Post Mortems

Big Bang Theory Shocker: The Story Behind That Surprising Split

The Big Bang Theory‘s one-hour series finale is still a week away, but Thursday’s third-to-last episode brought early — and bittersweet — closure to one major storyline.

Near the conclusion of “The Maternal Conclusion,” Raj breaks up with his London-bound squeeze Anu, a development that tees up Kunal Nayyar’s lovelorn alter ego to end the series as a bachelor. The episode starts off promisingly for the pair, with Raj deciding to relocate to the UK to start a new life with his former fiancee. But following a heart-to-heart with BFF Howard, Raj ultimately realizes she is not his soul mate.

“The Anu-Raj relationship was a fun part of the season and, as close as it was, she wasn’t quite the perfect one for him — and we want Raj to end up with the perfect woman,” explains showrunner Steve Holland of the decision to split them up. “As great as Anu was, and as great as the actress Rati [Gupta] was, she was such a different person. It started to feel like it wasn’t who you wanted to see Raj end up with. You want for Raj to have that sort of fairytale romance that he’s dreamed about all these years.

“And maybe someday in the future he still does have [the fairytale],” Holland adds. “But we didn’t feel like we needed to tie all of these characters up in a relationship bow.”

According to Holland, he and his fellow writers played the Raj-Anu relationship “by ear” as the season went on, remaining open to any eventuality. “We don’t tend to arc out our seasons in a big way,” he notes. “This season was a little bit different because it was the final season, so we knew the big pieces… But we didn’t know every single [ending] of every character. And that was one of the relationships that we sort of felt our way through.”

Big Bang‘s two-part series finale airs Thursday, May 16 at 8/7c on CBS.