If there’s any doubt, the Young Sheldon season 6 finale proves that The Big Bang Theory prequel isn’t Sheldon’s show anymore. Premiering in 2017, the spin-off of the nerd-centric sitcom was greenlit in an effort to further capitalize on The Big Bang Theory‘s popularity. As its title suggests, Young Sheldon delves into Sheldon’s childhood in Texas. It mines inspiration from the genius’ penchant for sharing all kinds of anecdotes from his time living with his family. Providing context and backstory to some of Sheldon’s most bizarre preferences and behaviors, its ties to the extremely popular The Big Bang Theory helped it establish itself. Four years since its parent series ended, however, Young Sheldon has clearly outgrown its prequel roots, and the season 6 finale crystallizes that.
Arguably its most dynamic year yet, Young Sheldon season 6 has tackled all kinds of narratives — from grounded arcs to bizarre ones. The year culminates with a special super-sized finale, with CBS airing Young Sheldon season 6 episodes 21 and 22, “A Romantic Getaway and a Germanic Meat-Based Diet” and “A Tornado, a 10-Hour Flight and a Darn Fine Ring,” back-to-back. The year-ender focuses on Sheldon’s upcoming Germany trip, but a lot more has happened aside from it. After a tumultuous dating history, Georgie and Mandy finally get engaged. Meanwhile, Missy is caught sneaking out at night and gets seriously mad at Sheldon. Amid these, a tornado passes by Medford, subjecting Missy and George to a near-death catastrophe while demolishing Meemaw’s house.
For a year-capper, Young Sheldon season 6 finale is tame, especially compared to its predecessors. Despite its one-hour runtime, it doesn’t feel like much has happened in terms of setting up what comes next for the Coopers. Breaking down the back-to-back episodes, however, they have some of the most exciting plot lines, and it would have been better if CBS broke them down into separate outings. Considering how prevalent their story has been throughout season 6, Georgie and Mandy’s engagement resolution is rushed. Seeing more of Mandy’s interactions with her parents would have been great, especially since the McCallisters would likely be how Georgie starts his Mr. Tire business in The Big Bang Theory. Similarly, Pastor Jeff discovering Meemaw’s illegal gambling den could have also easily been a B-plot in an earlier season 6 episode.
Season 6 finale doesn’t capitalize on one of its best storylines — the evolving relationship between Missy and Sheldon. After snitching on his sister’s late-night shenanigans, Missy finally gets fed up with Sheldon and decides to ignore him. Surprisingly, however, this bothers Sheldon, motivating him to apologize to her multiple times. This humanizes Sheldon, which is a great development, especially after making him unbearably annoying for the majority of the season. Unfortunately, considering the limited runtime of the show, the show doesn’t get to fully explore this side of the boy genius. It barely even touches on Missy’s growing frustrations, not to mention her reluctance to make peace with her twin before he leaves for Germany.
The Young Sheldon season 6 finale, however, fails to revisit one of its biggest multi-episode arcs of the year: George’s cheating storyline. Granted that Mary has already made peace with Brenda Sparks for flirting with her husband, it’s odd that The Big Bang Theory prequel doesn’t even mention anything about the Cooper patriarch’s supposed infidelity. While the show opted to forgo Sheldon catching his dad cheating on his mom, it doesn’t have to ignore George’s affair altogether. At the very least, the season 6 finale could have acknowledged the plot line, considering how pivotal it has been. It seems like after being on the brink of divorce, Sheldon’s parents are not only back in their normal dynamic, but it appears they’re in an even better place in their marriage despite not fully resolving their marital woes.
More importantly, the season 6 finale emphasizes how much Young Sheldon has outgrown its original premise. As interesting as it is learning about Sheldon’s trip to Germany, it isn’t the most intriguing plot line; it may even be the most boring of them all. Much has been said about how unbearable Sheldon has become in his own show. While he isn’t supposed to be likable, at least The Big Bang Theory utilized the character in a way that made you want to root for him. This hasn’t been the case in Young Sheldon for a while now, and by no means is it Iain Armitage’s fault. Interestingly, the season 6 finale’s best moments are narratives that don’t have any direct ties to the nerd-centric sitcom. Looking back, this also applies to the rest of the season. For what it’s worth, this may actually be a great thing for the show’s future, as it means it’s become bigger than Sheldon. If CBS decides to continue with Young Sheldon via a rebranded ensemble spin-off, it can stand on its own, with the rest of the Coopers spearheading it.
Overall, the Young Sheldon season 6 finale is able to deliver on many of its narrative promises. But for a finale that sets up what could be the show’s last season, it’s tame and low-stakes. So while the two-part send-off is perfectly acceptable, The Big Bang Theory prequel played it safe, with a lack of big swings and show-changing twists.