Young Sheldon Handled an Inevitable Tragedy in the Best Possible Way But We're Still Not Ready To Say Goodbye

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The last two minutes of Young Sheldon Season 7 Episode 12 were inevitable, but we still didn't see them coming.

This was one of the season's most positive, upbeat, and funny episodes... until it wasn't.

The reason George was absent from the family portrait was as shocking for viewers as it was for his family, and that was probably the point.

Georgie Helps George - Young Sheldon

Death is never an easy subject to tackle, especially in generally more lighthearted series. Before the announcement that this would be Young Sheldon's final season, many viewers hoped that the producers would ignore the backstory in The Big Bang Theory and not include George Senior's death.

They couldn't do that and be the story of Sheldon's early years, though. His father's death is part of what makes Sheldon the way he is as an adult, so it had to be written into the prequel sooner or later.

Missy Can't Wait To Move - Young Sheldon

The Final Scene Hit Hard

George's unexpected death hit hard, especially for viewers who have experienced something similar in real life. When Mary opened the door to George's co-workers, I knew what was coming, and the tears began flowing.

I couldn't help thinking of when I was eleven and my next-door neighbor died of a sudden heart attack. His family has long since grown up and moved away, but George's death brought me right back to that moment because it was so similar.

The writers made the right choice by having his actual death occur off-screen. The audience learned about it at the same time as his family did, putting us solidly into their heads as they absorbed the news that George wasn't just running late -- he was gone forever.

This was heartbreaking, but it wasn't an unnecessary TV death. The series had to address George's death sooner or later, and it was better to do it now than to end the series on that low note, as persistent rumors claimed would happen.

Discussing the Move - Young Sheldon

How Will George's Death Affect The Coopers?

Missy and Georgie likely will go over their last interactions with George forever. Georgie had been teasing him about not being in good enough shape to check out the roof, which is bad enough, but Missy took for granted that he'd still be around in the afternoon and declined a ride to school.

Nobody ever thinks this is the last time they'll see their seemingly healthy loved one, especially not a fourteen-year-old girl who would rather not have her parents drive her to school. Missy can't be blamed for declining that ride, but that doesn't mean it won't haunt her forever.

I was afraid Missy would be left hanging as Young Sheldon wraps up, but now she has a heavy storyline to end the series.

George's death will also hit Sheldon hard. Sheldon was already having a tough time dealing with the idea that his family was selling the house and moving away after he left, and this was an even more permanent change.

In addition, this is a deviation from how things are "supposed" to be. Sheldon was teasing Meemaw about being old and not having much time left, and he wouldn't have an easy time accepting that she outlived his father.

Sheldon Hates Change - Young Sheldon

Mary will likely question why God allowed this to happen, especially since George had gotten his dream job and was looking forward to working in Houston.

It doesn't seem fair, and that was the point. Sometimes death robs us of our dreams just as they're about to come true, and it sucks.

There's Just Enough Time to Deal With the Aftermath

Young Sheldon has two episodes, which will air on May 16. This gives the series enough time to explore the aftermath of George's death without dwelling on it too much.

Sometimes, grief stories can turn into tired TV tropes about people not coping well if they go on for too long, so it's good that Young Sheldon didn't kill George off too early in the final season.

That also allowed us to have as much time with him as possible before the series ends.

George Fixes The Roof - Young Sheldon

The first of the final two episodes is called "Funeral." This will likely be the saddest episode of the series, followed by a more upbeat finale that allows viewers to come away feeling good.

Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik will reprise their roles for the finale, so there will most likely be an explanation of what happened to each Cooper after George's death and then a jump into the future to catch up with the adult Sheldon.

That's the best way to end this series, but first, we must get through the funeral.

Can Young Sheldon Make a Funeral Funny?

Although Young Sheldon has gotten more dramatic as time goes on, it's supposed to be a lighthearted comic look at Sheldon's younger years. There's no way the funeral can be lighthearted, but there can be funny moments despite the tragedy.

George's death could also inspire flashbacks, which are fitting for the finale of a long-running and beloved series. The first half of the finale could be a tribute to George that includes clips of his interactions with the family from all seven seasons.

Mary and Connie - Young Sheldon Season 6 Episode 21

Between memories, dealing with the aftermath of George's death, and exploring the Coopers' futures, Young Sheldon will give us a memorable series finale and lead to the new Georgie and Mandy spinoff.

That's the best we can ask for, given that the series is ending whether we like it or not.

Your turn, Young Sheldon fanatics. Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button to share your thoughts and feelings about George's death and the upcoming series finale.

Young Sheldon airs on CBS on Thursdays at 8/7c. The hour-long series finale will air on May 16, 2024.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on X.

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Young Sheldon Quotes

I was not always as emotionally intelligent as I am today. For example, when my father died, I was flummoxed by all the ways people expressed grief.

Adult Sheldon (VO)

Baez: My mother wanted me to go to med school but I couldn't because...
Danny: Let me guess. You can't stand the sight of blood.
Baez: Dummy me decided to become a cop instead.