While George doesn’t technically start an extramarital affair with Brenda, their latest interaction in Young Sheldon season 5 sets up his divorce.
George (Lance Barber) may have not started an affair with Brenda (Melissa Peterman), but despite that, their recent interaction could still lead to his divorce in Young Sheldon. After a longer summer hiatus in 2021, the CBS sitcom returned on October 7, answering the looming question from the season 4 finale. The Young Sheldon season 5 premiere picked up where the previous episode left off, showing what came after George and Brenda bumped into each other at the local bar.
Titled “One Bad Night and Chaos of Selfish Desires,” the episode saw George and Brenda hanging out at the pub and having some drinks together. Eventually, what started as an innocent conversation became flirtatious in nature. Surprisingly, Brenda suggested that they leave and go to her home where they could be alone. George was somehow shocked, but before he could even respond, he suffered a health emergency and was rushed to the hospital. No one else knows what happened that night — except for George and Brenda — and they seem determined to keep it that way. That being said, even if the two didn’t technically do anything wrong, and even if they never act on their mutual burgeoning attraction moving forward, their night together lays the groundwork for the Coopers’ marriage falling apart, regardless.
During Mary and George’s drive on the way home from the hospital, she started to bring up the argument they had that led to him storming out of the house and into the bar. For context, during their heated discussion, the Cooper patriarch heartbreakingly admitted that he was dissatisfied with the current state of his life. Before they could further discuss this, however, George cut the conversation short, leaving Mary to sit on that bombshell on her own. Following his latest health scare, she naturally wanted to properly talk about her husband’s current struggles, but instead of engaging, he decided to invalidate his own feelings, suggesting that they just forget that whole night altogether. Of course, this doesn’t mean that his personal woes were miraculously resolved. He just didn’t want to think about his borderline inappropriate flirting with Brenda as part of what happened that night.
Unfortunately, George refusing to openly discuss his feelings with his wife will only result in pent-up resentment towards his present situation moving forward. Prior to his admission, he already briefly talked about such feelings in an earlier episode of Young Sheldon in season 4. Given this, it’s safe to say that this is something that has been plaguing him for quite a while now; he just didn’t want to bring it up to his family. As per grown-up Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) story in The Big Bang Theory, his dad was no good — something that the spin-off clearly contradicts. What if his refusal to properly talk about this issue becomes the reason for his gradual change for the worse? It could explain the discrepancy in characterization between Young Sheldon and its parent series.
The Coopers discussing George’s problem doesn’t guarantee that their marriage will be saved in the long run. If Young Sheldon sticks to what’s established in The Big Bang Theory, the couple is headed towards a dark and ugly path from here on out. Despite this, if George didn’t refuse to relive the events of that emotional night, at least they could’ve tried to repair their secretly crumbling relationship.