How Young Sheldon Foreshadowed The Big Bang Theory Finale (After It Already Aired)

Thanks to Young Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory had two series finales in one night.

"A Swedish Science Thing and the Equation for Toast" - Pictured: Sheldon (Iain Armitage). Sheldon invites the entire school to a party for the Nobel Prize announcements. Also, Meemaw learns more about Dr. Sturgis' past, and Georgie's desire for cable TV leads to a standoff between him and George Sr., on the second season finale of YOUNG SHELDON, Thursday, May 16 (9:01-9:31PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Photo: Michael Desmond | Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

May 16, 2019 was a big day for The Big Bang Theory, as fans said goodbye to the beloved comedy after 12 years on-air. Thankfully, fans still had Young Sheldon to watch right after the BBT series finale, with the season 2 finale of the spinoff airing at 9 p.m. the very same night.

Despite airing after The Big Bang Theory had already ended, this now-classic Young Sheldon episode features a touching moment that “foreshadows” the original series and serves as an immediate reunion for the younger versions of its characters, giving viewers not only a perfect second finale for The Big Bang Theory, but a full-circle moment in Young Sheldon that reminds us there’s always more to the story. Allow us to explain. 

In the season 2 finale of Young Sheldon, Sheldon invites everyone at school to his garage for a party to hear the Nobel Prize in physics announcements. Heartbreakingly, no one shows up besides his mom, who he insists can leave and go back to bed. This leads to adult Sheldon’s narration saying, “In that moment, I felt like a neutrino, destined to be alone forever,” as we see pure sadness wash over his younger self. It’s heartbreaking and probably something many viewers can understand and relate to. 

Then, in a scene full of The Big Bang Theory goodness, viewers are treated to images of Leonard, Penny, Raj, Howard, Bernadette, and Amy as kids to signify that Sheldon was wrong and that he will eventually find his people. The sequence is an affecting moment of hope. And it’s a clear love letter to the original comedy that includes choice details like the wardrobe each character is wearing, Leonard’s asthma inhaler on his desk, Mrs. Wolowitz’s yelling at Howard, Bernadette’s beauty pageant trophy and slash, Amy reading Little House on the Prairie, Raj’s telescope, and Penny’s cowgirl hat. 

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In the series finale of The Big Bang Theory, which was a two-part episode, Sheldon and Amy win the Nobel Prize in physics for their work in super-asymmetry. Of course, the gang all go with the couple to support them, wanting to be there for the ceremony. There are some hiccups on Sheldon’s end, such as not reacting the right way to Penny and Leonard’s pregnancy and not caring when Howard and Bernadette want to go home for their children. He and Amy get in a fight over his behavior and it seemingly opens his eyes, which leads to one of the best moments of the series: Sheldon’s acceptance speech. After Amy speaks, it’s his turn and he decides to forgo his prepared remarks, expressing that this honor doesn’t just belong to him and thanking his mother, father, grandmother, and siblings before focusing on his “other family.” 

He continues by explaining that he has been “encouraged, sustained, inspired, and tolerated” by the “greatest group of friends anyone ever had.” Sheldon then asks them each to stand one by one, introducing them and calling Penny and Leonard his “dearest friends in the world.” To make up for his initial reaction, he then recalls the moment the couple met and how Leonard said that their babies would be smart and beautiful, adding that “Now that they’re expecting, I have no doubt that that will be the case.” 

He apologizes for not always being the friend that they deserve but shares that in his way, he loves them all before also turning to Amy to tell her that he loves her as well. The final scene of the show is the group seated in the living room, enjoying Chinese food, and laughing while the theme song plays. 

Airing these episodes back to back was a brilliant storytelling decision and way to hammer home the true legacy of the series: found family. While there were plenty of laughs throughout both finales, it was impossible not to grow teary eyed— or full on sob— at how far these characters have come.

New episodes of Young Sheldon’s final season air Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. All episodes of The Big Bang Theory are streaming on Max.