The Young Sheldon Season 2 finale aired immediately after The Big Bang Theory series finale Thursday night, and the newer show paid tribute to its parent with a heartwarming crossover that gave fans a look at younger versions of their favorite characters.
"A Swedish Since Thing and the Equation Toast" had multiple connections to the Big Bang finale. After audiences saw a grown Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) win the Nobel Prize for Physics, they saw a younger Sheldon (Iain Armitage) anxiously awaiting to hear if his mentor Dr. John Sturgis (Wallace Shawn) won. Sturgis knew he was not going to win, but told Meemaw (Annie Potts) that one day Sheldon will.
Sheldon was left heartbroken when he heard that Sturgis did not win, and it did not help that no one showed up for his Nobel Prize listening party. In his narration, older Sheldon said he felt lonely at the moment, not knowing there was a group of people who would one day become his closest friends.
Then, the show ended with a montage showing younger versions of Leonard, Penny, Raj, Howard, Bernadette and Amy. Young Leonard was seen sitting by a radio, also listening to the Nobel results, while Penny was seen sleeping in a messy bed. Raj was working on formulas, and Howard was yelled at by his mother for playing video games. Amy was reading Little House on the Prairie, and Bernadette was neatly tucked in bed.
"It's such a tremendous night for Big Bang Theory," Young Sheldon showrunner Steve Molaro told TVLine. "We were hopeful to find a way to somehow make it feel like a cohesive [night of programming] and, more importantly, pay homage to Big Bang, which was ending and which was the birthplace of Young Sheldon. And this was, hopefully, a way we were able to achieve that."
As Big Bang fans know, it would be impossible for young Sheldon to really meet younger versions of his best friends, since he is only 10 years old in Season 2. So Molaro admitted the montage did not change series' story in a "deep" way.
"But I do think it is a moving and powerful ending for Young Sheldon that is, at the same time, a love letter to Big Bang Theory," Molaro said.
The Big Bang Theory might be ending, but Young Sheldon was renewed for two more seasons and will be back in the fall. The series was created by Molaro and Chuck Lorre, and Parsons is one of the executive producers.
Photo credit: Michael Desmond/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./CBS