McKenna Grace’s Paige, Young Sheldon‘s other child prodigy, returned for the show’s 100th episode, and it made fans wonder where Paige is in Big Bang Theory. When Sheldon’s (Iain Armitage) rival made another appearance on the sitcom, she needed help from the socially-inept genius. With her return, audiences learned that things weren’t going well with Paige, setting up a more tragic explanation of why she never appeared on The Big Bang Theory. The 100th episode of Young Sheldon titled “A Solo Peanut, a Social Butterfly and the Truth” saw Paige visit East Texas Tech for a special talk with her fellows from the University of Texas.
While she was still charmingly arrogant, it’s clear that she wasn’t happy with her life. Things took a turn for the worse when she learned Sheldon was coping so well in college that he had his own set of friends. Because of Paige’s frustrations about not feeling she belongs, she decided to drop out of school and run away from home. She asked Sheldon if she can use his dorm in the meantime, and he surprisingly agreed after seeing how distraught she was. Ultimately, Paige left, and for a while, Sheldon worried about her. Luckily for Paige, Young Sheldon saw her turn up eventually to reunite with her mom, but that didn’t solve her internal issues.
Paige’s Young Sheldon Story Is Surprisingly Dark
If Paige doesn’t get the help that she needs, she might continue to rebel and go down a dark path from which she might never recover. Instead of being insecure that he might not actually be that special in terms of intellect given her existence, Sheldon’s decision to not bring up Paige, Young Sheldon‘s noteworthy rival, on The Big Bang Theory could be because he views her story as a tragedy and a cautionary tale. After all, despite their tumultuous relationship, he clearly still cares for her after what happened to Paige in Young Sheldon.
Paige did end up returning in the sixth season for two episodes. It was clear that she was still struggling, as she found a guy she liked but couldn’t make the move. She decided to run away again, this time with Missy, but the police caught up with her and sent her back home again. The Big Bang Theory spin-off’s storylines became increasingly more mature in later seasons. This is due to the kids growing up, which means that their life experiences are also starting to change. For Paige, it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that the show further leans into her potentially dark storyline.
The Positive Look At Paige’s Absence From TBBT
On the other hand, when wondering where Paige is in The Big Bang Theory, it might not have such a dark significance. Instead, it could simply be that Sheldon stopped fixating on their rivalry so much since he was clearly the victor, having stuck with academia while Paige pursued other things without finding contentment. Even though Young Sheldon has grown more mature, Sheldon is still Sheldon, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he made no mention of a childhood rival after reaching adulthood simply because she was no longer relevant. This is perhaps a callous move on Sheldon’s part, but one that would still fit with his often-petty character.
CBS’ Young Sheldon is confirmed to run until at least season 7. Fleshing out the backstories of characters that feature in TBBT merely by their absence is a skillful use of the prequel format and adds depth to the other characters on the roster, in this case, Sheldon. This means that fans can expect that the show will continue to tackle more sensitive and mature topics, including mental health, especially since Sheldon was often unfairly dismissed as crazy on The Big Bang Theory – even if those jibes were mostly played for laughs.
Paige Helps Set Up A Tragic TBBT Story For Sheldon
While what happened to Paige in Young Sheldon is mostly about a young girl trying to find her place in the world, there is also a chance it could prove to be a tragic story for Sheldon himself. Considering where Paige is in Big Bang Theory, and why Sheldon never mentions her, it could indirectly lay the groundwork for what might be one of Sheldon’s most traumatic childhood memories. As Missy’s return in Young Sheldon season 6 showed, she was still making trouble and not using her gifted intelligence to make a better life. Instead, she was attending parties as a 13-year-old, chasing boys, and running away from home once again. Not much had changed.
There was one line that Paige gave in the season 6 episode, “Stolen Truck and Going on a Lam,” while talking to Missy. The two tried to figure out where to go on their road trip, and Paige mentioned Florida because spring break was coming up. This has frightening connotations. Remember, one of Sheldon’s hardest moments he described in The Big Bang Theory was catching his father cheating, which happened when he returned home early from college for spring break. This means Sheldon might be nearing the moment where he catches his dad in the act on Young Sheldon. While this doesn’t explain where Paige is in Big Bang Theory, it could lead to Sheldon growing up a little more.
This story originally appeared on Screenrant