The Comet Polarization Season 11, Episode 21 -  Aired April 19, 2018

The Comet Polarization

When author Neil Gaiman gives Stuart's comic book store a popularity boost, Sheldon is uncomfortable with the changes at the Comic Center. Meanwhile, Raj takes credit for an astronomical discovery made by Penny, putting their friendship at risk.

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Guest Stars: Kevin Sussman as Stuart, Neil Gaiman as Himself, Lauren Lapkus as Denise, Patrick Daniel as Grant

Writers: Steve Holland (Story), Bill Prady (Story), Eric Kaplan (Story), Maria Ferrari (Teleplay), Andy Gordon (Teleplay), Tara Hernandez (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to the disagreement between Penny and Raj over who discovered a comet.

Episode Quotes

Stuart: Listen to this. I-I was ringing up a customer, and I heard someone say, "Hey, there's a line," and I looked, and there was.

Sheldon: Can you see Mercury? Can you see it?
Raj: One second.
Amy: You know, the Greek version of Mercury, Hermes, was worshipped in Athens by the carving of giant wooden phalluses.
Sheldon: Please, Amy, get your mind out of the ancient Athenian gutter.

Stuart: Oh, look at that. Neil Gaiman tweeted about my store!
Howard: What did he say? Uh, "Next time you're in Pasadena, check out The Comic Center. Great vibe, old school, the owner really knows his stuff." Isn't that amazing?
Sheldon: Well, uh, it's no Sandman, but I guess we can't expect everything he writes to be a masterpiece.

Sheldon: What am I supposed to do now if I want to hang out and read a comic book?
Stuart: Go sit on the couch.
Sheldon: Next to a stranger? If I'm going to sit, read, and ignore a woman, it's going to be my fiancée.

Raj: This baby's got a ten-inch diameter with f/10 ACF optics.
Howard: And tonight Mercury is at its highest elongation.
Sheldon: It makes far-away things seem close, and Mercury is a planet.
Penny: I know Mercury is a planet. But the-the other thing was helpful.

News Stories

Title Date Posted
1121 'The Comet Polarization' Press Release April 6, 2018

CBS has issued the press release for the April 19 episode of The Big Bang Theory, "The Comet Polarization".  Full story


As the gang, minus Sheldon, gather on the roof of the apartment building where Raj has set up his telescope, Amy checks for pigeons before Sheldon will come out. Stuart is excited to see that Neil Gaiman has tweeted about his comic book store, especially since Stuart doesn’t even remember Gaiman being in his store. In a flashback to two days ago, we see Stuart and the guys debating the strongest metal in the superhero universe, oblivious to Neil Gaiman’s presence. When he enters their debate, Stuart is condescending towards him. Back in the present, the guys can’t believe Gaiman went to the store and they weren’t even there to see him.

The gang are still up on the roof as Raj looks in his telescope to try see Mercury. Stuart is excited about the new followers he’s getting on Twitter. When Raj offers Penny a chance to look through the telescope, she spots something blurry. Raj initially thinks it’s just an eyelash, but when Penny takes a picture he has to admit she did find something. That blurry item might be a comet.

In his busier than usual comic book store, Stuart is asked if this is really where Neil Gaiman shops. He says yes and suggests other celebrities shop there too. Sheldon is flustered when he arrives with Howard and sees that the store is packed. Sheldon tells Stuart he is unhappy with all the people around, saying he prefered the store when it was empty and sad. Things don’t get better for Sheldon when Stuart tells him he has sold out of the comic book he was looking for.

Back in the apartment, Leonard and Penny are eating dinner together when Leonard gets a message from Sheldon, who is mad at Neil Gaiman. Raj comes by to tell Penny that what she saw was indeed a previously unknown comet. After Penny is amazed that she discovered a comet, Raj takes issue with her claiming credit, arguing it was his telescope that he positioned there. When Raj questions whether a monkey taking the picture would deserve credit, an angry Penny tells Raj to get out while Leonard tries to avoid taking sides.

Howard and Bernadette are smartly dressed in their kitchen as they wait for Stuart to come and babysit. Fearing they will be late for their dinner reservation, Howard calls Stuart, who says he forgot and won’t be able to leave work as the store’s really busy. Although Howard’s disappointed, Bernadette says it’s okay as they can have a dinner date another night. When Howard remarks that they were supposed to have dinner and romance, Bernadette suggests she should go out to dinner and he can stay at home with the Internet and have romance.

Back in the apartment, Penny tells Leonard she has been searching the Internet and confirmed it was her discovery because she took the picture. After she says that Raj stole it from her, Leonard wonders if she really cares. Penny says she’s fed up of people looking at her and believing she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. When Penny doesn’t want to let it slide, Leonard points out Raj is their friend and this could be important to his career. Penny is angry that Leonard is so scared of making anyone mad.

At the comic book store, Sheldon turns to Howard to make a comment, but is startled when he realizes it’s another customer in a check shirt and with a Beatle haircut. When Sheldon finds the real Howard, he asks if Sheldon wants to go. Sheldon admits the people shocked him at first, but says he’s learned he can accept change. When he goes to the counter to buy the comic book he selected, Sheldon is surprised by the new, female assistant manager. Sheldon drops the comic book on the counter and runs out of the store.

Back home, Sheldon complains to Amy about the changes at the store. When Sheldon tries to compares his struggle to that of the people in Wakanda, the country in Black Panther, Amy worries this will be very offensive. Sheldon says the nation of Wakanda was a hidden gem and the people wanted to keep it that way. Amy is relieved Sheldon wasn’t offensive, until he mentions that the new assistant manager is a woman. Amy encourages Sheldon not to think of her as a stranger, but a friend he hasn’t berated, lectured or condescended to yet.

When Leonard visits Raj in his apartment to talk about the situation with Penny, he asks Raj to add Penny’s name to the registration as she is very mad. Raj explains that he already told everyone at work he made the discovery and that needs this. When Raj feigns sadness for bringing this tension himself by being selfish, Leonard says he’ll talk to Penny and try make her understand Raj’s position.

At the comic book store with Howard, Sheldon is angry as he watches the new assistant manager, Denise, go about her business. Having talked to her yesterday, Howard argues she knows her stuff. Sheldon takes the “challenge” and asks Denise to recommend a comic book for him without giving her any information on his likes and dislikes. She impresses him anyway. When Neil Gaiman intervenes with a recommendation for his own comic book, 1602, Sheldon ignores him and takes Denise’s suggestion.

When Leonard arrives back at the apartment, Penny wonders where he’s been. Leonard says he went to yell at Raj, but when she asks how it went she can tell he caved. Leonard tells Penny she doesn’t need him to fight her battles for her as she’s a strong independent woman. Penny goes to talk to Raj herself.

When Bernadette comes down for dinner, Howard is dressed up for an at-home dinner date. Stuart comes in to say he’s no longer working tonight as Denise is covering for him. After Bernadette tells him they were just about to sit down to dinner, Stuart misses her point and decides to stay for dinner. Bernadette is sad as it means date night is ruined, but Howard says it’s perfect as Stuart can babysit the kids and they can go out for dinner. After all, he was only cooking a can of soup.

Back home, Sheldon is excitedly telling Amy all about Denise over dinner. Amy tries to ask about his discomfort with the store being so crowded, but Sheldon admits without it being busy Stuart would never have hired Denise. Later, Amy goes to the comic book store to talk to Denise, asking her to teach her all about comic books so she can talk to Sheldon about them.

When Penny arrives at Raj’s apartment, he opens the door and instantly apologizes, admitting he heard her coming up the stairs and her footsteps sounded angry. After Penny says she is angry, Raj accepts she has every right to be. He apologizes and says he will make sure her name is on the comet. After Penny thanks him, he tries to argue his career might suffer if he shares the credit. Penny is not moved by his attempt to gain sympathy.

Amy is reading a comic book as Sheldon arrives home. As she tries to talk to him about how much she likes the comic book, Sheldon says he’s talked enough about them lately and would prefer to discuss something else.