern comic book series after getting hit by Penny. The Red Lanterns embody the emotion of rage, no doubt reflecting Sheldon's mood. This fact causes a minor gaffe at the end of the episode: while appearing as Gollum in a dream, an Orange (powered by Greed) shirt would have been more accurate.
  • There is no guest appearance by Melissa Rauch as Bernadette as the Cheesecake Factory waitress with Penny at the end of the Cheesecake Factory scene with the four guys conversation about the ring. She may have different shifts. There is no background appearance by her in the same Cheesecake Factory scene and there is no mention of her in any other scene of this episode either.
  • Howard mentions his buddy who deals with the "Seedy Underbelly" of the collectibles world, is named Eddie Krispo.
  • Sheldon mentions his mother having a mild Dr. Pepper addiction in this episode, but she drank a Pepsi and said Howard would have a Coke or cola at her house in "The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation"-S3E1 (depending on the DVD or TV version, respectively).
  • Sheldon refers to the language of Mordor, "pure" Black Speech, written in Elvish script, Tengwar.
  • Elves are also referenced in "The Extract Obliteration" (S6E6), when Penny says, "Elves? Come on, Leonard. It’s too early for Lord of the Rings," as well as in "The Monopolar Expedition" (S2E23) and "The Middle-Earth Paradigm" (S1E6).
  • Sheldon dreams he has transformed into a creature like The Middle-Earth Paradigm Gollum, whom he has a polystone statue of located on his desk. (See "The Monopolar Expedition" (S2E23), "The Maternal Congruence" (S3E11) and "The Russian Rocket Reaction" (S5E5) Trivia sections for other Lord of the Rings collectibles in the series.)
  • Leonard ends up being the custodian of the ring. This statement is particularly interesting due to him dressing as The Middle-Earth Paradigm Frodo Baggins in the episode "The Middle-Earth Paradigm" (S1E6).
  • Also, in "The Financial Permeability" (S2E14), Leonard compares himself to Frodo, "When Frodo left The Shire to take the One Ring to Mordor, didn't Samwise_Gamgee|Samwise, Peregrin_Took|Pippin and Meriadoc_Brandybuck|Merry go with him?"
  • Second episode where a character complains to Leonard about him winning something unfairly. First episode was "The Bat Jar Conjecture" (S1E13).
  • Interestingly, the same number of rings that Howard said were made for the movies, 9, were the same number of rings in the The Middle-Earth Paradigm novels that Sauron gave to the kings of men, who would become the Nazgul. Likewise, the "three rings given to the cast" echo the "three rings for the elven kings under the sky" (which however were rings of a specific type different from the rings for men, The Middle-Earth Paradigm dwarves, or the One Ring), as is written in the full Poem of the Ring (the epigraph to The Lord of The Rings).
  • With the statements by Penny, "Is there a new girlfriend in there 'cause you might need one." and "I gotta go back to dating dumb guys from the gym!" She again foreshadowing|foreshadows the eventual break-up of Leonard and Penny in The Wheaton Recurrence. The another instance of foreshadowing was in "The Einstein Approximation".
  • Howard's father is mentioned for the first time in this episode and it's revealed that he left Howard and his mom when Howard was 11.
  • Upon being told that they didn't get Chinese food as planned, Penny asks if they spent the money on magic beans. In The Cooper Extraction, while Leonard is telling Penny a story of who she would have ended up with if Sheldon never existed, she ends up with Zack who spends their rent money on magic beans.



Venkatesh Koothrappali, Raj's attorney and cousin: "One Kawasaki Jet Ski, done and done."

Leonard: Why do I always have to carry the heavy stuff?
Sheldon: Well it's very simple. In our ragtag band of scientists, with nothing to lose, I am the smart one, Wolowitz is the funny one and Koothrappali is the lovable foreigner who struggles to understand our ways and fails. That leaves you, by default, as the muscle.
Leonard: One more floor and I'd be the pulled muscle.
Penny: It's about time. I'm starving!
Leonard: Well we didn't actually get Chinese food.
Penny: Why not?
Leonard: Don't worry. This is better!
Penny: Oh no. You didn't trade the food for magic beans did you?
Sheldon: Of course not. and technically magic beans would be food. Although eating them would be quite a waist because you could plant them and overnight have a giant bean stalk with enough roughage to feed a small city.
Penny: You know sometimes I don't listen. Sometimes I just watch your jaw go up and down.
Leonard: We were on our way and we thought we saw Adam West, so we followed him.
Penny: Who's Adam West?
Sheldon: Who's Adam West? Leonard, what do two of you talk about after the coitus?
Howard: My guess is, "Hay 4 minutes! New record!" - That's why I'm the funny one.
Leonard: Anyway, we followed this guy to this garage sale and they had the coolest stuff.
Howard: They were closing up. We got this whole box for 60 bucks. We didn't even get to go through it.
Leonard: There could be anything in here.
Penny: Is there a new girlfriend in there 'cause you night need one.

[Howard tells everyone what he's learned about the Ring from his mysterious buddy.]
Raj: Who's this mysterious buddy you suddenly have?
Howard: Just a guy. I...know a guy.
Raj: Is it Eddie Krispo?
Howard: I can't tell you who it is. Stop asking.
Raj: Who else could it be? It has to be Eddie Krispo.
Howard: I know lots of dangerous people!
Raj: Name one.
Howard: (embarrassed) Eddie Krispo.

Sheldon: (opening a ring box and taking a ring on a chain out) Fascinating. It appears to be a Lord of the Rings ring.
Raj: Ooh, it's even got the Elvish engraving on it.
Sheldon: It's not Elvish. It's the language of Mordor, written in Elvish script. (reciting the translation for the inscription) One ring to rule them all.
Raj: One ring to find them
Howard: One ring to bring them all
Leonard: And in the Darkness, bind them.
(short pause)
Raj: Holy crap, are we nerdy?

(Leonard has quit the game and the other three are still holding the ring.)
Howard (on the phone): I'm sorry, Ma, I have to. Stay late at the office.
Raj (to Mrs. Wolowitz): No, He doesn't, He's lying to you!
Howard: Will you be quiet?!
Howard (on the phone): I'll call you back.
Raj: I think it's lovely of you to call your Mommy and let her know you're going to be late for dinner. From what I know about these things, if a woman doesn't breastfeed on time, it's very uncomfortable for her, boobies.
Howard: Don't you talk about my Mother's boobies.
Raj: Well if you're offended, let go of the ring and go on home to your Mother's boobies.
Sheldon: Excellent, excellent, tire each other out, the ring will be mine. Howard, why don't you go after Raj's Mother?
Raj: Why don't we go after your Mother?
Sheldon: Go Ahead. I have no allusions about my Mother; she is a kind, loving, religiously fanatical right-wing Texan, with a slightly out-of-scale head and a mild Dr. Pepper addiction. Anything you'd like to add?
Howard: Uh, that's not gonna get you anywhere. Better pull out the big gun.
Raj: You're right. Let's talk about your Grandmother.
Sheldon: No! I call no Meemaws.
Raj: Think about this, the only way your Mother was born, was your Meemaw had sex.
Sheldon: I don't wanna hear this.
Howard: Then let go of the ring, and walk away!
Sheldon: Never!
Howard: Alright, I bet that your Meemaw didn't just have sex to have your Mother, I bet she had sex, because she liked it!
Sheldon: Stop it!
Raj: Ha, Meemaw did the nasty!
Sheldon: I SAID STOP IT!
(Howard and Raj laugh.)
Howard: We're getting to him!
Sheldon: Waterfalls!
Raj: What?!
Sheldon: Waterfalls, Crashing Waves, Babbling Brooks!
Howard: What are you doing?
Sheldon: Subliminal messaging, I'm going to make you want to pee, Dripping faucets, leaky gutter....peeing.
Raj: Listen, it's not working dude.
Sheldon: Ha Oh, It's working alright. I have to pee.
Raj: Then let go of the ring and go.
Howard: Well actually, I wouldn't mind going too.
Raj: Fine, um, on the count to three. One, Two...
Sheldon: Eh, wait just to clarify. When you get to three, do we stand up...or do we pee?
Howard: We stand up!
Sheldon: Excellent choice.
Raj: Three!
(The guys stand up to go to the toilet.)
Howard: (Sigh), Something tells me this was a bad day to wear suede shoes.
(Howard, Raj and Sheldon are asleep on the couch. Howard has let go of the ring and Raj has just let go of it too and has started to sleep on him. Sheldon wakes up and sees he still has the ring. Howard and Raj then wake up to hear Sheldon yelling out victoriously.)
Sheldon: I've done it, I've Won, The ring is mine! IT'S MINE!
(Sheldon runs into the bathroom, closes the door and turns on the tap in the sink to start washing the ring.)
Sheldon: We're going to clean it up, and make it pretty. My own, my love, (in Gollum voice) MY PRECIOUS!
(Sheldon looks in the mirror to see that he has become Gollum.)
Sheldon: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! (Sheldon wakes up from his dream.) AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

(Sheldon is sneaking into Leonard's room to take the "One Ring" prop.)
Sheldon: I knew It.
(He is almost successful until Leonard grabs his arm.)
Sheldon: Give us the Precious!
Leonard: NEVER!
Leonard and Sheldon: Gimme! Never! Gimme, It's MINE! Never! Gimme, It's MINE! Gimme, It's mine! It's MINE, Gimme! Gimme!....
(The two of them fight and annoy Penny.)
Penny: (Sigh), I gotta to go back to dating dumb guys from the gym!
Leonard and Sheldon: Gimmie! Gimmie! IT'S MINE!!....(The two roommates continue fighting.)