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"The Separation Triangulation" is the fourteenth episode of the eleventh season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Thursday, January 18, 2018.


Koothrappali finds himself in the middle of domestic drama when he learns the woman he's dating, Nell, has a very upset husband, Oliver. Also, when Sheldon rents his old room back for a quiet place to work, he drives Leonard crazy by being a model tenant.[1]

Extended Plot[]

Raj is finishing up his planetarium show to an audience that includes a bored Leonard and Howard. A beautiful blonde woman comes up to take a selfie with Raj. He kids around with her telling her that he always does that with beautiful women. He then asks the guys if the handsome gentlemen enjoyed the show. Leonard tells him to turn off the charm, but Raj says that he can't.

At the cafeteria, Howard shows a cute picture of Halley in the bathtub. Leonard doesn't want it since on his phone since it would be a crime. Sheldon has pictures of the new equations he has been working on. Raj has a picture of him and Nell, the girl he met at his show, at 2:30 in the morning. He has another date with her tonight. Sheldon announces that he has a date ... with string theory.


Sheldon is thinking of Amy's feelings.

Amy arrives home and finds Sheldon taking more pictures with his string theory baby. She is happy to see him so excited. Also see can't find a place to sit since Sheldon has his papers scattered all about. She is about to head to the bedroom until Sheldon tells her that he'll quit for the evening to be respectful of her feelings. She asks him if he is trying empathy, which makes him disappointed because he didn't first think of it.

Morning at Nell's apartment, Raj is making omelets. Raj wanted to finish their time together strong, and Nell told him that he didn't have to worry about last night. She finds breakfast delicious and says that husband never cooked for her. She has been separated from her husband about two weeks. Raj is worried especially since her husband is a fireman who knows does use an axe. Nell says not to worry about it because he moved out and she moved on.

Leonard is testing Penny on the side effects of the drugs she is selling. Sheldon comes in, says “Hello” and disappears down the hallway. The couple hopes that Sheldon remembers that he doesn't live there anymore. Sheldon returns and wants to use his old room in the evenings to do his work without disturbing Amy. Leonard and Penny tell him no to every comment Sheldon makes until they can't deny that they're not going to put a gym in there.

Raj is talking to Howard and a bedridden Bernadette as to whether he should date someone who has only been separated for 13 days. He wants to know if he's the good guy in his movie or the bad guy in their movie. Bernadette thinks that he's the weird guy in their movie. Raj wonders how long they would wait to date if they broke up. Howard doesn't know, but Bernie is sure that it's eight days, two crying and six at the gym. Howard added that she still looked great so she added one day of crying.


Making omelets for Nell.

Leonard is on the phone with Sheldon still saying no about him renting the room. Sheldon insists that they wouldn't even know he was there. Then he proves it because he was in his old room all night. Penny then asks him about his office at work, but Sheldon doesn't want to use because it is not safe at night because of all the raccoons and grad students walking around like they own the place. Sheldon presents a small agreement for him to use the room and not eat, sleep or even use the toilet there. And they will get paid.

At the planetarium, Raj is trying out various pauses to finish his talk with Howard. (...a walk with me...pause...through the stars.) A man enters looking for Rajesh and it turns out to be Nell's husband Oliver. Raj says that he is sorry which doesn't make Oliver feel any better. He wants Raj to stop seeing her. Raj says “Fine” and gets ready to leave tell Oliver breaks down. Raj tries to explain that things will get better. He sits down and they start to talk.

Back in apartment 4A, the Hofstadters haven't heard a peep from Sheldon. The fact that he isn't annoying worries Leonard because he lived with Sheldon for ten years. Penny wonders why not driving Leonard crazy is driving him crazy. He compares it to Godzilla having Arby's instead of Tokyo. Penny doesn't think they have Arby's in Japan. That wasn't his point. He goes to talk to Sheldon who hopes he wasn't being too loud. Then Sheldon wants to know if he Leonard wants him to be a less considerate tenant. Yes. No. What? Leonard goes back to Penny who did find an Arby's in Okinawa.



Back in Bernadette's bedroom, Raj is telling them Oliver's life story and how he met Nell at the DMV. It was love at first sight. Raj had taken him to the House of Pies for dessert. Bernadette suggests that he stop seeing her. Howard is annoyed that Raj went to House of Pies and shared halfsies with another man other than himself.

Leonard goes over to talk to Amy who was expecting Sheldon. Leonard can't deal with Sheldon as a calm rational person. Amy says that he can send him back because she misses him. Unfortunately she can't ask him to return because he is being so respectful of her.

Raj and Nell are making out when he starts to see an image of Oliver talking to him. He can't keep kissing her with Oliver in his head. Raj mentions that he met her husband. First she thinks that he tried to track him down, but Oliver did the tracking down. She found Oliver possessive and jealous, but Raj found him very comfortable. Raj tells Nell that she wasn't being fair to him and that he said he would go to counseling with her. What? Nell calls him crazier than Oliver. Raj then adds, if it doesn't work out, he would still be up to sleeping with her. Either way she gets herself a fellow. Nell looks disgusted and walks away.


There is an Arby's on Okinawa.

Leonard presents Sheldon with his rental agreement and using the three day trial period, he wants Sheldon out. Unfortunately the time period has elapsed and Sheldon now has the option to continue and presents Leonard with an even longer new rental agreement. Even though the agreement is blank, he challenges Leonard to get a lawyer. And Leonard has to supply him with lemon flavored sparkling water. "Go get some. Chop, chop." Leonard tells Penny that Sheldon is not leaving and that he has to go get him adrink. Penny wants to know why Leonard is smiling. He feels much better at being annoyed by Sheldon than not.

Finally Oliver shows up at Raj's show and calls him, “Buddy.” He visited Nell and she is giving him another chance. Raj thinks that that is great and wants to go to House of Pies to celebrate. Oliver wonders if he should call Nell and Raj doesn't want to.



  • Title Reference: The title refers to the romantic triangle Raj is in with a separated woman and her needy husband.
  • Taping date: January 9, 2018
  • This episode was watched by 14.92 million people with a rating of 2.9 (adults 18–49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 19.58 million.
  • This episode aired in Canada on January 18, 2018.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.[1]


  • Caroline Preece at Den of Geek! - The Separation Triangulation doesn't quite match up to its predecessors, it is at least making an effort to maintain character continuity from earlier in the season...Raj is still working at the planetarium for example, which might not have lasted more than a single episode in previous seasons. It's finally giving the writers something to do with their most under-served character - as if the new setting has suddenly reignited their imaginations - and, even though the revolving door of unsuitable love interests is still open for business, for once Raj seems comfortable enough in his own skin that the inevitable breakups aren't always his fault...Meanwhile, in a rare Sheldon story relegated to B-status, his renewed romance with string theory is messing with his personal life. Unlike in the past when he and Leonard would just live with their work as a part of the apartment's fabric...[2]
  • IMDb user reviews [3]


  • Beth Behrs is known from her role as Caroline Channing, from the comedy sitcom "Two Broke Girls".
  • Raj is acting creepy like Howard when he tries to get Nell back together with her husband and then becomes her husband's buddy.
  • Raj always carries an omelet pan in the trunk of his car.
  • Goof: Two Arby's actually exist in Okinawa, Japan.
    • Penny actually corrected herself and found an Arby's when she checked it through her phone
  • Raj is also in a triangle with his bromance with Howard and his wife Bernadette.
  • Amy is reading a Dover Publications book, Catalysis in Chemistry and Enzymology.
  • Raj has a steady girlfriend for one episode. Just like Raj's ex's, when they date him and realize how terrible he is and found better boyfriends like Niel and Oliver. Raj has the Good Luck Chuck curse, where women date him or hook up with him and when he pushes boundaries and their exes with better boyfriends.
  • Leonard was thrilled at first that Sheldon has not made a peep or being an arrogant jerk all day. Leonard was miserable, because of the balance of the force where on TV the protagonist needs an antagonist to duke it out with or it would not be a good series. Somebody to fight, argue and want to strangle sometimes. At the end, everything went back to normal Sheldon nagging Leonard and Penny to death and Leonard wants to find ways to get away from him.
  • Goof: Leonard is unable to hear Sheldon talking on his phone from his old bedroom from the living room, yet in The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification when Sheldon was isolating himself in his room, Leonard could hear Sheldon's voice when they were in the exact same locations as in this episode.
    • In The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification, Sheldon might not have been aware that his regular-volume voice would be audible in the living room. By this time, he would have made arrangements (e.g. hide in the closet, cover his head over with a pillow) so that Leonard would not hear him from his old room.


Amy: Penny and I have the same "You're crazy" look? That's kind of sweet.

Leonard: I know how to deal with Sheldon being Sheldon, but Sheldon being a-a rational, thoughtful person? I'm clueless.

Howard: Look at this cute picture of Halley in the bath.
Leonard: Aw, that's great.
Howard: Want me to send it to you?
Leonard: No, on your phone it's cute, on my phone it's a crime.

Sheldon: I also have a pretty cute picture to share.
Howard: What is that?
Sheldon: An equation. Isn't it perfect? Sometimes I just stare at it, and I think "I can't believe that came out of me."

Sheldon: See, I'm trying this new technique where I imagine how I would feel in someone else's position.
Amy: Y-You mean empathy?
Sheldon: Oh, I thought I came up with it.

Sheldon: No, the campus isn't safe at night. There's raccoons and undergrads just walking around like they own the place.

Raj: Speaking of which, how long have you been separated?
Nell: About two weeks.
Raj: That is not a lot of weeks. In fact, that's the bare minimum to get to the plural "weeks".

Amy: Oh, Leonard.
Leonard: Sorry, I just, I had to get out of there.
Amy: What did he do now?
Leonard: Nothing. He's being a dream. Don't give me that look! That's how Penny looked at me. I'm not crazy.