Despite the hopes “The Solo Oscillation” raised for the prospect of Penny (Kaley Cuoco) maybe getting pulled into Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) string theory work, The Big Bang Theory downshifted hard in “The Separation Triangulation,” A.K.A. “Walton Goggins wants to be on the show, so what can we do with him?”

Sheldon’s recommitment to string theory has resulted in organized chaos all over his and Amy’s (Mayim Bialik) apartment, so he gets the idea that he can rent his old bedroom from Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny and work there instead. This leads to a new rental agreement that’s classic Sheldon, and despite a harmonious first three days, it looks like it’s back to business as usual now that he’s settled in. 

RELATED: THE BIG BANG THEORY Recap: (S11E13) The Solo Oscillation

sheldon leonard bbt rental agreement

Penny does a very little bit to demonstrate that she still has a job in pharmaceutical sales in this episode, but otherwise her moment in the sun seems to have passed. Also, why Leonard and Penny wound up in the apartment that was originally Sheldon’s continues to puzzle me. Why can’t they just trade back? Is that really all Leonard’s stuff in the weird back-of-livingroom nook and on the bookshelves? Will we ever get answers??? Do we even really care???? I guess not.

sheldon amy shamy bbt

Anyway, while this is all unfolding, Raj (Kunal Nayyar) gets physical with a pretty lady who picks him up after his observatory show. While dazzling her with an omelet the next day, Nell (Beth Behrs) reveals that she’s recently separated from her firefighter husband. Conflicted Raj turns to Howard (Simon Helberg) and bed-bound Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) for advice, but before he decides what to do, he is approached by the spurned husband, Oliver (Goggins). 

Raj winds up bonding with Oliver over pies, then creeps out Nell enough to drive the couple back together. (Which he and Oliver celebrate with– PIES!) 

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Instead of flip-flopping between characterizing Raj as a creeper and playing him off as maybe gay, I wish the writers would either find him a compelling female partner– or go for it and pair him off with a guy. Or at least stop defaulting to him being creepy or romantically incompetent. Let’s let Raj evolve the way even Sheldon, modeling empathy to Amy by moving his work next door, has.