Martin Carr reviews the fourteenth episode of Young Sheldon…
Back after an enforced hiatus Young Sheldon carries on giving us gentle character progression, feel good moments of circumstantial humour and subtle Big Bang references. In the main episode fourteen is effectively engaging whilst attempting to broaden Mary Cooper’s impact. Zoe Perry has done a sterling job up until now in filling Laurie Metcalf’s shoes, but has been confined to the stereotype of home maker. What we get this week is a small taste of her life outside of those perimeters.
Turning from church bookkeeper to agony aunt for the local parish pastor we get a sense of small community concerns, neighbourhood rivalry and blinkered preoccupations. Lance Barber, Annie Potts and company all contribution towards an extended vignette which is ultimately what episode fourteen becomes. From Sheldon’s point of view we get himself and younger sister Missy let loose alone at home, which results in mild slapstick moments and an inoffensive resolution.
This episode is possibly the only one where a situation fails to be truly exploited in terms of potential. Everyone involved seems to be overly cautious taking advantage of the John Hughes Home Alone premise which presents itself. Armitage and Raegan Revord’s Missy are not really given much to do which results in screen time being wasted on the trivial. Similarly Annie Potts and Montana Jordan’s Georgie are criminally underused being relegated to nothing more than stooges for slapstick pay off. Only Matt Hobby’s Pastor Geoff is given the opportunity to shine and add some much-needed comedic value and pathos to proceedings.
His small town Texan preacher smiles through duty rather than true belief and it is he who hides much from the community. Nuance is rarely given time to develop within programmes of this length but Young Sheldon shows glimpses here. This pastor has committed transgressions against God in the way he has conducted himself behind closed doors, while his marriage is one built on falsehoods and big old fibs. That is where the drama lies while Missy and Sheldon merely represent distractions all be it welcome ones.
Although ‘Potato Salad, a Broomstick, and Dad’s Whiskey’ fails to represent a watershed moment for the series, there remains that reassuring consistency as a whole. Subtlety and a soft touch might well have benefitted from a firmer hand and narrative pay off, but Young Sheldon continues to be worth the watch.