The Cooper Family poses for a Young Sheldon promo
(CBS)

‘Young Sheldon’ Finally Gets to the Moment Viewers Have Been Dreading for Years

Young Sheldon is fast approaching the two-part finale of its seventh and final season. However, prior to the finale, the show finally tackled the one death viewers have been dreading since the show first began in 2017.

Recommended Videos

Spoilers ahead for Young Sheldon season 7!

Young Sheldon serves as a prequel series to The Big Bang Theory and focuses on Sheldon Cooper’s (Iain Armitage) childhood growing up in East Texas. Although it is a spinoff of The Big Bang Theory, it has opted to retcon a few elements established in the original show. One of the biggest changes in the prequel series pertained to George Cooper (Lance Barber), Sheldon’s father. In The Big Bang Theory, the adult Sheldon (Jim Parsons) described his father as an alcoholic, misogynistic redneck who cheated on his wife and coasted through parenting. While he sometimes mentions missing his father and having complicated feelings about him, he more often describes his father as little more than a source of trauma growing up.

However, Young Sheldon changes George’s story significantly. He still enjoys drinking and has some pretty old-fashioned views. At the same time, he’s also mild-mannered and soft-spoken, and he very clearly loves and values his children and wife. Most of the time, his biggest faults are that he’s a bit clueless and doesn’t always know how to be a parent or a good husband. However, he always tries to improve and grows a lot during the series. The show even managed to explain the alleged infidelity as a simple misunderstanding on Sheldon’s part. Although Young Sheldon could clumsily explain away certain inconsistencies, it couldn’t avoid that, in The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon reveals he was 14 when his father died.

How does George die in Young Sheldon?

Lance Barber as George in Young Sheldon
(CBS)

Young Sheldon begins in 1989 when Sheldon is nine years old. Viewers have watched the boy grow up onscreen, with season seven taking place in 1994, where Sheldon is now 14. Since the show began, The Big Bang Theory fans have been concerned about when that age milestone would arrive and what it would mean for George. Interestingly, The Big Bang Theory never reveals George’s cause of death. At one point, Sheldon includes his father’s name on a chart with “SBL” above it, which he tells Leonard (Johnny Galecki) is an abbreviation for his cause of death. However, he fails to explain what SBL stands for.

While fans have come up with various theories about the abbreviation SBL, Young Sheldon has long foreshadowed that George’s death would likely be heart-related, given his multiple health scares and angina pectoris diagnosis. Despite the foreshadowing, many hoped that the show would simply end before George’s death. For a while, it appeared the show was going in that direction as nearly all of season 7 passed with George alive and well.

However, in the final episode before the two-part finale, the show unexpectedly drops the death on viewers. In the episode, George is in an unusually good mood after receiving a major job offer. As he cheerily prepares to head to the school where he coaches, he bids goodbye to the family, although Sheldon is reading a book and ignores him. While he’s gone, the rest of the family prepares for family photos. Then, right before the episode ends, two men arrive at their doorstep, bearing bad news. They reveal to a shocked Cooper family that George suffered a heart attack at the school and passed away.

Again, even though viewers were partially expecting the moment, it still felt like a surprise. It’s difficult not to feel the emotion of the moment as Missy (Reagan Revord) begins to cry, and Sheldon sits motionlessly in a chair, regretting not bidding his father goodbye that morning. Meanwhile, the emotions aren’t over, as the first part of the finale is titled “Funeral.”

Although George’s death is a difficult scene to get through, especially for anyone who lost a parent unexpectedly, the emotion one will feel is a testimony that Young Sheldon did right by George and made him a character/father who truly would be missed. There are plenty of depictions on TV of problematic fathers who never change, which makes it refreshing when a show reminds viewers that while all parents have flaws, the effort they put into changing and bettering themselves matters more than their shortcomings.


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article ‘X-Men ’97’ Directors Answer Some Important Questions…Like Do the X-Men Wear Wigs
The X-Men stand together in 'X-Men '97'.
Read Article I Need Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2 To Give Us More of One Thing Teased in Part 1
Kate and Anthony as married Viscount and Viscountess in the third season of Bridgerton
Read Article Is Violet’s Garden Finally About To Bloom on Bridgerton?
Lady Violet Bridgerton as portrayed by Ruth Gemmell in Netflix's show
Read Article I Hope Season 3 Is Just the Start of This Untapped ‘Bridgerton’ Musical Pairing
Queen Charlotte, Lady Danbury and Brimsely looking over the couples dancing at the ball in episode 2 of Bridgerton season 3
Read Article Fans Want to Know About the Fate of ‘Fire Country’
Bode Donovan looking to the mountains
Related Content
Read Article ‘X-Men ’97’ Directors Answer Some Important Questions…Like Do the X-Men Wear Wigs
The X-Men stand together in 'X-Men '97'.
Read Article I Need Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2 To Give Us More of One Thing Teased in Part 1
Kate and Anthony as married Viscount and Viscountess in the third season of Bridgerton
Read Article Is Violet’s Garden Finally About To Bloom on Bridgerton?
Lady Violet Bridgerton as portrayed by Ruth Gemmell in Netflix's show
Read Article I Hope Season 3 Is Just the Start of This Untapped ‘Bridgerton’ Musical Pairing
Queen Charlotte, Lady Danbury and Brimsely looking over the couples dancing at the ball in episode 2 of Bridgerton season 3
Read Article Fans Want to Know About the Fate of ‘Fire Country’
Bode Donovan looking to the mountains
Author
Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.