Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Young Sheldon season 6, episode 4.Due to his interest in science, Young Sheldon’s title character doesn’t like to compare himself to his devoutly religious mother, Mary Cooper, yet despite their disagreement on her faith, the two have a number of similarities. Throughout Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory, Mary rarely sees eye to eye with Sheldon; since he’s a firm believer in science and she’s a fervent Christian, the two are often locked in arguments about the nature of faith. The intensity of their clashing once even drove Sheldon to move back in with his friend during an unresolved dispute.
However, Sheldon is not that different from his mother. While he likes to believe that he does not have a lot in common with her, he has as much unwavering faith in science as she has in Christianity. These beliefs may not seem similar, but Young Sheldon season 6, episode 4, “Blonde Ambition and the Concept of Zero,” proves that they are more comparable than they seem. When a child that Sheldon is tutoring notes that zero is simultaneously both nothing and something, Sheldon is floored by this paradox and turns to his own faith, in science.
While Mary’s Young Sheldon season 6 plot has seen her embrace her wild side by letting go of some stuffier, less permissive aspects of her faith, Sheldon’s latest storyline sees him rely on faith in much the same way his mother usually does. He doesn’t merely agree with the kid he’s tutoring when he pragmatically suggests that they pretend zero exists as a leap of faith. Instead, Sheldon insists on praying to the number. This proves not only that Sheldon is not averse to faith itself, but also that he perceives faith in the same religious framework that his mother, Mary, does.
While Sheldon and Mary have faith in very different phenomena, the impact that this has on their respective characters is surprisingly similar. Like his mother, Sheldon can be obstinate and a humorless stick in the mud. Much like how Young Sheldon’s Georgie inherited his father’s laid-back nature and feckless attitude, Sheldon gained his mother’s intensity when it comes to articles of faith. Sheldon believes in science and Mary believes in Jesus, but both characters share the view that the belief is sacrosanct and beyond reproach. Sheldon’s comfort with praying proves he has no issue with faith provided it is in a belief that he shares.
Similarly, Mary is unbending in her convictions even when this comes at a personal cost. The joy and freedom she has experienced since getting a little more uninhibited in season 6 prove that Mary’s character could use a break from her faith (and her marriage to Young Sheldon’s George Sr. could be saved by this intervention). However, The Big Bang Theory’s version of Mary is as intensely religious as ever, proving that both generations of Coopers are not quick to let go of their faith no matter what. As such, Young Sheldon season 6 proves that its title character owes more of his personality to his mother than he might like to admit.
Young Sheldon airs new episodes on Thursdays on CBS.