The Tesla Recoil Season 11, Episode 8 -  Aired November 16, 2017

The Tesla Recoil

Leonard and Howard are angry with Sheldon when they learn he has been working with the military behind their backs. Meanwhile, Raj's relationship with Ruchi is called into question when a bed-ridden Bernadette fears she is trying to steal her job.

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Guest Stars: John Ross Bowie as Barry Kripke, Dean Norris as Colonel Williams, Swati Kapila as Ruchi

Writers: Chuck Lorre (Story), Eric Kaplan (Story), Tara Hernandez (Story), Steve Holland (Teleplay), Maria Ferrari (Teleplay), Jeremy Howe (Teleplay)

Director: Anthony Rich

Viewers: 13.44 million Households Rating: 8.9/15 Adults 18-49 Rating: 2.6/11

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to the Tesla coil which the guys were going to see, but Sheldon was busy working with the military in what his friends considered a betrayal of them. Despite Sheldon's belief that he's like Nikola Tesla, Leonard and Howard think he's more an Edison - a bully, a credit hog and a self-promoter.

Episode Quotes

Howard: Why would the military want Sheldon?
Leonard: I don't know. Target practice?

Barry Kripke: Whoa, whoa, whoa. You didn't tell me we were doing this just to stick it to Sheldon.
Leonard: Well-
Barry Kripke: I messing with you. This sundae just got a cherry on top!

Leonard: Hey, is Sheldon working on our project again?
Colonel Williams: Did he say that?
Leonard: No, he wouldn't tell us.
Colonel Williams: Huh. So he can keep his mouth shut. How do I get him to do that?

Sheldon: Can you believe they said I was just like Edison? Yeah, and in front of a lady, no less.

Sheldon: And worse than that, Edison filmed the first on-screen kiss, so he's basically a pornographer. Although every time I put that in Wikipedia, someone takes it out.

News Stories

Title Date Posted
1108 'The Tesla Recoil' Press Release October 28, 2017

CBS has released the synopsis for the November 16 episode of The Big Bang Theory, "The Tesla Recoil". The Big Bang Theory moves back to its regular Thursday night time period this Thursday, November 2.  Full story


As Howard, Raj, Leonard and Penny get ready to watch a documentary in the apartment, Sheldon and Amy have not arrived. After Sheldon and Amy finally arrive, Sheldon and Leonard describe the documentary to Penny: it’s about a cool renegade scientist, Nikola Tesla, and his arch-nemesis Thomas Edison, who the guys clearly dislike.

In their kitchen the following morning, Penny tells Leonard that the documentary was better than she thought it was going to be. After Sheldon arrives to ask if Leonard can drive him to work, Leonard mentions the guys were thinking of going to see the Tesla coil after work. Sheldon says he can’t and is evasive about the reason why. When Leonard presses Sheldon he reveals it is classified, so Leonard figures out that Sheldon is working with the military again.

As Bernadette reads a book during her bedrest, Howard arrives with surprise visitors, Raj and Ruchi. Ruchi explains she wanted to drop off something from her and the girls at work, though Bernadette knows none of the girls at work like her enough to buy a gift. Ruchi encourages Bernadette to take all the time away from work that she needs. After Howard escorts the guests out, Bernadette claims that Ruchi is after her job.

Later, as Howard works with Leonard in his lab, Howard can’t believe that Sheldon is working with the military without them. Howards says Sheldon better not be working on their project as it was his idea. After Leonard decides to call Colonel Williams to figure out what’s going on, the Colonel says Sheldon came to them with an idea, as the team leader for their former project, and the military thought it was interesting. Leonard and Howard dispute the idea Sheldon was their leader, but admit they didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes by assuming the position themselves.

After receiving a text message from her, Raj goes to talk to Bernadette in her bedroom. Bernadette asks Raj to find out if Ruchi is trying to steal her projects at work while she’s on bed rest. Elsewhere, as they sit down in their apartment, Amy asks Sheldon what movie he wants to watch. Sheldon suggests she pick, but then he dismisses all of her ideas. Leonard and Howard arrive to confront Sheldon, telling him they spoke to Colonel Williams who told them everything. After Leonard and Howard accuse Sheldon of being an “Edison”, Amy tries to make Sheldon see they were right.

As Sheldon paces in the apartment, he thinks he’s figured out whose fault this is … his mother’s, for forcing him to make friends. After Sheldon asks Amy if she thinks his friends are right that he’s like Edison, she says he’s not upset because of which scientist he’s like but because he hurt his friends feelings. Sheldon concedes that he cares too much about other people’s feelings; it’s always been his fatal flaw.

As Raj and Ruchi lay in bed after having sex, Raj asks her about her day at work. Ruchi proudly says she’s getting to handle all the projects with Bernadette “gone”. Later, Raj talks to Penny in her apartment, saying Ruchi is indeed after Bernadette’s job. Penny tells Raj he has to let Bernadette know. Back in the lab, Howard is angry at Sheldon for double-crossing them on a project where he and Leonard did most of the work. When they have an idea to make the guidance system even better, they decide to go behind Sheldon’s back and take their idea to the military if they can find someone to handle the math.

When Raj goes to see Bernadette and takes food for her, Raj says he did what she asked and found out what’s going on at work. After Raj tells her it sounds like Ruchi has already stolen her projects, Bernadette says she’ll kill her, but Raj points out this is exactly what Bernadette would have done in the same situation.

In Leonard’s lab, he and Howard watch as Barry Kripke works out math on a whiteboard and says he can make the calculations work for their idea. When Sheldon arrives to talk to Leonard, he wonders what Kripke’s doing there. After Leonard explains that they hired Kripke to outdo Sheldon and pitch a project to the military without him, Barry is delighted to learn they’re doing it to stick it to Sheldon. After Sheldon wishes them good luck, pointing out that the military is already interested in his project and his math is complete, Sheldon rubs out some of Kripke’s equations and runs off.

As they lay in bed together, Ruchi asks Raj about an antidepressant drug her company is developing. After Ruchi says she’s been trying to text Bernadette to ask a question but has not heard back, Raj admits Bernadette feels threatened by her. When Ruchi asks if Bernadette said something to him, Raj says “sort of” but insists he stood up for her. Ruchi says she doesn’t need him to stand up for her as he’s not her boyfriend. Raj claims the truth is they’re in a relationship and she should figure out someway to deal with it. Later, Raj is back visiting Bernadette after Ruchi dumped him. Bernadette says she’s sorry for how things worked out with Ruchi, although Raj senses it may be because she no longer has a spy.

In the university cafeteria, Leonard and Howard are reading through Kripke’s math. Leonard believes the project may be ready to take to the military. When Sheldon comes to congratulate them on the military killing off his project and choosing theirs, Leonard and Howard say that’s impossible as they haven’t even pitched theirs yet. After Leonard and Howard realize Kripke went to the military without them, they go to confront him. Barry says he can’t tell them if he screwed them over as it’s classified.

In the apartment, Sheldon blames Leonard & Howard for telling Barry Kripke their idea. After they argue it’s Sheldon’s fault for not going to them in the first place, Penny suggests the guys are all more like Tesla than Edison. The guys think she has a point, even though Amy points out that Tesla died penniless, forgotten and insane.