This review contains spoilers.
11.14 The Separation Triangulation
Last week I praised The Big Bang Theory for upholding a level of entertainment value since its return earlier this month and, while 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.
This episode introduces us to Nell (played by 2 Broke Girls’ Beth Behrs), a woman Raj meets after one of his well-rehearsed presentations and wows with his connection with… “the stars”. After a successful date and subsequent sleepover, what seemed to be going uncharacteristically well turns sour after Nell reveals she’s still married. They’re separated, she says, but only for 13 days.
Side note – I’m now seriously wondering whether the entire Raj/Howard rift was just to provide an excuse for Kunal Nayyar to not have to straighten his hair every day. Even if it was, I’m not complaining.
The news that his new squeeze is actually still married (to Walter Goggins), and that he wants her back, throws Raj into crisis. Is he the good guy in his own movie with Nell, or the bad guy in theirs?
Said husband eventually tracks Raj down to the planetarium and confronts him, but the situation is quickly diffused when he turns out to be a decent guy. This confuses Raj even more, and his new friendship leads to him encouraging the estranged couple back together. Better luck next time, bud.
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, Sheldon and Amy live in a one-bedroom apartment and don’t technically work together. That means that Sheldon’s new lease on theoretical physics is taking up too much room.
His solution is to move back across the hall and ‘rent’ out his old room when he needs to work outside of office hours. Since this is actually Penny’s fault for helping Sheldon out of his rut last week, she really should house his late-night working.
Leonard and Penny resist at first, but are soon forced to admit that he’s a dream guest. This obviously rattles Leonard, as he deduces that all the times his friend drove him crazy over the previous decade were a choice, and Sheldon actually does know how to be bearable. Alas, as soon as he tries to kick him out Sheldon hands him a thick new agreement that not only ensures his stay, but also requires Leonard to fetch him sparkling lemon water. Ah, how little has changed.
This was another solid Raj-centric episode, which are becoming far more common. That’s a welcome change and really sets up some potential for the character to end up as happy and settled as his friends by the end of the (presumed) 12-season run. Then again, maybe he’ll be the Joey of the group (sans the terrible spin-off).
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The Solo Oscillation, here.