The Big Bang Theory

The Lizard-Spock Expansion

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The Lizard-Spock Expansion
In the Mars Rover control room.
The Big Bang Theory episode
Season 2, Episode 8
November 17, 2008
Guest star(s)
Sara Rue as
Dr. Stephanie Barnett,
Carol Ann Susi as
Mrs. Wolowitz (Voice Only),
Jennifer Hale
News Announcer
(Voice Only)
& Robert Clotworthy as Announcer (Voice Only)
Episode guide

"The Panty Piñata Polarization"

"The White Asparagus Triangulation"
Season guide

Season 1

Season 3

"The Lizard-Spock Expansion" is the eighth episode of the second season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, November 17, 2008.


Howard accidentally gets the Mars rover stuck in a ditch while trying to impress Stephanie Barnett. Stephanie finds herself more interested in Leonard than Howard and dates Leonard instead.

Extended PlotEdit

Leonard and Stephanie

Leonard with Stephanie at her apartment.


Always the same tie.

Sheldon, Raj and Leonard are arguing about what to watch on . Sheldon suggests Saturn 3. Raj wants Deep Space Nine. Leonard, trying to be funny, suggests Babylon 5 as a compromise. Raj suggests rock, paper, scissors. Sheldon says there is too much chance of a tie, and suggests rock / paper / scissors / lizard / spock. As they tie anyway, Howard enters wearing an eye patch; it's his latest technique for picking up chicks. Howard explains that this costume along with his negs (Negative Compliments meant to throw a woman off their game) are all a part of his plan to pick up women. He then tries it on Penny, but miserably fails.
Move your scooter

Just move your scooter.

Back to television, Sheldon doesn't want to watch The Clone Wars TV-series until he's seen The Clone Wars movie, so that George Lucas can disappoint him in the order which he intended. Leonard still wants to watch it, and when Sheldon offers to play rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock for it, Leonard caves in. They get an urgent call from Howard who is at the Mars rover lab and says he's in trouble. As they head to the university to help Howard, Raj and Sheldon debate whether Star Trek The Motion Picture or Star Trek 5 is the worst of the series, and whether Star Trek 4 The Voyage Home or Star Trek 2 Wrath of Khan was the best.

When they arrive, Howard then explains he got the Mars rover stuck in a crevasse while trying to impress Stephanie Barnett, a girl he picked up at the bar. Howard appoints Leonard to drive her home as she doesn't have permission to be there. On the way home, Stephanie passionately kisses Leonard. He felt guilty about it, but after confirming that Howard didn't have a shot with her Leonard makes out with Stephanie. After they determine they can't fix the situation, Howard has them steal all the security recording and wipe the information discs.


A guest at Caltech.

A informs the gang that because of the loss of data, is unlikely to determine the cause of the Mars rover's "malfunction." Leonard heads out to meet Stephanie at her place, Leonard and Stephanie make out and proceed to initiate sexual intercourse, while Howard continually calls about having dinner at his mother's house.

At the Laundry room, Penny notices Leonard's new clothes and asks who's the girl he's dating. Leonard then fills her in and she assures him that he is not a bad person for stealing Stephanie from Howard. Leonard goes to Howard's house to inform Howard that he is dating Stephanie, but before he is able to do so, Stephanie calls Howard to inform him about it. Howard then says Leonard is dead to him.

Later, Leonard tries to talk to Howard, but he continues to pretend Leonard is dead to him. Stephanie stops by and tries to speak with Howard; he acknowledges her but doesn't speak to her. Stephanie then mentions that her roommate Lisa would be disappointed to not meet Howard. She had just gotten out of a relationship. Upon hearing this statement Howard is overjoyed and acknowledges both their existences.

In the final scene, Howard is seen sending a to Lisa on the phone, apologizing for how the date had ended, when the boys call his attention to the news announcement which told that the Mars rover, which had fallen into the crevasse, had found conclusive data that there may have been life on Mars, but they will never know who to credit for this discovery. The episode ends with Howard saying, "Son of a bitch."(He can't take credit for the discovery, because he also would have been arrested for the destruction of the Mars Rover and the groundbreaking data.)


  • "I really want to like this episode, the comedy is good, the focus is on Leonard for once but unfortunately I can’t. The writers lack of thought it annoying and again they limit the show. There seems to be a desire from the producers to keep the show from evolving. That’s a loss for the viewers because this show has the potential to be so much more." - The TV Critic's Review
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: When Raj wanted to play to determine what program they will watch, Sheldon proposes they play Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock, which is an expansion to Rock-Paper-Scissors as well as a reference to expansion packs.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card [1]
  • This episode was watched by 9.76 million people with a rating of 3.8 (adults 18-49).
  • Episode transcript [2]

Costume NotesEdit




Robot Evolution


Ames Bros Destroyer



Sheldon starts with his light blue Robots tee, red Robot Evolution tee, then wears his Ames Brothers "Destroyer" t-shirt , and finally a light gray tee with an unknown design.

Chess Tournament


Turntable/Heavy Rotation

S02e11 wildlife

Unknown Wildlife



Leonard wears a red tee from an unknown chess tournament (might be Harlem), his blue turntable shirt by Heavy Rotation (discontinued), a dark tee from a wildlife sanctuary featuring a squirrel, and a dark colored tee with unknown design (it's that darn jacket, again).

Crown Buckle


Studded belt


For his entering scene, Howard sports a shiny blue rayon turtleneck, an obnoxious belt buckle with a golden crown inside a shield, a black and gold studded belt; pointy gold slip on shoes; and black leather pants. Back at the apartment, he wears an ensemble of blue, including his checkered blue slip on Vans. Later when Stephanie reveals that she's inviting Howard to meet her friend Lisa, he's wearing a city scape belt with a Batman logo cutout buckle. In the final scene he's back to his metallic Superman logo buckle.


Sheldon: Oh, look! Saturn 3 is on.
Raj: I don't want to watch Saturn 3Deep Space 9 is better.
Sheldon: How is Deep Space 9 better than Saturn 3?
Raj: Simple subtraction will tell you it's six better.
Leonard: Compromise. Watch Babylon 5.
Sheldon: In what sense is that a compromise?
Leonard: Well, 5 is partway between 3 and…never mind.
Raj: I'll tell you what. How about we go 'Rock-Paper-Scissors'?
Sheldon: Ooh, I don't think so. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in the game of 'Rock-Paper-Scissors', players familiar with each other will tie 75-80% of the time due to the limited number of outcomes. I suggest 'Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock'.
Raj: What?
Sheldon: It's very simple. Look -- Scissors cuts Paper, Paper covers Rock. Rock crushes Lizard, Lizard poisons Spock. Spock smashes Scissors, Scissors decapitates Lizard. Lizard eats Paper, Paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes rock, and as it always has, Rock crushes Scissors.

Stephanie: I’m sorry. I totally interrupted you. What, what, what were you saying?
Leonard: Just said Howard’s a terrific guy. He’s got a great sense of humor, he loves his mother, a lot, some people say too much.
Stephanie: I really like that you’re such a loyal friend.
Leonard: Yeah, I am loyal. You know, if you look at the big picture. Just, out of curiosity, did he ever have a shot with you?
Stephanie: Are you insane? The guy was wearing an eye patch.
Leonard: Then why did you?
Stephanie: He said that I could drive a car on Mars.
Leonard: Got it. So, can I see you again?

Announcer: A NASA spokesman states that due to the loss of data, they will most likely be unable to determine the cause of the Mars Rover’s malfunction. This is not the first time an exploratory mission to Mars has ended in disappointment.
Howard: Thank God for Plan B.
Penny: Howard, didn’t you say you worked on the Mars Rover?
Howard: No, you’re mistaken.
Penny: Yeah, when we first met, you said that if I went out with you, I could drive a car on Mars.
Howard: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Mrs. Wolowitz: (to Howard) Who is it?!
Howard: Leonard!


  • Sheldon is a fan of , Raj likes ', and Leonard proposes watching , since numerically, it's between the two.(Not to mention, Sheldon despises Babylon 5.) This devolves into arguing over which is better, and only resolves to somewhat agree that ' is worse than the others (see the Note).
  • "Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock" is an expansion of the classic Rock-paper-scissors game by , which turns the classic three-way game into five-way, while keeping the original associations in the three way game, as so:
    • PAPER covers ROCK
    • ROCK crushes LIZARD
    • LIZARD poisons SPOCK
    • SPOCK smashes SCISSORS
    • SCISSORS decapitates LIZARD
    • LIZARD eats PAPER
    • PAPER disproves SPOCK
    • SPOCK vaporizes ROCK
    • ROCK crushes SCISSORS
  • The (Defense Readiness Condition) numbers do indeed count down, with a lower number indicating a higher-level of emergency than a larger number.
  • On the series ' (episode: Flushed [2012]), the protagonists Ethan, Benny and Rory draw lots by playing Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock.
  • In the season 1 episode, "The Grasshopper Experiment," Leonard lightly scolds Sheldon for having left with Raj's date, saying friends should not do such things to each other. However, he himself practically does the same thing in this episode, the major difference being that he intended to date Stephanie, while Sheldon had no romantic intentions. Although, it is more likely that Stephanie made the move on Leonard.
  • The ringtone on Howard's cellphone (which is heard occasionally in future episodes as well) is "She Blinded Me With Science" by , which was used as the theme music for the unaired pilot episode. Also Sheldon refers to "hind quarters", which he also mentioned in the unaired pilot.
  • The events of this episode would come back to haunt Howard, when Sheldon accidentally revealed Howard's involvement in the destruction of the Mars Rover to an FBI agent, costing Howard his security clearance.
  • Sheldon has not seen the 2008 Clone Wars movie yet, which makes no sense because as a Star Wars fan, he would likely have camped out to see the movie, like when he and Leonard had watched Star Trek: Nemesis in 2003. Also, Sheldon claimed that he wanted to be disappointed in the correct order George Lucas intended. However, while many fans agree that the movie was disappointing, the show was much better.


Rock Paper scissors Lizard Spock01:16

Rock Paper scissors Lizard Spock


  • Stephanie and the gang at Caltech.
  • Everyone ends in "Spock".
  • Leonard & Stephanie.
  • Damage control at the Mars rover control center.
  • Leonard on a date with Stephanie.
  • Explaining R-P-S-L-S.
  • Howard's eye patch plan to attract women.
  • Rock.
  • Everyone picks Spock.
  • Rock.
  • Stephanie. Leonard. You're alive!
  • Stephanie hears Howard's phone message.
  • Sheldon.
  • Leonard asks Sheldon to lie for him.
  • Let's go friend Leonard.
  • We're not done seeing each other now.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #227.
  • Howard introduces Leonard.
  • Spock over scissors.
  • Sheldon and Penny.
  • No one looks as lovely as you with all that greasy hair.
  • Penny hanging out in 4A.
  • Just move your scooter.
  • Howard is everything OK?
  • Totally Intrrupted you.

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