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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.

In the episode, Raj is faced with danger of deportation back to India, in turn, Sheldon hires him and they work long hours. Meanwhile, with no friend to hang out with, Howard starts hanging out with Leonard and Penny.


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.

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. 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 and highly offended by that comment.

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 says that a complaint has already been filed (indicating that Dr. Millstone filed a sexual harassment complaint with Human Resources)

Sheldon then enters and announces that he has a solution for Raj. Sheldon wants 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.

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 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 spectre 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").

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 finally gets sick of this, does a complex finger trick at Sheldon and storms off, leaving Sheldon, alone, tries to do the finger trick, but couldn't.

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.


  • 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".
  • First time where Penny shows actual sympathy for Howard.
  • 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 Griffin Equivalency" (from Season 2), also deals with a significant aspect of Raj's career, as Raj is featured in "People magazine" for his discovery of a planetary body beyond the Kuiper Belt.

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The Big Bang TheoryYoung SheldonVideo
Main Characters: Leonard HofstadterSheldon CooperPenny HofstadterHoward WolowitzRajesh KoothrappaliAmy Farrah FowlerBernadette Rostenkowski-WolowitzStuart BloomEmily SweeneyLeslie Winkle

Recurring Characters: Barry KripkeWil WheatonAltheaKurtEric GablehauserMary CooperDebbie WolowitzV.M. KoothrappaliMrs. KoothrappaliMikeStephanie BarnettBeverley HofstadterPresident SiebertZack JohnsonPriya KoothrappaliWyattMike RostenkowskiMrs. RostenkowskiAlex JensenJanine DavisLucyProfessor ProtonDavid GibbsClaireStephen HawkingAlfred HofstadterColonel Richard WilliamsDenise
Minor Characters: Christy VanderbelLalita GuptaToby LoobenfeldDennis KimDimitriMissy CooperBlainTomOctaviaMariaLourdesRamona NowitzkiKathy O'BrianDavid UnderhillAliciaMikaylaCaptain SweatpantsLonely LarryDr. CrawleyBethanySarahSkeeterProfessor LaughlinAbbyMarthaOfficer HackettSandyGlenVenkatesh KoothrappaliSebastianLouie/LouiseJoyce KimMrs. GundersonJoyMrs. FowlerAngela PageProfessor GlennMrs. LathamTodd ZarneckiSusanRandallColonel Richard Williams

Season 1: PilotThe Big Bran HypothesisThe Fuzzy Boots CorollaryThe Luminous Fish EffectThe Hamburger PostulateThe Middle-Earth ParadigmThe Dumpling ParadoxThe Grasshopper ExperimentThe Cooper-Hofstadter PolarizationThe Loobenfeld DecayThe Pancake Batter AnomalyThe Jerusalem DualityThe Bat Jar ConjectureThe Nerdvana AnnihilationThe Porkchop IndeterminacyThe Peanut ReactionThe Tangerine Factor

Season 2: The Bad Fish ParadigmThe Codpiece TopologyThe Barbarian SublimationThe Griffin EquivalencyThe Euclid AlternativeThe Cooper-Nowitzki TheoremThe Panty Piñata PolarizationThe Lizard-Spock ExpansionThe White Asparagus TriangulationThe Vartabedian ConundrumThe Bath Item Gift HypothesisThe Killer Robot InstabilityThe Friendship AlgorithmThe Financial PermeabilityThe Maternal CapacitanceThe Cushion SaturationThe Terminator DecouplingThe Work Song NanoclusterThe Dead Hooker JuxtapositionThe Hofstadter IsotopeThe Vegas RenormalizationThe Classified Materials TurbulenceThe Monopolar Expedition
Season 3: The Electric Can Opener FluctuationThe Jiminy ConjectureThe Gothowitz DeviationThe Pirate SolutionThe Creepy Candy Coating CorollaryThe Cornhusker VortexThe Guitarist AmplificationThe Adhesive Duck DeficiencyThe Vengeance FormulationThe Gorilla ExperimentThe Maternal CongruenceThe Psychic VortexThe Bozeman ReactionThe Einstein ApproximationThe Large Hadron CollisionThe Excelsior AcquisitionThe Precious FragmentationThe Pants AlternativeThe Wheaton RecurrenceThe Spaghetti CatalystThe Plimpton StimulationThe Staircase ImplementationThe Lunar Excitation
Season 4: The Robotic ManipulationThe Cruciferous Vegetable AmplificationThe Zazzy SubstitutionThe Hot Troll DeviationThe Desperation EmanationThe Irish Pub FormulationThe Apology InsufficiencyThe 21-Second ExcitationThe Boyfriend ComplexityThe Alien Parasite HypothesisThe Justice League RecombinationThe Bus Pants UtilizationThe Love Car DisplacementThe Thespian CatalystThe Benefactor FactorThe Cohabitation FormulationThe Toast DerivationThe Prestidigitation ApproximationThe Zarnecki IncursionThe Herb Garden GerminationThe Agreement DissectionThe Wildebeest ImplementationThe Engagement ReactionThe Roommate Transmogrification
Season 5: The Skank Reflex AnalysisThe Infestation HypothesisThe Pulled Groin ExtrapolationThe Wiggly Finger CatalystThe Russian Rocket ReactionThe Rhinitis RevelationThe Good Guy FluctuationThe Isolation PermutationThe Ornithophobia DiffusionThe Flaming Spittoon AcquisitionThe Speckerman RecurrenceThe Shiny Trinket ManeuverThe Recombination HypothesisThe Beta Test InitiationThe Friendship ContractionThe Vacation SolutionThe Rothman DisintegrationThe Werewolf TransformationThe Weekend VortexThe Transporter MalfunctionThe Hawking ExcitationThe Stag ConvergenceThe Launch AccelerationThe Countdown Reflection
Season 6: The Date Night VariableThe Decoupling FluctuationThe Higgs Boson ObservationThe Re-Entry MinimizationThe Holographic ExcitationThe Extract ObliterationThe Habitation ConfigurationThe 43 PeculiarityThe Parking Lot EscalationThe Fish Guts DisplacementThe Santa SimulationThe Egg Salad EquivalencyThe Bakersfield ExpeditionThe Cooper/Kripke InversionThe Spoiler Alert SegmentationThe Tangible Affection ProofThe Monster IsolationThe Contractual Obligation ImplementationThe Closet ReconfigurationThe Tenure TurbulenceThe Closure AlternativeThe Proton ResurgenceThe Love Spell PotentialThe Bon Voyage Reaction
Season 7: The Hofstadter InsufficiencyThe Deception VerificationThe Scavenger VortexThe Raiders MinimizationThe Workplace ProximityThe Romance ResonanceThe Proton DisplacementThe Itchy Brain SimulationThe Thanksgiving DecouplingThe Discovery DissipationThe Cooper ExtractionThe Hesitation RamificationThe Occupation RecalibrationThe Convention ConundrumThe Locomotive ManipulationThe Table PolarizationThe Friendship TurbulenceThe Mommy ObservationThe Indecision AmalgamationThe Relationship DiremptionThe Anything Can Happen RecurrenceThe Proton TransmogrificationThe Gorilla DissolutionThe Status Quo Combustion
Season 8: The Locomotion InterruptionThe Junior Professor SolutionThe First Pitch InsufficiencyThe Hook-up ReverberationThe Focus AttenuationThe Expedition ApproximationThe Misinterpretation AgitationThe Prom EquivalencyThe Septum DeviationThe Champagne ReflectionThe Clean Room InfiltrationThe Space Probe DisintegrationThe Anxiety OptimizationThe Troll ManifestationThe Comic Book Store RegenerationThe Intimacy AccelerationThe Colonization ApplicationThe Leftover ThermalizationThe Skywalker IncursionThe Fortification ImplementationThe Communication DeteriorationThe Graduation TransmissionThe Maternal CombustionThe Commitment Determination
Season 9: The Matrimonial MomentumThe Separation OscillationThe Bachelor Party CorrosionThe 2003 ApproximationThe Perspiration ImplementationThe Helium InsufficiencyThe Spock ResonanceThe Mystery Date ObservationThe Platonic PermutationThe Earworm ReverberationThe Opening Night ExcitationThe Sales Call SublimationThe Empathy OptimizationThe Meemaw MaterializationThe Valentino SubmergenceThe Positive Negative ReactionThe Celebration ExperimentationThe Application DeteriorationThe Solder Excursion DiversionThe Big Bear PrecipitationThe Viewing Party CombustionThe Fermentation BifurcationThe Line Substitution SolutionThe Convergence-Convergence
Season 10: The Conjugal ConjectureThe Military MiniaturizationThe Dependence TranscendenceThe Cohabitation ExperimentationThe Hot Tub ContaminationThe Fetal Kick CatalystThe Veracity ElasticityThe Brain Bowl IncubationThe Geology ElevationThe Property Division CollisionThe Birthday SynchronicityThe Holiday SummationThe Romance RecalibrationThe Emotion Detection AutomationThe Locomotion ReverberationThe Allowance EvaporationThe Comic-Con ConundrumThe Escape Hatch IdentificationThe Collaboration FluctuationThe Recollection DissipationThe Separation AgitationThe Cognition RegenerationThe Gyroscopic CollapseThe Long Distance Dissonance
Season 11: The Proposal ProposalThe Retraction ReactionThe Relaxation IntegrationThe Explosion ImplosionThe Collaboration ContaminationThe Proton RegenerationThe Geology MethodologyThe Tesla RecoilThe Bitcoin EntanglementThe Confidence ErosionThe Celebration ReverberationThe Matrimonial MetricThe Solo OscillationThe Separation TriangulationThe Novelization CorrelationThe Neonatal NomenclatureThe Athenaeum AllocationThe Gates ExcitationThe Tenant DisassociationThe Reclusive PotentialThe Comet PolarizationThe Monetary InsufficiencyThe Sibling RealignmentThe Bow Tie Asymmetry
Season 12: The Conjugal ConfigurationThe Wedding Gift WormholeThe Procreation CalculationThe Tam TurbulenceThe Planetarium CollisionThe Imitation PerturbationThe Grant Allocation DerivationThe Consummation DeviationThe Citation NegationThe VCR IlluminationThe Paintball ScatteringThe Propagation PropositionThe Confirmation PolarizationThe Meteorite ManifestationThe Donation OscillationThe D & D VortexThe Conference ValuationThe Laureate AccumulationThe Inspiration DeprivationThe Decision ReverberationThe Plagiarism SchismThe Maternal ConclusionThe Change ConstantThe Stockholm Syndrome

The Apartment BuildingApartment 4AApartment 4BThe ElevatorCalifornia Institute of TechnologyWolowitz HouseThe Comic Center of PasadenaPasadenaThe Cheesecake FactoryRaj's ApartmentAmy's ApartmentHoward and Bernadette's ApartmentThe StairsSheldon's Old OfficeRaj's Old OfficeSheldon's New OfficeHoward's LabThe University CafeteriaKripke's Plasma LabInternational Space StationThe Kinetics Lab
See Also
Unaired Pilot