Warning: Spoilers ahead for the most recent episode of The Big Bang Theory. Come back once you’ve caught up!
The Big Bang Theory made fans’ dreams come true by having a crossover (of sorts) with Young Sheldon, and the episode looks like it finally helped Sheldon get closer to his dad, George. It turns out that Sheldon may have been a bit wrong about how different he and his father really were. Here’s what happened.
When the episode opens, Penny and Leonard have gathered Bernadette, Raj and Howard in their apartment. They all know that Sheldon and Amy and still really down about their theory being disproven (Sheldon especially), so they’ve made a list of topics they think everyone should stay away from to keep the newlyweds from getting even more upset. While the list, reasonably, includes lots of science things, they also suggest not mentioning Rocky IV. When Bernadette asks why, Howard tells her it’s because Rocky fights a Russian in that movie and, obviously, since a Russian paper disproved Amy and Sheldon’s theory, that would make the movie a sore topic. I mean, really Bernadette. Use your noggin.
When Amy and Sheldon walk in on the conversation and ask what they’re doing, Bernadette tries not to let on by chirping a happy “nothing” at them, but because Sheldon is still ultra sensitive right now, he takes it as being just like his career, and storms out. Since Bernadette can’t win tonight, Howard throws a “nice going” at her.
Later, Sheldon tells Amy that he was so sure that he was right about their theory that he’s no longer sure he can trust his instincts with regards to anything else. He notes that maybe he’s also been wrong about jazz music this entire time, and begins to play what must be the noisiest example of jazz imaginable to see if he can take it.
According to Amy, this trend of reconsidering things goes on for Sheldon for quite some time. When she goes over to see Penny and Leonard, she tells them that she’s worried about him because she’s never seen him this down before. Apparently, he’s now re-evaluated things like tea, which he used to like but has now decided is only “leaf soup.” Amy is worried that Sheldon will eventually decided to re-evaluate her. But, luckily for her, Leonard thinks of a quick solution that might help her get through to Sheldon…by using his own words to shake him out of his terrible mood.
Leonard pulls out an old VHS tape, and tells Amy that Sheldon recorded a pep talk to himself when he was just a boy. Sheldon eventually gave it to Leonard for safe-keeping, and so that if Sheldon ever needed to hear words of encouragement from himself in an emergency, Leonard could bring the tape out for him. Unfortunately, between Amy, Sheldon, Penny and Leonard, none of them have a VCR. This just so happens to be one of the few moments where Howard can come to the rescue, though, because he has one that Amy can borrow. Howard for the win!
Amy, filled with new hope, takes the tape and the VCR back to her place to show Sheldon. He’s still in his bathrobe, but when she mentions the tape he perks up, noting that he’d just finished watching Back to the Future 2 when he made it, figuring that he might need a pep talk from himself at some point down the line. So, Amy sets things up and begins the tape, and Sheldon is immediately entranced. Unfortunately, the playback did not go as planned.
After Sheldon and Young Sheldon say hello to each other, the boy begins saying how if he’s watching the tape something bad, that has made him question everything, must have happened. Once they get a brief test out of the way to make sure that no “imposters” are watching instead of the real Sheldon, (Current Sheldon has to guess what Young Sheldon is thinking on the count of three. Turns out it was the phrase “robot monkey butler,” so I suppose we now know the key to Sheldon’s every thought. Yay.) the worst possible thing happens. The tape fuzzes out and a football game appears in place of Young Sheldon’s face.
As you may have guessed, Sheldon’s dad George taped over his pep talk with video from a Medford High Wolves game, which he coached while Sheldon’s brother, Georgie, was on the team. As the game plays, Amy asks what she can do to help, but Sheldon responds with, “invent a time machine and tell my younger self that nothing’s going to work out,” and storms into the bedroom, slamming the door behind him.
That night, after Amy and Sheldon have said goodbye to their theory with a Viking-esq funeral idea that Penny and Leonard suggest after calling Beverly, Sheldon is in bed and gets awoken by the sound of football being played. He goes into the living room and sees that Amy is watching the tape in an effort to see if any of his talk is still left at the end. The game gives way to George’s talk to the team in the locker room at half time, when it was very clear that they were going to lose the game. And, this is when the magic happens.
George tells the kids that they’re not going to win the game, but that doesn’t mean they have to quit, either. He wants them to keep trying and show the other team what they’re made of, because “you learn as much from failing as you do from success.” He instructs them to “get out there and be men,” which causes Georgie to pipe up and try to encourage his teammates. Sheldon then notes to Amy that he remembers this game, because they lost so badly that the opposing team actually let one of their cheerleaders try to kick a field goal.
Then Sheldon makes the important realization that he’s been acting like the game is over, but it’s only half time and he still has things to do. He also sees that his dad also faced failure and setbacks and kept going, meaning that they may have been more alike than he ever realized. While he’s talking, though, Amy gets some ideas of her own and thinks that maybe they were looking at their theory all wrong, and that if they approach things from a different angle, they could actually hit on something much bigger than they originally had planned.
Within seconds, they are both motivated to dive back into the theory and figure it out. When Amy leaves to grab her laptop, Sheldon says aloud, “Thanks dad. We’re going to give ’em hell.” Honestly, if that doesn’t make you tear up a little, I don’t know what will.
It’s too bad that George isn’t around anymore for this newfound connection to help his actual relationship with Sheldon, but now, at least, maybe his scientific son can look back and understand his choices a bit better.
You can see how George’s football pep talk continues to help Sheldon and Amy with their new and improved theory, when The Big Bang Theory continues on CBS, Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST.