"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.