The Prestidigitation Approximation
Priya has begun to dominate in her relationship with Leonard, buying him new clothes and forcing him to wear contact lenses (which Leonard is not comfortable with). She also feels threatened by Leonard continuing to hang out with Penny, even though they have broken up, so during sex, she tells him to break all contact with Penny. Leonard initially hesitates, but still tries to tell Penny to stay away from him, albeit indirectly, with an obscure anecdote about Charles Darwin’s finches. Penny does not get the right message, but Leonard takes comfort in the fact that he tried. Later Penny interrupts Leonard’s date with Priya and is completely oblivious to what is going on. Leonard once again indirectly tries to tell Penny to stay away from him, but this time Penny gets the message and realizing that Priya was behind this, decides to break all contact with Leonard. Leonard immediately attempts to go after his ex-girlfriend, only to crash into the doorframe due to his uncomfortable new contact lenses. Meanwhile, Howard shows Sheldon, Raj and Penny a card trick in which a volunteer picks a card and after shuffling the deck, Howard tells the volunteer his/her card. Raj and Penny both try out the trick and are amazed by it. Though at first his attitude is dismissive, Sheldon eventually becomes obsessed with discovering the trick’s secret, as even Penny could figure it out. He goes to the extent of using a barcode reader and even hacking the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Cray supercomputer, attempting to procure Uranium 235 on Craigslist in order to recreate the trick. It is then revealed (to the audience) that the card trick is just a prank played by Howard, Raj and Penny on Sheldon. Raj and Penny willingly pretended that Howard was successful, knowing fully well that Sheldon would go nuts trying to figure out the trick’s secret. When Sheldon wants Howard to perform the trick on him in the end, Raj manages to get a peek on Sheldon’s card and uses hand signals to tell Howard the right answer. Sheldon is puzzled once more, still not knowing that he had been pranked all along, while Howard and Raj both laugh gleefully.
Title reference: Howard’s faux prestidigitation magic card trick.